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SMEs need to be innovative [03-10-2012]  
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to be innovative at all levels of their business operations, even with basic things such as cutting cost, according to Exim Bank managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Adissadikin Ali.

“Innovation need not be high-tech. Even if SMEs cut cost, that itself is innovative,” he said at a panel discussion titled “An Appraisal of the SME Masterplan 2012-2020” here.

The panel discussion was organised at Menara Star, in conjunction with the upcoming Star Business Awards 2012 (SOBA).

The other speakers were Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry assistant general secretary Dr AT Kumararajah, Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia SMEs chairman Koong Lin Loong and SMI Association of Malaysia deputy president Michael Kang.

The discussion held yesterday was moderated by The Star's deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin.

Koong said many SMEs, despite being innovative, lacked the ability to properly commercialise themselves.

“The SMEs that are innovative don't have the mindset to commercialise themselves.

“They need the relevant quantitative and qualitative support,” he said.

Kang said many SMEs did not focus on human capital development, but noted that it was something that most players are keen to build on.

“We did a survey and found that a lot of SMEs are willing to engage in human capital training.”

Kumararajah concurred that developing talents was imperative for SMEs.

“The difference between a good company and a great company ... is the people.”

The 2012 SOBA promises to see some significant enhancements.

For one, the awards are divided into two broad categories - the top-of-the-class awards and outstanding achievement awards.

There are eight sub-categories for the former and three for the latter.

Now in its third year, the awards will reward winners with almost RM1mil worth of advertising space and airtime.

Exim Bank is the presenter of the awards, supported by Bursa Malaysia. The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur is the official hotel partner.

Red Tomato is the official Chinese newspaper, while the official radio stations are 988FM and RedFM.

The awards auditor is BDO.

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