KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25: Some 15,000 unemployed youths and micro-entrepreneurs with half comprising women is expected to benefit from a training programme funded by Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org.
The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (Medac) in a media statement today said the training will focus on skills such as creating online profiles on professional network platforms, conducting business online through social media, and maximising job portals to improve employability.
Meanwhile, the Asia Foundation, supported with a US$3.3 million grant from Google.org, will collaborate with The Asean Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) to train up to 200,000 people from rural regions and underserved communities.
Medac said the programme focuses on closing the digital gap across Asean, in support of the vision set out by the ACCMSME’s Action Agenda on Digitalisation of Asean Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through capacity-building.
In Malaysia, Medac added, selected implementing partners, International Youth Centre and Startup Malaysia will utilise part of the funding to develop digital literacy training modules with a goal of supporting 15,000 unemployed youths and micro-entrepreneurs, with 50 per cent of them women.
Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who launched the programme said: “The collaboration between ACCMSME and The Asia Foundation, with the support of Google.org, contributes to the capacity-building of Asean MSMEs in digitalisation and will help realise the region’s digital integration as aspired by the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework (DIF).”
The Asia Foundation’s president David D. Arnold said: “We are pleased to activate this first-of-its-kind collaboration—pooling expertise and approaches from government, business, and non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors—to help bridge the digital gap.
“In villages and secondary cities across the region, The Asia Foundation’s local country offices will lead a community network of trainers and volunteers to help integrate MSME owners and underemployed workers into the digital economy.”
Meanwhile, Google Malaysia’s managing director Marc Woo noted small businesses are at the heart of every country’s economy and community.
“The current difficult circumstances have reinforced the urgency of supporting their digitalisation.
“I’m extremely proud that we can support The Asia Foundation and ACCMSME, who both share our passion to help local businesses succeed, grow and create opportunity for local economies,” he said.
In line with Southeast Asia’s expanding digital economy, Medac said the government is also heavily promoting digitalisation as one of the measures to ensure business sustainability and continuity, especially in facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Medac noted the government cannot do it alone and will require serious buy-in and support from MSMEs.
According to the results of a post-Covid-19 survey undertaken by Medac in August 2020, more needs to be done by businesses in terms of digitalisation efforts for Malaysia to be part of the growing digital economy.
The ministry said out of the 2,118 business respondents, 45.76 per cent have adopted electronic commerce while only 19.02 per cent have adopted technology and digitalisation.
Furthermore, the Maxis Digital Readiness Index Survey dated November 23, 2020 also reported that only an average of 42 per cent of MSMEs are ready for digitalisation.
Medac believed the successful partnership between the public and private sector in implementing the digital integration in the region will help close the digital literacy gap and could bring new opportunities and rewards for MSMEs in Malaysia and within ASEAN. — DayakDaily