KUALA LUMPUR – AmBank Group is offering up to RM1 million grants to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and mid-tier companies (MTCs) via the Malaysian Investment Development Authority’s (MIDA) Smart Automation Grant (SAG), reported Bernama.
MIDA and AmBank said in a joint statement, the SAG initiative is a part of the RM100 million allocation approved within the National Economic Recovery Plan, or PENJANA, launched by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) on December 2, 2020.
“This grant will be awarded to the eligible SMEs and MTCs on a matching basis or 50% of total eligible expenditures, up to a maximum grant cap of RM1 million per company,” they said.
SMEs and MTCs that have been undertaking manufacturing or services activities in the past 12 months are considered to be eligible for SAG. To qualify for the incentive, the automation machine, equipment or software purchased through the grant must be used directly in the company’s value chain to improve their productivity and efficiency.
Moreover, the improvement would be assessed on a range of criteria such as the reduction of unskilled workers, man-hours, defect rate as well as the increase in production volume. The interested stakeholders can submit their application to the various industries and services divisions in MIDA.
Furthermore, to help the companies particularly SMEs and MCTs refine their knowledge on matters relating to automation and digitalization the parties earlier inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
Besides that, to help companies identify business pain points and prioritize automation and digitalization solutions, AmBank would be undertaking a series of simulation training classroom sessions that are specifically designed.
MIDA’s chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Azman Mahmud said the collaboration complements the agency’s goal to create awareness and financial guidance to assist SMEs and MTCs in automating and digitalizing their operations and production process.
“Understanding the needs of investors, SAG will not only improve Malaysia’s industrial competitiveness and capabilities but also reduce our reliance on low-skilled foreign workers while creating new job opportunities in high value-added sectors.
“We trust that this partnership will result in driving Malaysia’s businesses and accelerate economic growth towards continuous adoption of automation and digitalization,” he added.
In the meantime, AmBank group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said the bank was pleased to be the first bank to collaborate with MIDA in providing much-needed assistance to SMEs and MTCs, which was particularly timely given the current challenging business landscape.
“To help them future-proof their businesses, we can share our expertise and resources with these companies through this collaboration. This initiative will be part of the AmBank BizRACE program to develop our clients in the key areas of Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0, digitalization and the halal industry, which is in line with AmBank’s sustainability agenda,” he said.
In addition, he said the bank believed in going beyond financing to help its customers compete better and the AmBank BizRACE programme provided a platform for SMEs to have a head start in driving new revenue streams, new products, upskilling their talent and driving efficiency by adopting digital and automation solutions.
“This is part of our push to help SMEs reset and revive their businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.