Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one of the most critical components of the Malaysian economy, with 97.2 percent or over a million SME business establishments across all sectors contributing almost 40 percent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP). Albeit a challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SMEs still recorded a whopping GDP contribution of RM512.8 billion in 2020 and employed almost 7.25 million people or 48 percent of the Malaysian workforce.
Undoubtedly, SMEs hold a lion’s share of the economy. However, despite yearly growth, there is an immediate and imminent need for SMEs to be more aggressive in adopting digitalisation and embracing breakthrough innovation to boost their productivity, operations and sales. Committed deeply to the growth and sustainability of this economic engine, AFFIN BANK intends to play a pivotal part in this process.
A multifaceted mobile application for all SMEs
As Malaysia enters the endemic phase, SMEs must be able to make swift decisions to pivot their business towards recuperation, recovery and growth. Based on available data and feedback received, there is a definite growing demand among SMEs for financial institutions to provide solutions beyond banking – particularly more digital offerings for financial management, knowledge enrichment and opportunities to form networking relationships with like-minded businesses and organisations.
With the “Always About You” tagline, AFFIN BANK wants to create and deliver customer centricity through meaningful social impact by embarking on our digital journey with SME Colony – the first SME-centric community development mobile application in Malaysia. By adopting mobile technology, we managed to create a digital niche that sets us apart from other financial institutions whose digital platforms are typically bank-centric. Through SME Colony, we intend to help SMEs adopt relevant business strategies to ride out the storm and develop their long-term business continuity plan.
Officially launched in August 2019, SME Colony is a unique multi-partner digital platform powered by AFFIN BANK as a one-stop resource and reference centre tailored for SMEs to find the right business solutions filled with comprehensive suites of knowledge resources, market-driven financial solutions and networking opportunities at no cost, no membership requirement, and without a banking relationship with AFFIN BANK – a true digital SME community development tool for all businesses in Malaysia.
Exciting propositions for SMEs’ growth & sustainability
To put into a better perspective, SME Colony works effectively like a “colony” that brings together SMEs via an intuitive platform to:
1. IMPROVE business knowledge by receiving guidance, market insights and solutions from industry experts;
2. ENHANCE financial wellbeing by connecting directly with our collaboration partners in pursuit of advisory, services and financial support; and
3. EXPAND market reach through Rakaniaga (“business partners” in Malay language) and extend commercial business networks via activities and events.
Since its inception, we have onboarded hundreds of dedicated Rakaniaga ranging from industries such as academia, IT solutions provider, logistics, co-working space and many more. These Rakaniaga can make use of our platform to promote their products and services, drawing positive responses and feedback from app users thus far.
One of the highlights of SME Colony is the easy access SMEs have to our differentiated propositions which were rolled out in support of their growth and business sustainability as they continue to scale up. Available exclusively on SME Colony, SMEs can find our comprehensive suite of long-term integrated business and talent management solutions with the award-winning AFFINWRKFZ (pronounced “AFFIN Workforce”) proposition, as well as AFFINGEM – a scheme designed specifically for women entrepreneurs, a segment that can be better served, to grow, manage and empower their businesses.
Apart from SMEs, we are also passionate about growing the start-up community – a segment of the economy that is often underserved by most financial institutions. To drive our aspiration in becoming the preferred bank for start-ups, we have also launched AFFIN Start-Up Exclusives – a holistic banking proposition designed for start-ups to grow sustainably through inclusive transactional, financing, protection and advisory and support products and services.
Looking forward to the future
Embarking on this digital journey with SME Colony as our first digital flagship has been exciting and challenging at the same time. For the past several years, we have invested valuable resources into bringing a seamless and improving digital experience to our customers as we firmly believe that digital is the way forward.
In the near future, we plan on introducing further seamless digital onboarding processes as part of our initiative to encourage SMEs to adopt the digital banking way of life when performing their daily business activities. We also aim to roll out more inclusive propositions and niche digital product offerings for targeted business segments by working closely with our stakeholders, industry experts and fintech organisations to meet the market’s demands and customers’ needs.
As part of our digital transformation process, we will constantly improvise and innovate to create a more personalised and customised user experience digital journey for SMEs. We believe these collective efforts will cultivate the growth of SMEs in Malaysia and play a pivotal part in economic recovery beyond Covid-19.
AFFIN BANK’s award-winning SME Colony app is currently available to download across all major platforms (Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Huawei App Gallery). Experience it now by scanning the QR code above or at https://bit.ly/DownloadAffinSMEColonyApp.