THE government will focus on accelerating the development of strategic and high-impact industries, namely aerospace, creative, biomass and smart farming activities in the next five years.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar said these sectors will play a pivotal role in the country’s economic transformation.

He added that efforts to develop the country’s technology adoption, human capital and talent pool are also a priority in transforming these industries into high-value-added products and services.

“Since March 2020, a total of RM196 billion has been allocated to assist SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in weathering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The measures have been and are being implemented through 10 comprehensive economic packages, which include Belanjawan 2021 and Belanjawan 2022,” Noh said at the press conference after the prelaunch of the Entreprise 50 (E50) award yesterday.

Noh also praised SMEs for their roles in building a robust nation, a thriving economy and strategies that lead to innovation, digitalisation, sustainability and inclusive growth, all of which are expected to create a conducive and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

According to Noh, the E50 Award, which recognises the outstanding accomplishments of Malaysia’s top 50 enterprising SMEs, is commemorating yet another historic phase in its glorious journey with a momentous year in celebrating Malaysia’s enterprising spirit.

“It is an important accolade honouring the success of the industry’s crème-de-la-crème whose vision, leadership, tenacity, and exceptional achievements serve as an inspiration to others,” said Noh.

As the country recovers from the pandemic, SME Corp Malaysia chairman Datuk Seri Syed Hussein Al Habshee said the need to rejuvenate SMEs, one of the most affected groups, has also never been greater.

“With 95.3% experiencing a sharp decline in sales in the early period of containment. The challenges posed by Covid-19 require a strong determination to ensure that concerted efforts are undertaken to ensure that SMEs continue to survive,” Syed Hussien said.

“I am confident that the E50 Award will continue to inspire and motivate Malaysian entrepreneurs in their pursuit of excellence,” he said.

He added that award recipients have seen their businesses accelerate to new heights as being part of the exclusive “E50 club” allows them to reap various benefits such as invitations to international workshops and forums at the invitation of SME Corp, widespread media coverage and preferred business linkages with multinational corporations.

Rizal added that the E50 nomination period begins from March 1 to June 30. The E50 Award 2022 Gala Dinner will be held in November 2022, when all 50 winners will be announced.

To date, a total of 503 companies have been nominated for the award. All the nominees have fulfilled the 4-star and above rating from the SCORE Programme.