SIBU: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have contributed a lot to the economic activity and job creation in Sarawak, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.

He said in 2016, SMEs accounted for 62,021 business registrations, or 98.4 per cent of the total, in the state.

He said in 2017, the United Nations declared June 27 as World Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Day in recognition of their contribution to a nation’s economic growth.

“The Sarawak Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Ministry under the Skim Pinjaman Industri Kecil dan Sederhana (SPIKS) has approved loans worth RM20.6 million to 237 SMEs as of March 2019,” he said at the launch of the state-level Entrepreneur and SME Week 2019 at Dataran Harmoni here on Saturday.

The event, organised by SME Corp. Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED), with the cooperation of the Sarawak Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Ministry on July 12-14, drew 100 entrepreneurs from the state.

Naroden (right) hands over an award to a recipient. Photo: Bernama

Awang Tengah’s speech was read by Sarawak Assistant Minister for Entrepreneur Development and E-Commerce Datuk Naroden Majais.

Awang Tengah said since its launch in 2018, a total of 402 graduates of institutions of higher learning as well as technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes have participated in two special schemes, while in the first three months of this year, funds worth RM114.8 million from state and federal entrepreneur development agencies have benefited 35,757 entrepreneurs in Sarawak.

SME Corp. Malaysia has also approved 1,487 grant and loan applications worth RM392 million for Sarawak SMEs as of May this year including 148 applications worth RM12 million under the Bumiputera Enterprise Enhancement Programme (BEEP), he added. – Bernama