A market development grant (MDG) in Malaysia was adjusted at the start of 2021 to cater to those affected by the pandemic — including event professionals — but has since had no takers.
The revelation was made at a Malaysian Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers' (MACEOS) virtual forum last week, where speakers urged attendees to look into the grants and support available to the industry.
Mohamad Imran Radzi, senior executive at Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) said the organisation will reopen the reimbursable MDG applications on 15 July to those participating in trade fairs, conferences, investment missions and B2B meetings. This includes participation in foreign or domestic events, physical or virtual meetings, within certain criteria.
For virtual B2B events, grants range from RM2,000 (US$481) to RM5,000 for domestic, or up to RM25,000 for overseas participation, added Mohamad Imran.
There are MDGs available for other activities. Eligible companies include trade and industry associations, professional bodies, professional service providers, and SMEs. The lifetime limit for the MDG per company/ association is RM300,000.
Meanwhile, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry – via Tourism Malaysia – is extending grants to eligible conference and event organisers till year end.
Strategic planning division senior director, Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof, explained that conference and events organisers may apply for the Tourism, Arts and Culture Support Grant (GSPSB) for local events that include elements of culture. "We have allocated RM24 million and companies must submit detailed plans to us. Approval will come at least 60 days before the event, while reimbursements take a minimum of 14 days to process."
The value set for organising an event under GSPSB ranges from RM20,000 to a maximum of RM500,000. GSPSB is capped at 50% of the total actual expenditure of the event and programme, or according to the maximum ceiling of RM500,000.
In Selangor, the government is supporting digitalisation of the industry. Yong Kai Peng, CEO of Selangor Information Technology & Digital Economy Corporation (Sidec) said: "The front end and back end have to be digitalised. It’s all about data acquisition. We are also helping with e-commerce and online marketing training programmes, which are free to attend."
Also available to the industry are digitisation matching grants. So far, RM500,000 has already been approved in phase one.
The second phase will commence in August, with a 50% matching grant or a maximum of RM5,000 for a service provider in any of the following five categories: e-commerce; HR and payroll system; cloud accounting; digital marketing; as well as E-PoS system and payment gateway. Each SME is allowed to apply for three categories.
Tourism Selangor’s industry development manager, Chua Yee Ling, spoke of the state’s stimulus packages worth RM2.5 million. The sum includes a second tourism voucher and a one-off incentive to all tourism-related associations.
She also presented a platform for businesses to pitch new product and content. Cash prizes ranging from RM5,000 to RM10,000 is up for grabs for 20 winners.
Meanwhile, with access to loans an obstacle for SMEs, DBS Solution (M) Sdn Bhd's, CEO David Yeoh and COO Sashi Kumar, introduced the Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility from the government's Penjana Fund, available in most banks. They stressed terms and condition for eligibility varied with the banks but that in general, loans are capped at RM500,000 for a seven-year period. These loans come with interest rates of 3.5% and a repayment moratorium of six to 12 months.