Monday, December 5, 2011







Assalamualaikum W.B.T, a very good afternoon and Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berbahagia Professor Dr. Saran Kaur Gill,
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Industry & Community Partnerships,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM);

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Hafsah Hashim,
CEO of SME Corporation Malaysia;

Mr. Sumiya Hayashi,
President of Tokyo SME University of Japan;

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests.
2. First of all, let us praise the Almighty that with his blessings, we are able to gather here today. I am pleased to be here this afternoon at this highly exciting event and I would like to thank all present for taking your time off your busy schedule to witness the achievements made under the SME@University Programme.

3. I am delighted to note that today 21 CEOs from 21 SMEs will be graduating from the SME@University Programme which commenced on 25 June this year, at University Kebangsaan Malaysia. As all of you are aware, the SME@University Programme is a programme aimed at enhancing the management skills of entrepreneurs, towards developing capable CEOs of SMEs. This programme which is based on the Japan SME University’s Programme model, is a coordinated and concerted effort of five parties, namely SME Corp. Malaysia, Human Resource Development Corporation which also known as Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB), SME Support of Japan and UKM-Centre for Entrepreneurship and SMEs Development (UKM- CESMED).

4. As for the SME CEOs, who participated in this 3 month programme, I am sure that they would have acquired better and deeper insights on the different perspectives of doing business, including creative marketing, appropriate finance and accounting standards, business growth strategies and innovation, which are key requisites for world class CEOs.

5. I believe that they would have also equipped themselves with the updated business tools to be applied in their businesses. Over the time they spent together with fellow CEOs, I am sure they would have the privilege of sharing knowledge and experiences, thus enriching their body of knowledge, while developing new capabilities. What makes this a very interesting experience is that, these pioneer group of ‘students’ who are CEOs of companies, have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in doing business, at classes in a university campus environment, mingling around with a top-notch professors, PHD students and industry players. Indeed, SME@University is an apt description of this unique programme.

Honourable Guests,

6. I understand that it is not easy for the CEOs to spend time away from business. For this I would like to applaud the ‘pioneer students’ of the SME@University Programme for their perseverance to complete this Programme, and if not for their strong will, they would not have been here with us today. It is definitely not easy to juggle between studies, managing a family and running a business. For your information, come rain or shine, these ‘students’ have worked their way to UKM every Saturday without fail to fulfil the requirements of this programme. And mind you, these ‘students’ did not come from within Klang Valley but from all over the country such as Kelantan and Johor. A lot of sacrifice has been made and as I pointed out earlier, and without persistence, their success would not have been possible. As the Japanese proverb says, ‘fall seven times, stand up eight’.

7. In this regard, I am happy to share with all of you on the outcome of SME@UKM. As I mentioned earlier, a total of 21 CEOs have participated in this programme, and after going through the 3 months course, I am pleased to inform that out of the 21 CEOs, three have taken a step further by enrolling themselves in the MBA program at UKM and another CEO has pursued her MBA at the University of Hull, United Kingdom. This is a good indicator of this programme, demonstrating that a balance approach of theoretical and practical lessons through semi-coaching and semi-consulting process have very much benefitted the participants of this programme. Over and above, I believe this programme has brought about a positive change in mindsets of these entrepreneurs on doing business. The ability of entrepreneurs, being able to look at business using different perspectives means that they are able to innovate thus bringing their business to greater heights.

8. In recognising the importance of continuous learning among the SMEs, I am pleased to inform that SME Corp. Malaysia is looking into the possibility to offer to all the ‘pioneer students’ of SME@UKM, enrolment in the ‘General Management Programme’, under the Cambridge Judge Business School. This intensely practical, skills-based programme will equip you with the understanding on integrating marketing, operations and strategy from a strategic business perspective. This two-week Programme, in Kuala Lumpur, will also enable you to develop your management skills and knowledge, alongside selected and highly motivated international peer group. Do let us know if you are interested.

Distinguished Guests,

9. This SME@UKM programme would not have been a reality without the unwavering efforts contributed by all parties involved. With this I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Professor Dr. Mohd. Fauzi Mohd. Jani, Director of Center for Entrepreneurship & SME Development (UKM-CESMED) and his team: Associate Professor Dr. Tih Sio Hong, Associate Professor Zaimah Darawi, Mr. Radzuan Rahid and their fellow professors and lecturers. Their dedication and tireless efforts has brought about fruition to this initiative. Thank you all again.

10. I’m sure all of you agree that an excellent initiative such as this should not just end here. We will strengthen the ties between SME Corp, the academia and industry players by working hand in hand again with other centres of excellence such as UiTM, UPM, UMK and UIAM. I was made to understand that the next SME@University is scheduled to kick-off at UiTM in January 2012, followed by UPM in February, UMK in April and UIAM in June 2012. I am delighted to mention that today, MITI and SME Corp is honoured to hand over the torch to the UiTM to initiate the implementation of SME@UiTM in 2012.

Distinguished Guests,

11. Before I conclude, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone involved especially PSMB for supporting the funding of the programme, to UKM as the pilot and prime content developers of the program module and SME Support of Japan for facilitating the collaboration in making this, a success! Not forgetting, to the ‘pioneer graduates’ of SME@UKM, Congratulations! You made it! Last but not least, it is my fervent hope that many more SMEs out there will come on board this programme next year. With that, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

Thank you.

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