KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs new, game changing products that will increase the velocity of its economic growth, said Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister Datuk Dr. Joachim Gunsalam.
“Our mindset needs to shift from not only selling within our local town, but a mindset that focuses on the export market.
“It is in these international markets that you could exponentially grow your own business and that positive growth will quantum leap Sabah’s economy
“Therefore, I call on Sabah Entrepreneurs Creation (SEC) to do more. Transform these entrepreneurs to export oriented entrepreneurs,” he said, when officiating the 2022 edition of SEC Grand Final Pitching Competition here, Saturday night.
According to Dr. Joachim, Sabah’s total trade has increased by 9.8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to a record high of RM87.2 billion, based on the Sabah External Trade Statistics Report for 2021 recently released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).
This statistic speaks volume about Sabah’s trade investment, he added.
Dr. Joachim also thanked Dato’ George Lim, the Founder of SEC (Persatuan Transformasi Pembangunan Usahawan Sabah) and GA Space, for helping entrepreneurs in Sabah through such an initiative like the pitching competition.
“I was told that the SEC has been helping 100 entrepreneurs every year over the last four years. To be better at what they do is very impressive progress. With this positive nature, Sabah’s economy will definitely be on the right track of growth. My Ministry welcomes and appreciates this initiative. Thank you Dato’ George and the team,” he said.
Dr. Joachim also reassured that his Ministry is always here to help and support Sabah entrepreneurs.
“We have been providing courses to entrepreneurs on topics such as packaging, labelling and licensing to make their products marketable. Furthermore, my Ministry also helps in marketing Sabah products through business linkages with retail companies such as Petronas’ Kedai Mesra, Bataras Supermarket, Segi Fresh Supermarket, GM Klang and Fasarina Express Mart Labuan.
“Recently, the Ministry also launched its fourth IKS Mart in Papar, with a few more locations planned such as Kota Marudu, Tuaran, Tawau and Keningau. The goal of these IKS Marts is to help promote locally produced products by small and medium-sized industries.
“Apart from that, the marts also act as a collection centre for Sabah products in that particular region,” he said, adding the game changing product should of course be Sabah’s own locally produced products.
“We have no choice but to support our own local product as it is more sustainable, less costly of product and it creates our own food security. There are many local materials that can be processed into food products such as bananas (abundant supply), tapioca, sweet potato: all these can be processed and produced in the market locally.
“As we enter into the third year of the pandemic, the world is challenged with struggling cash flow, logistics, manpower and rising cost of living. These challenges have presented ample opportunities for entrepreneurs/companies in Sabah to continuously and constantly work towards reducing the cost of producing their products so that their products can be made available to the market at an affordable and competitive price,” he said.
Dr. Joachim also hopes to see more collaboration between the SEC and his Ministry to help Sabah SMEs grow locally and expand internationally.