SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (Sitec) has launched two initiatives, Sitec Academy and Startup Connect, to further assist the startup community.
Selangor senior executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim, who launched the two initiatives yesterday, said Sitec Academy is a virtual learning platform for those who are unable to attend the e-commerce classes (EC classes) conducted by Sitec.
“This virtual learning platform is completely free and will comprise videos and slide presentations from experts in the industry, as well as a news portal to update visitors with the latest in the e-commerce scene,” he said.
The platform also serves as a directory for businesses to connect with mentors, peers, resources and others in the e-commerce industry as well as provide workshops and events for the e-commerce community in Selangor.
Meanwhile, Startup Connect will serve as a platform for local startups to reach out to the Selangor government, potential partners and investors, and vice-versa. Some 60 startups are already on this platform.
“This will allow the Selangor government, as well as investors or potential partners, to seek out and tap the capabilities and solutions provided by our local startups,” said Teng.
It also acts as a one-stop repository and hub to access resources for startups. Registrants with Startup Connect will enjoy special rates to use the facilities at the Selangor Digital Creative Centre in i-City, Shah Alam.
Sitec chief executive Yong Kai Ping said it has trained over 220 merchants over 1½ years via its EC classes, exceeding its target of 100 merchants in its first year. These merchants have achieved sales of about RM4 million.
“This year hopefully we will train another 200 merchants in one year’s time. In terms of sales, we are looking at the same, about RM4 million. These are new merchants so sales for their first year may be a bit slow,” he said.
Yong said Malaysia’s e-commerce space is lacking in terms of number of merchants and variety of products, with only about 30,000 local merchants excluding the large firms.
“These are mostly SMEs. We need to increase the number of active merchants and increase variety of products. That’s the challenge for us, to be as strong as the e-commerce market in China and Taiwan. We need to get more people to start selling online,” he said.
“In terms of Sitec, we would like to have more resource support because what we want to do is not only software. We want to move into hardware. For the digital economy, the biggest challenge is talent. We are lacking talent, in terms of software programmers.
“We need to introduce more coding classes, which are very rare and expensive. We want to introduce coding and IoT classes,” he added.
Established and funded by the Selangor government, Sitec has a mandate to develop Selangor as a regional e-commerce hub and to uplift the state’s startup community.
Yong expects local merchants to generate RM15 billion to RM20 billion sales via e-commerce by 2020 up from RM10 billion last year, driven by more choices, competitive pricing and improvements in logistics and payment systems.