Did you know that 98.5% of business establishments in Malaysia are small and medium enterprises (SMEs)? These business entities account for a major source of employment, technological advancements, nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship, supporting the large scale industries and competitive advantages.
As resources have become more expensive, and our awareness of reducing our consumption has grown, digital platforms and startups have offered a solution—sharing.
To maintain the SMEs sustainability in the market, entrepreneurs should instill the concept of sharing economy in their businesses. This concept allows SMEs to delve into diverse segments, opportunities as well as gain traction in a variety of industries in today's business landscape.
Sharing economy allows people to monetize assets that are not being used to their full potential. Underutilized assets include anything from large goods such as automobiles and houses to little items like tools, toys, and apparels.
In the past, people used to find and exchange such assets through ads in a local newspaper or by word of mouth. However, in today’s digital era, finding and sharing assets is much easier through the advent of the internet, pervasive computing and the ease of mobile payments.
The Top in Tech webinar sought to address the significance of the sharing economy concept in the SMEs sector and had Jane Teh, Managing Director of Lalamove Malaysia, Pennie Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Homa2u and Mark Koh, Chief Executive Officer of Supahands as panelists contributing to the discussion.
Jane explained that in terms of the sharing economy, Lalamove has created a platform for their delivery partners to connect with businesses in solving logistics needs and arrangements. As for the SME entrepreneurs, they can take advantage of the sharing economy by utilizing Lalamove’s multiple delivery vehicles for faster and affordable logistics solutions for their businesses. Lalamove’s track record speaks volume, as they are actively driving business deliveries in the range of up to 1.5 million monthly orders across Klang Valley, Penang and Johor.
Pennie, noting that Homa2u shares economy by trading building materials and home finishing products at bargains. By championing the notion of reducing, reuse and repurpose, their strategy includes acquiring building materials and interior finishes products from unused construction materials, discarded materials and overstock markets. This way they reduce the carbon footprint left by construction projects by giving these construction materials a second home.
According to Mark the whole sharing economy concept has allowed us to move a lot faster. We are able to scale the business rapidly and expand to new markets without having to require a huge capital outlay. Plus it empowers people to use their own time and their own resources to be able to earn income from anywhere they want to.
Reducing poverty through the sharing economy
“In Supahands we hire many employees from the B40 income bracket as we believe in building an ecosystem of assisting in the economic recovery one job at a time. However it requires more than one platform, to reduce the unemployment rate in the nation. I believe platforms such as Lalamove, Homa2u and other businesses play a large role in that,” Mark said.
Jane elaborated that since the economy was not very rosy during the pandemic, a lot of SME industries and other businesses have been affected as they could not operate at a full capacity.
“Lalamove offers a practical means to set up logistics arrangements for aspiring entrepreneurs. They don't have to think about the headache of sourcing their fleet and the manpower when their business is at its peak season,” Jane said.
On the other side of the fence, Lalamove provides job opportunities for anyone who wishes to be their delivery partner. The perks of being a Lalamove delivery partner reflect the advantages of sharing economy from the supply side, such as working hours flexibility, guaranteed income with every fulfilled delivery job, and incentives for hard-working individuals.
“Technology has opened up a lot of opportunities and the sharing economy. So long as we have the drive and interest to achieve, definitely your business will move forward,” Pennie concluded.
“Always find problems, gaps and inefficiancies in the market, then build strategies in solving those problems. Sharing economy is one way of solving it as it is in the form of an asset and not as capital intensive as some other businesses would be,” Mark said.
“In my opinion, the sharing economy concept is definitely sustainable for both the SME sector and other businesses. If you want to create a business, the first step is to identify what the market needs and create a solution for it. In Lalamove, we enter as a business partner first to understand your business operating model and then we supplement the services and suitable vehicles to assist in scaling up your business accordingly,” Jane concluded.
Watch the replay of Top in Tech Episode 17 - The Sharing Economy Concept for SMEs’ Sustainable Growth here.