Are you thinking of launching or expanding your high-tech entrepreneurial venture? Perhaps you’ve had a brilliant startup business idea or are considering expanding your startup, but you’re unsure if you can get a loan to fund it. Fortunately, numerous private and public resources in Malaysia provide cash injections to startup businesses! Let’s look at some of the funding options available.
Government Business Loans
Startups can look to the government for loans to help them fund their business plans and initiatives. Government-provided financing schemes are typically more affordable and have lower interest rates. Furthermore, government programs improve access to financing for specific groups (e.g., women, ethnic minorities, and young entrepreneurs) that face unique challenges or more significant economic barriers. Consider the following three government loan programs:
Soft Loan Scheme For Small & Medium Enterprises (SLSME)
Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad (MIDF) administers the SLSME, which provides loans to startups and SMEs to fund working capital, fixed asset purchases, and other projects. The minimum amount is RM50,000, with financing caps and percentages varying according to the type of expenditure. For example, you may be able to obtain up to 90% financing for the purchase of new assets. This loan has a profit rate of only 4% per year. For more details on the SLSME loan, visit the MIDF web page or the SLSME web page on MASTIC.
Graduate Entrepreneur Development Programme (PPUS)
This loan scheme, offered by TEKUN Nasional, an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development, provides up to RM50,000 in financing for Bumiputera graduates aged 18 to 40 who want to start a business. If your startup is a partnership, the maximum financing amount is RM150,000 (up to three business partners per business). If this financing option suits your needs, you can kick start the process by applying online or filling in a form and submitting it to TEKUN Nasional.
Indian Community Entrepreneur Development Scheme (SPUMI)
SPUMI, also part of TEKUN Nasional, provides Malaysian Indians with financing for their businesses (including startups). The loan program has two sections:
- Small Loan Scheme, under which applicants can borrow between RM10,000 and RM50,000 with repayment terms of up to 5 years.
- Medium Loan Scheme, with loan amounts ranging from RM50,000 to RM100,000 and repayment terms of 10 years. Visit the Application Guidelines page for more info.
Other loan programs administered by TEKUN Nasional include the TemanNita Financing Scheme, TEKUN Niaga Financing Scheme, and Ar-Rahnu TEKUN. If none of these loan programs is a good fit for you, look at this comprehensive list of financial support programs for entrepreneurs to find a better match for your specific business needs.
Business Loans From Private Banks
Business loans from private consumer and commercial banks and other financial institutions are typically easier to obtain and disburse than government loans. Sometimes, loan application, approval, and disbursement may take less than 30 minutes. Of course, this depends on the bank’s resources, the type of loan, and the applicant’s credit. Furthermore, private bank loan schemes typically provide unsecured options, which means you would not have to pledge collateral assets such as your home or a fixed deposit to apply for it. Some startups may be unable to obtain business loans due to eligibility requirements. Higher-income levels or revenues, as well as business operation tenure, may preclude smaller startups. Aside from eligibility, private bank business loan schemes typically have higher interest rates and fees. Financing rates usually range from 6.5% to 12.5% per annum or higher, whereas government loan schemes usually offer lower rates ranging from 4% to 8% per annum.
A government financial grant for businesses is a type of financial aid that allows recipients to use it for a specific purpose, such as funding research, initiating automation, paying for marketing activities, etc. Depending on the grant type, it can also be used more broadly, for example, to assist businesses with working capital, emergency assistance, and expansion plans. Let’s take a look at two Malaysian government grant programs for new businesses:
CIP IGNITE is a financial program that provides up to RM500,000 in grant money to eligible startups in the tech industry (including “local SMEs and spin-off companies from universities and research institutes”).
(MDEC) SME Digitalization Grant
The MDEC Digitalization Grant can assist startups in funding the digitalization of their business operations and services. The grant will match 50%, or up to RM5,000, for digital subscription services such as digital marketing plans, web store setup, and remote working, among other things. You may only select digitalization subscription services from MDEC-approved providers as part of the requirements.