Malaysian private investment firm, RHL Ventures and the Malaysian Government have joined forces to help accelerate the growth of the nation’s crucial small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. The fund, worth RM100 million, is participated by several notable investors; with Malaysia’s SME Corp making a leading contribution. This marks the first public-private collaboration in this sector since the change in the country’s administration.
From the fund, RHL Ventures will focus on backing Malaysian start-ups and early-stage SMEs with significant operations in Malaysia. While a large portion of its previous investments had been channelled to grow innovative start-ups within the tech space, the focus of the firm’s latest fund will be broader and more sector-agnostic.
“Ever since we started RHL Ventures, we have been inspired by how small businesses – even those with the humblest of beginnings – can make transformational impact in their industries and the greater economy,” said Rachel Lau, Managing Partner of RHL Ventures. “The Government has typically led investments that support local businesses during their early stages, so we are glad that the current administration is ramping up its support to instil more innovation within the local business sector. What RHL Ventures aims to do with this fund is to invest in new businesses that are looking to bring new ideas and disruption in the current ways of doing business.”
RHL Ventures’ latest fund also aims to highlight how partnerships between the Government and the private sector will be crucial to the growth of Malaysian SMEs, namely for sustainable development in light of the digital economy and creation of more avenues for regional expansion.
“In Malaysia, SMEs comprise over 98% of total business establishments and contribute more than 37% to the national GDP – they form a central pillar of Malaysia’s economy,” said Noor Azmi Mat Said, CEO of SME Corp. Malaysia. “To ensure a higher contribution of SMEs to the national economy, there is a need for more concerted efforts to be affected by stakeholders within the SME ecosystem; an example which private sector players such as RHL Ventures is helping to lead.”
Through its latest fund, RHL Ventures is underscoring its commitment to empower local businesses that possess the vision to make a significant impact in Malaysia and the greater region. To date, RHL has invested in innovative businesses within Malaysia’s burgeoning tech start-up space; including healthcare software-as-a-service (SaaS) company HealthMetrics and healthy snacks e-commerce platform Signature Market among others.