Funding your business in Malaysia


Being an entrepreneur is easy because it is all about starting your own ventures. Having a startup can be quite quick as you only need to register a company and then work on your plan. You need to be good with your finances but first you must know where to get them.

Not just about the idea

Starting a business and looking for funds? You think you have one of the best business ideas that could change society and possibly the world? The only hurdle you have now is to get the funding and maybe a loan to start this business and this fund would make all the difference. Where then, can you start looking for funds? We have listed out the best sources you can find.

What needs to be considered?

There are several factors that you need to consider which will determine if you succeed as an entrepreneur which are:

  1. Are there enough money? – Yes, there is always money out there. In fact, there will always be funds available. The trick is knowing where they are and how you can find it.
  2. Amount – Before anything else, you must decide how much you need. Everyone wants as much as they possibly land their hands on but you know for a fact this strategy will not work

Top common funding channels

Make no mistake about it! Every business will need some form of money either to start, to sustain or to expand. Malaysia is a land of opportunities when it comes to running your own business. Whether you are a foreigner or a local business person, you will have a lot of opportunities to start but a lot of entrepreneurs get put-off because they lack the financial funds. Here are some ways you can consider.

Anything Below RM20,000

If your business is not overly big and you need a small sum of money in the range of below RM20,000 there are various ways to get there. This amount might not be a lot but it surely helps a lot of small startups.

  1. Own Money – This is otherwise known as Bootstrapping. The best and probably most risk-free because you will be using your own money. Bootstrapping is where you save your own capital than self-fund. You have all the liberty to spend the way you like and in total control. This could come mostly from your savings, returns on investments or any form of profit you might have over the course of a few years
  2. Friends and families – Before you start taking up loans or any other ventures, you might want to check with those people who are in your close circle. This could be your friends or family members who might have the funds and would be interested to invest. After all they would trust you the most. This way, you minimize the risk without getting into commitments yet. They might not be able to give you a full RM20,000 loan but they could be of help. Just remember to pay them back accordingly (with interest of course)
  3. Personal Loans – Most banks offer some form of personal loans which are quite flexible. You can obtain one with the range you are looking for and the duration of your choice. But you need to have some form of stable income to get there. If you are a full-time employee, it is quite easy but if you are not, then you might need some form of collateral
  4. Licensed Moneylenders – these organizations give you another option but you need to be careful with who you are borrowing from. Check the list of registered moneylenders before you approach them and ensure that you are taking a short-term loan (possibly within 2 years payback period).

More than RM20,000?

If you are looking for funding above RM20,000 or more, the process might be a bit more complicated. In fact, you might need to flourish more documents, collaterals and even a guarantor at times. In most cases, you can apply for a grant or an investment which means you need a good business plan, a pitch plan and other supporting documents. Here are some options to consider:

  1. MaGIC or Grant – This is where you can apply for a grant if you are looking for funds in business like technology, food for farmers, science-related projects and such. There are various options to consider here that include Crowdfunding, Loans, Grants and Angel Funding. Check out what type of funding is available from the government. Malaysia has all types of grants that are offered to small businesses and entrepreneurs. SMECorp is one of these agencies that you should be talking to
  2. SME Bank – as the name of the bank implies, this institution provides loans for businesses in this category of business. They have quite good loan rates which are affordable and low as compared to other business loans. This includes funds for communities like women, online businesses and young people like the Young Entrepreneur Fund
  3. Banks – Most banks offer some form of small business loans. They will need you to provide all the related documents while you might need to have some collaterals too. They are quite straightforward except that their rates might not be very favourable in many ways. You might need to make comparisons with other banks before deciding on this.
  4. Crowdfunding – This is quite a new P2P platform to get your funds in and it can go into a lot of money. Among the names that are often mentioned in this platform includes PitchIN, FundedByMe, CrowdPlus, Eureeca and Crowdo among others
  5. Angel Investors – You should start connecting with these organisations if you are looking for funding for your business. This includes EO (Entrepreneurship Malaysia) and MBAN or Malaysian Business Angel Network where you can find people who can help.
  6. Incubators – Governmental agencies would at times provide incubators to help grow your business idea. This is where you get a location or an office space that you can occupy to start your business. It might not come in the form of monetary funds but in other forms of capital
  7. VCs – or Venture Capitalists who will invest if they get something in return. There are sole VCs or companies that specialize in this. However, you are advised against looking for VCs as your first option. These parties have a lot of money and they will only invest if the idea is sound. In fact, they do not mind investing a lot of money into your idea as long as you have a sound payback method which not only gives them back their money but profit as well.
  8. Partnership – This might be a more difficult task because you are looking for a partner with the funds. In most cases, you want someone who have equal or more funds than you so that it help to minimize the risk. Partners usually want a say in how the company is run. In fact, they might want to have an important role in your business which could then divert your original objective in the end.
  9. One major client – If you can start your business with one major client, then you are on course to good a good funding system. After all, your first and probably the major customer will be able to help your business get started in more ways than you can imagine. Once the payment is made, then you can work on from there for the next

At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you whether you want your business to start with a commitment or to start from zero. It would be ideal to start your business without any liabilities but if you do not have a choice, then you should look for the best and most short-term option before deciding on others.

Available business bank loans in Malaysia

You can actually apply for a personal or business loan to kickstart your setup. This can range from as low as RM2,000 and goes up to RM500,000 or even more. The amount you are eligible to apply for depends largely on your individual situation like your income, potential earnings and your credit standings. In some situations, you can borrow more but the bank might require some form of collateral.
Through these loans, you will be required to agree to a certain interest rate. That would be published by the bank and is mostly standardized. Different banks will have different rates but they usually do not vary that much. Then, you need to multiply it with the term which is expressed in years. After that, a monthly repayment amount will be communicated to you of which you will then have to start servicing.

Where to start looking?

The usual and most common place to start looking would be to the banks. There are several banks that offer very specialized loans for small businesses. They are as below:

Maybank FSMI 2

Known as the Fund for Small & Medium Sized Industries 2 (FSMI 2), this is a loan that offers you the kickstart if you are an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) involved in domestic-oriented sectors or in export. The features of this product include:

  1. You can loan from RM50,000 and up to RM3,000,000
  2. The interest rate is about 5% depending on the current rate as stipulated by Bank Negara Malaysia
  3. the payback period is up to 3 years

Your shareholder’s funds must not be more than RM10,000,000 to be eligible and you need to be involved in manufacturing and services.

SME Corp and MIDF – Soft Loan For SMEs

The Soft Loan for SMEs or SLSME is a scheme offered via SME Corporation and MIDF (Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad) to help promote small and medium enterprises in the country. This scheme is to assist new start-ups as well as existing ones in terms of working capital financing, project and fixed assets.
It is offered by the Malaysian government through these agencies and to apply for this scheme, you need to be:

  1. an SME incorporate under the Companies Act 1965 or
  2. Registration of Business Ordinance 1965
  3. not less than 60% of the equity in the company is owned by Malaysians
  4. have a valid premise license
  5. Involved in sectors such as manufacturing and its related services, services not including insurance or financial).
  6. this fund allows you to apply for financing from RM50,000 to RM5,000,000.
  7. the interest rate is 4% per annum

UOB BizMoney

The UOB BizMoney loan is a very popular scheme that offers you a low-interest business loan to help start your idea. Among its features are:

  1. Depending on the loan amount and period, the interest can be as low as 6.5% per annum
  2. company must be at least 3 years in operations
  3. registered companies in Malaysia, Micro Enterprises and SMEs are eligible to apply
  4. a minimum of 51% ownership by Malaysians
  5. You can borrow up to RM500,000 for a period of 5 years

SME Bank Business Accelerator Program

The SME Bank Business Accelerator Program is a form of financial assistance that SMEs can apply for offered by SME Bank. This scheme is designed with SME Corp aimed to help emerging SMEs to build their businesses. Its features include:

  1. Loan amount from RM50,000 to RM1,000,000.
  2. You can use this to finance your working capital or to purchase fixed assets
  3. interest rate starts from 4% per annum
  4. payment period can be up to 7 years and 10 years for asset purchase

BSN Microplus

The BSN Microplus is designed to help SME owners and entrepreneurs either start or expand their current operations. This plan is an exciting one where:

  1. You can borrow between RM50,000 and RM250,000
  2. the flat profit rate starts from 9.95% per annum
  3. The financing period can be between 1 and 7 years
  4. Malaysians between 21 and 60 years old are eligible to apply.
  5. You must be a recognized SME as stipulated as Micro, Small or Medium Enterprise by the National SME Development Council
  6. Have a business running for not less than 3 years
  7. Have at least 51% Malaysian ownership in your company

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