KUALA LUMPUR: During an outing with Muslim friends in the United Kingdom six years ago, Malaysian lawyer Simon Suresh faced an issue concerning halal food.
The daughter of one of his friends started crying because she wanted some sweets but her mother stopped Simon from buying them because she was afraid the products might not be halal compliant.
Realising for the first time the plight of Muslims around Europe who faced strict halal compliance to consume food, Simon started to do research on halal products.
Surprisingly, he found that his own country, Malaysia, was one of the hubs for best quality halal products.
In 2014, Simon, who resides in the UK, and a friend, Sinjin Ajis, an Indonesian technology entrepreneur living in Malaysia, set up Halal Street UK.
Following a collaboration between Halal Street UK and Matrade today, more Malaysian small and medium enterprises will be able to venture into the UK and its surrounding markets.
“This collaboration means Malaysian halal SMEs will be able to receive eTrade assistance such as monetary facilitation when they take part in Halal Street,” Simon said at the Matrade headquarters here.
“We are optimistic that it will help Malaysian halal SMEs get their products into the UK and European markets in a much shorter time.”
Matrade deputy chief executive officer Sharimahton Mat Saleh said it is important to continue expanding its list of the market places so that SMEs will have more options to explore for their export business.
“Digital platform is the most cost-effective vehicle for SMES to go global and it also opens up opportunities for entrepreneurs in global business,” she said when launching the Matrade eTrade programme’s new eMarket place targeting the European market.
Sharimahton said there are 44 million Muslims in Europe and prospects of halal products such as food and beverages, beauty products, health supplements, hijab and baby products are immense in the region.
“Apart from being shariah compliant, halal products have higher, if not superior, quality compared to other products, from raw materials sourced until they reach the end-users,” she said.
She said that by increasing the pool of exporters among SMEs, export contribution can be increased to 25% by 2025 from 17.5% recorded last year.