KUALA LUMPUR: The recently-concluded Halal Fiesta Malaysia (Halfest 2012) is considered a success compared to the previous one as this time around, 20 companies will be selected to participate in a programme aimed at exposing them to the global market.
Halfest 2012 organiser Sharpers Malaysia chief executive officer Mohd Shukri Abdullah said the selection of these companies will take place soon by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), which is responsible to help the companies venture abroad.
"I must say when we were first asked to select these 20 companies in the first Halfest, we failed ... But this year, through cooperation with our strategic partners like Halal Industry Development Corp, MARA and CIMB Islamic, we have shortlisted 80 out of 635 participating companies, and the top 20 will be finalised soon," he said.
Halfest aims to strengthen and stimulate the local halal industry and prepare it for the global market.
Held early last month, the five-day Halfest 2012 exhibited 711 booths and attracted nearly 70,000 visitors.
Speaking to reporters after a prize-giving ceremony to winners of Halfest's contests, Mohd Shukri said the selected companies have to be export-ready, but lack of financial assistance restricts them from reaching markets beyond Malaysia.
MARA Director Yahya Ibrahim pointed out that even participating in events such as Halfest was costly for most of the small companies, but with MARA's assistance, they had only paid RM2,000 per booth. A full fee per booth was RM11,000.
He said MARA's involvement in Halfest had provided the needed empowerment to the local entrepreneurs involved in the production and selling of halal products and services.
The participation of CIMB Islamic, meanwhile, had provided the entrepreneurs with various syariah solutions, as well as financial confidence to grow their businesses.
He added that the media, which provided Halfest a wide coverage worth some RM10.7 million, had also contributed to the success of Halfest this year.
Next year, Halfest 2013 will be held on October 2 to 6 at the Putra World Trade Centre here.