ELSA: AI-Powered Advisory for Malaysian MSMEs

Biz Advisory
Insider Insights

22 Feb 2023 • Bacaan 5 minit

This assessment application is tailored to help accelerate your business growth. It allows you to identify priority areas for improvement and provides a framework for support. This, in turn, can open up access to business opportunities, financing, and investment. Additionally, it enables better networking and innovation!


Quick overview of ELSA’s benefits: 


  • Profiling your business resources and capacity that can help you navigate its lifecycle and achieve higher levels of success. 

  • Evaluates performance to highlight business challenges, priorities, and issues related to resources. 

  • Enables you to map out the support your company needs based on the phase it’s in or about to transition to, and to link your business to corresponding support services such as business coaching.  

  • Facilitates monitoring of the growth and development of your enterprise over time.  


Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) bear the brunt of the fallout from COVID-19. The pandemic impacts various aspects of business, from access to resources to the ability to develop new projects, products, and services. 


On your journey towards success, it’s now more important than ever to be aware of the stages of your business lifecycle. You must also pinpoint the phase you’re in so that you can advance to the next step. 


For example, you’re an entrepreneur who wants to expand your micro enterprise into a small business establishment. How do you measure your readiness? Do you have everything you need to maintain the momentum? ELSA has the answer! 


What is ELSA? 


The Enterprise Lifecycle Scoring Assessment (ELSA) is a digital assessment tool designed to help MSMEs identify where they are in their stage of development in a precise and systematic way. 


Furthermore, ELSA’s assessment score will enable MSMEs to identify the additional resources or improvements they need to navigate successfully through their lifecycle. 


Let’s dive deeper into ELSA’s features and the advantages it offers to your business!  


Powered by digital technology 



ELSA uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to prescribe recommendations for your business. 


This methodology allows ELSA to generate an understanding of your existing resources and needs through resource/capacity profiling. Therefore, it’s able to effectively assist MSMEs to prioritise their business challenges such as:


  • product and services quality 

  • human resource management 

  • operations 

  • financial management 


Targets specific business development areas 


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ELSA plays a strategic role in efforts to promote a sustainable and dynamic MSME by targeting specific issues of its development. 


Assessments that address the specific nuances of MSMEs can provide pathways towards greater opportunity. Consequently, this will unlock greater value for these enterprises and for the national economy. 


Flexibility and adaptability 


ELSA is a flexible and adaptable tool developed through strategic partnership between Centre of Entrepreneur Development and Research (CEDAR), SME Bank and Malaysia Rating Corporation. 


It can accommodate MSMEs across different business sectors, sizes, ages, business models and performance, among others. ELSA also takes into account the characteristics and goals of entrepreneurs like you. 


Helps you embrace digitalisation more efficiently 


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The tool is very useful to guide MSMEs to strategise their digitalisation journey to improve their business and amplify growth.  


As mentioned earlier, the potential benefits of ELSA’s implementation for your business include contributing to accelerating your business development through evaluation and assessment of lifecycle needs and realising your growth potential. 


Such an understanding serves as input for clarifying the types of digitalisation resources that could be strengthened. ELSA can also set the baseline for continuous monitoring and evaluation of progress. 


Who can use ELSA application? Do you have to pay to utilise it? 


ELSA can be used by all Malaysian entrepreneurs who have been doing business for a minimum of one year. What’s more, ELSA is completely FREE! 


Note: ELSA is only applicable for businesses categorised as an SME as per the definitions provided by SME Corp Malaysia. 


What do you need to do? 


1. Register with ELSA today. Just follow these steps:  


  • Click ‘Sign Up’ at ELSA website

  • Add your business profile. 


2. Answer ELSA assessment with accurate information. 


3. Get the result of your assessment and improve your business according to ELSA Lifecycle Transition Guide. 


Tip: Check out the FAQ or email CEDAR at for queries and technical assistance. 


Assessment factors (criteria) measured by ELSA 


ELSA supports a contextualised assessment by assigning an importance or significance weighting to each business component. Take a look at the areas of business covered: 


  • Operating History/Experience  

  • Industry Growth Potential  

  • Business Resources  

  • Leadership and Capacity Development  

  • Personnel Resources  

  • System Resources  

  • Financial Resources  


How does ELSA measure its score?  


ELSA assessment consists of a questionnaire which entrepreneurs are required to fill out. Each questionnaire represents the assessment factors and will then generate the score. 


The score generated is driven by machine learning according to historical study from CEDAR business coaches on sets of entrepreneurs’ data. 


Armed with the score and ELSA Lifecycle Transition Guide, you’ll be better equipped to take the next step, which is to match your needs and priorities with the right business solutions. 


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