RM18.2 mln to assist women, disabled business operators

Wan Junaidi

KUCHING: A sum of RM18.2 mln has been allocated by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (Medac) for programmes and assistance  specifically for women and disabled business operators.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today stated that the ministry together with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) would work together to help the target groups, especially in post-Covid-19 recovery and helping them to expand their operations.

The allocation would be used for various programmes, including training, financing assistance and soft loans.

“Women business owners are among those severely affected by the pandemic as most of them are in micro and informal (unregistered) categories and running businesses that are in the non-essential sectors such as aesthetics, fashion, spa, beauty, event management and wedding planning.

“Among the agencies under Medac that will be involved are Institute Keusahawanan Negara (Insken), Tekun, Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Corp and Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS). These agencies will develop various programmes under KPWKM, namely the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) as well as the welfare department.”

Wan Junaidi said Medac and its agencies were working very hard to provide end-to-end assistance that would significantly contribute to post-Covid-19 recovery and help SMEs thrive.

“This includes offering financing assistance, micro financing, coaching programmes, training and upskilling programmes.

“One area that we want to focus on right now is to assist these businesses to go digital. Based on our survey, we found that businesses that go digital would thrive while those that resist faced difficulties.”

Wan Junaidi added Medac through PNS was keen to work with KPWKM in indentifying potential women-owned businesses that could be developed into homegrown franchise brands.

He said franchise was a powerful platform that could accelerate the growth of SMEs and PNS through its various programmes could provide the hand-holding experience that would ensure success to those who were interested.

“Many SMEs are afraid to venture into franchising mainly due to the perception that it requires a high initial capital. Of course, before they start, PNS would evaluate their business and consult them on how to go about doing this step by step.

“In addition to this, we also have other agencies within the ministry to provide the necessary support for entrepreneurs in this venture – from financing, training, business coaching, consultation and many more.

“At Medac, we strive towards creating a conducive eco-system for entrepreneurship to thrive.”

Under its five-year strategy, PNS is targeting a minimum of 5,000 financing approval to entrepreneurs, which is expected to expand the franchise portfolio by 400 per cent from RM178mil to RM700mil.

This is expected to create 18,000 jobs and contribute RM4.4bil towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).