Put allocation to good use, say groups

A shop operated by Jeiwa at a shopping centre in Johor Baru offers a place for women to showcase their products and highlights local talents.

JOHOR BARU: The National Economic Revival Plan (Penjana) is crucial to help small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), including those owned by women, get back on their feet after Covid-19.

Usahawanita Bidadari Johor association chairman Noorlizah Saayon said the pandemic had pushed a majority of SMEs to use the online platform but not all were doing well.

She pointed out that the RM50mil allocation for women entrepreneurs could be used to provide online business classes and empower them with marketing skills and sales strategies post-Covid-19.

“Right now during the recovery period, the most important factor is to set up a sound structural system or data on women entrepreneurs and their businesses, to enable the government to easily identify those in need and provide help directly.

“Some entrepreneurs are doing very well after shifting their businesses online but those who are not technologically-savvy, are struggling.

“They need guidance to cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic, ” she said when contacted.

She said the SMEs also needed capital to recover and develop their business, and this would be impossible without aid from the government.

“The association conducted some online classes for its members during the movement control order (MCO) to help them weather the storm and it would be good if the government could do this on a larger scale, ” she said, adding that such measures would lead to faster economic recovery.

Johor Empowerment of Intellectual Women Association (Jeiwa) president Nor Fadilah Mohamed Nizar said any aid given out to women entrepreneurs should come with dissemination of knowledge or professional advice on making it work for them.

“We want women to move away from the traditional market, like making cookies or sewing.

“Empower them to enter the international market, become suppliers of products for franchises out there, and earn recognition.

“The government must give women entrepreneurs an avenue to venture into premium business platforms with high-end commissions.

“With proper guidance and enhanced management skills, nothing is impossible for them, ” said Nor Fadilah.

“The government could help identify the businesses with potential to be expanded to the international market and connect them to major companies for faster growth.

“Hands-on advice and a development module based on the current business trends along with the financial aid will help them, ” she added.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a wide range of measures under the government’s Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan aimed at alleviating the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the allocations include RM400mil to fund Penjana microcredit by Tekun and Bank Simpanan Nasional, with RM50mil allocated especially for female entrepreneurs.

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