Multiple schemes available for women entrepreneurs

JOHOR BARU: Women are encouraged to venture into business as there are many financing schemes and programmes available that are specially tailored for them.

Johor Empowerment of Intellectual Women (Jeiwa) president Nor Fadilah Mohd Nizar hopes more women will take the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

She welcomed the RM95mil allocated for special micro credit financing for women entrepreneurs through Tekun, Mara and Agrobank under Budget 2021 to empower women entrepreneurs.

“We have been assisting women, especially housewives and single mothers, to become entrepreneurs to supplement their household income, ’’ said Nor Fadilah.

She said Jeiwa had assisted many women, who benefited from the micro credit financing provided by Mara, and hoped more women would come forward to utilise the allocation.

Nor Fadilah said apart from Mara, women also received financial assistance from SME Bank and feedback from Mara and SME Bank showed that women entrepreneurs were good paymasters.

“However, prior to this, most of the women had problems securing loans from banks as working capital, ’’ she added.

Nor Fadilah said among the main issues were not having proper documentation, no financial transactions, failing to register their business and no current account with the bank.

She advised women planning to start a business, including home-based ones, to register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) to avoid untoward consequences.

“Try to avoid venturing into online businesses that many people have already gone into such as food or beauty products, ” said Nor Fadilah, adding that they should go into handicrafts to reach a wider audience worldwide instead.

Johor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JICCI) women unit head N. Saraswati said it had trained over 1,000 women entrepreneurs since 2009, of whom 80% were successful in their ventures.

She said unlike men, women entrepreneurs had to mange their time as mothers and housewives as well.

“We provide a one-month business training programme to Indian women, as some think a three-month period is too long, ’’ said Saraswati who is also Johor MIC Wanita chief.

She said JICCI’s long-term objective was to train more Indian women in catering, home-based food business and wedding planning services.

Saraswati said food business was recession-proof and the Covid-19 pandemic offered good prospects for food delivery service as many preferred to eat at home since the movement control order started on March 18.

Marrybrown Sdn Bhd managing director Datin Nancy Liew advised women to conduct due diligence before deciding to open a business.She said while there were many financing schemes in the country specially tailored to potential women entrepreneurs, they should still make a wise decision.

“Opening a business is not easy as there are many challenges along the way before you can succeed, ’’ said Liew, who founded the company together with her husband Lawrence Liew in 1981.

The former nurse said there was no difference between men and women when it came to running a business as it needed full commitment from owners.

“You must have discipline to run a business well and be a good paymaster, as it will help you to secure bank loans if you want to expand your operations in the future, ’’ added Liew.

Marrybrown is now the largest home-grown quick service restaurant chain with over 500 outlets in 16 countries.

Twenty percent of the outlets in the country are owned by the couple while the rest, including those overseas are franchised.

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Women , Entrepreneurs , Financing , Budget 2021 , Banks


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