MUAR: Villagers can become successful entrepreneurs if they dare to take up challenges and venture into trading or manufacturing of agro-based products.
State Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Com-mittee chairman Samat Aripin said that besides an interest in business, all they needed was the will power to succeed and related knowledge.
Speaking to entrepreneurs in the Pagoh parliamentary constituency near here, he said the Government had set up the National Tekun Foundation to help them with their financial needs.
The foundation provides funds starrting from RM5,000 for those who want to start a venture and up to RM30,000 for those who want to expand their growing businesses.
To date it has provided funds totalling nearly RM5mil to about 800 entrepreneurs in the Pagoh parliamentary area alone, he said when opening the Pagoh Tekun entrepreneurs' carnival on Aug 19.
Samat said the entrepreneurial sector had been growing steadily over the past several years and the Government was now focusing on developing the agro-based industrial sector.
This means villagers would be able to branch out from just being farmers to agro-based food traders, retailers, suppliers or manufacturers.
He said the food industry was expected to grow with the growing population and foodstuff producers, including those making krepek ubi (tapioca chips) had a bright future.
However, he added, they should not only ensure the products had quality, were tasty and attractive but they should also give importance to the labelling and packaging.
He said he was impressed with a Felcra Bukit Kepong settler Masturi Matani who started trading in bananas locally, including to Singapore, about three years ago.
He said the man was committed in all his undertakings and as such the foundation had selected Masturi as the Pagoh parliamentary Tekun award recipient of the year.
From buying and selling bananas, the man ventured into planting banana trees on land leased from other villagers and later ventured into making krepek pisang (banana chips).
Today Masturi not only sells bananas and related products, but also operates a snack food factory and employs 10 workers in Bukit Kepong, he added.