Businesswomen eager for funds to expand their ventures

Suriati (left) and Noorasikin are keen to expand their business and helping more of their fellow residents at their flats. — Photo: LOW LAY PHON/The Star

AS past recipients of a government grant, entrepreneurs Noorasikin Jailani and Suriati Sudin, both 30, welcome any additional aid to keep their businesses afloat.

The two, who run stalls selling homemade products from their fellow residents at the Damansara Bistari flats, are keen to apply for aid under the People and Economic Strategic Empowerment Programme (Pemerkasa) stimulus package in hopes of expanding their business besides helping their community.

“Having more capital will allow us to recruit more women entrepreneurs and market our products online, thereby supporting more families as many of us started business ventures to supplement our household income, ” said Noorasikin, who sells cookies and cakes.

“Both Suriati and I received a one-off grant from the government during the movement control order last year, which gave me a little capital to sustain my business and expand my range of products, ” she added.

Uma Devi Palaniappan, 46, believes that supporting local brands and SMEs means families will be fed and taken care of.

The co-founder of an organic skincare brand said the government funding would be a much-needed boost as she was looking to get her business certified by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency and setting up a manufacturing facility.

Syahrain Teh Abdullah, 52, and Aurora Ho Seow Lai, 43, also welcome the Pemerkasa initiative.

Ho said additional funding would help expand her artisanal nut butter products to neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Thailand.

“Given the chance, I will use the government grant to improve my range of products, presentation and marketing, ” said Syahrain, whose business sells halal versions of Chinese delicacies.

“Right now, I am only able to sell a selection of my products online. But I believe there is an appreciation for halal Chinese food in Malaysia, so growing my business will allow me to grow my team, ” she added.

However, both hope to get more details on the grants available.

“It will be great if there is some guidance as to what is most suitable for us, ” said Ho.

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