Signs show trends improving for entrepreneurs post-pandemic, says Ewon Benedick

KUALA LUMPUR: There are signs that business trends are improving for entrepreneurs, says Datuk Ewon Benedick.

The Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Development Minister told the Dewan Rakyat that a survey conducted by his ministry between 2020 and 2022 shows that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and increases in the cost of basic items led to entrepreneurs having to shut down their businesses.

He added that the survey's results showed that 8.88% of businesses shut down their operations in April 2020, followed by 3.16% in June 2021, 1.38% in Feb 2022 and 2.7% in Nov of the same year.

"As part of the effort to assist affected entrepreneurs, the ministry implemented various initiatives to revive businesses through all of its agencies and this includes financing schemes under Tekun Nasional and the Ikhtiar financing scheme under Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM)," he said.

Ewon said this on Thursday (Nov 23) in reply to a question from Roslan Hashim (PN-Kulim Bandar Baharu) during the Minister's Question Time.

Roslan had asked the ministry to state the number of entrepreneurs who closed their businesses due to the current economic downturn and the efforts made to help affected entrepreneurs.

Ewon said that financing scheme agencies under his ministry have helped greatly and added that the application process had been reduced.

He also noted that his ministry and all of its agencies collaborated with the Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) for the implementation of a second-chance intervention program to help entrepreneurs facing serious financial management issues and those facing the risk of bankruptcy.

In 2022, a total of 664 entrepreneurs were made aware of the availability of second chances option through various government initiatives, he said

"Out of this number, 40 entrepreneurs were selected to participate in the special guidance programme of the National Entrepreneurship Institute (Insken) for the period of four months starting from Oct 17, 2022," he said.

He added that the SME Corp also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AKPK on Feb 3, this year, as an effort to assist entrepreneurs in education and financial and credit management.

"This strategic collaboration is seen as being able to help and facilitate entrepreneurs in making wise and prudent financial decisions, especially in the post-pandemic era," he said.

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