FT MCA Youth to fund young entrepreneurs through new programme


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 21 May 2024

KUALA LUMPUR: Hopeful youth entrepreneurs may now be able to get the financing and guidance they need through a newly launched programme by the Federal Territories MCA Youth.

The programme will focus on entrepreneurs eager to join the food and beverage industry by providing management experience through training and advice as well as business loans.

These will be provided courtesy of local food industry management player Ai Makan Express Management Sdn Bhd and Koperasi Jayadiri Malaysia Bhd (Kojadi) respectively, after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the three at Wisma MCA here Tuesday (May 21).

The project will be open to applicants aged 18 to 40 years old, and candidates must go through an interview assessment before being chosen to undergo month-long training to ensure they are well-prepared to enter the market.

Federal Territories MCA Youth chief Mike Chong Yew Chuan said the project’s goal was to assist young entrepreneurs overcome the common initial challenges they would normally face in the current economic environment.

"Many young aspiring entrepreneurs do not have the funding or expertise to realise their dreams as many face business closure within a few months.

“A recent unofficial survey indicated that 80% of startups fail within just eight months which underscores the need for this initiative,” Chong said before the signing of the MoU on Monday.

He noted that while existing government support for micro and small-medium enterprises (MSMEs) through Budget 2024 was good, the current application process was too cumbersome for many new business owners.

"Applicants must meet specific conditions, such as having operated their business for at least three years, making it seem unattainable for many first-time entrepreneurs,” he said.

Chong said the programme was an essential step at not just providing youths with the ability and experience to become future industry leaders of the country but also to lead future socio-economic development.

“They are the future of the nation, and their entrepreneurial spirit will be an important force in continuing to drive socio-economic progress forward for all,” he said.

He explained that the initiative would leverage Kojadi’s low-interest startup loans. At the same time, Ai Makan Xpress would utilise its successful business model and expertise in the food industry to train and prepare young entrepreneurs to enter the market.

“This will include guidance on optimal locations to set up their initial business, how to operate and worker training among others,” he added.

Kojadi chairman Datuk Koh Nai Kwong emphasised the importance of providing young entrepreneurs with a strong foundation.

"As newcomers, it’s important to have a good start and we want to help by providing them with a smooth loan application process without needing as much red tape," he said.

Koh added that Kojadi plans to expand its business loans into microcredit and small and medium enterprise (SME) loans in the future.

The MoU ceremony was witnessed by MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng with Koh signing on behalf of Kojadi and Ng Swee Keong signing on behalf of Ai Makan Xpress.

The newly launched programme would start with an initial maximum capacity of ten candidates which Chong noted was to ensure the loaned money would be utilised efficiently.

“We want to ensure that chosen entrepreneurs become mentally and physically prepared to take on the business world before possibly expanding the program capacity.

"If this model proves to be highly successful, we hope to invite more companies from other sectors to join in similar collaborations,” Chong said.

Those interested in applying for MCA’s new programme can contact mca.youth.wilayah.persekutuan@gmail.com for further information.

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