Nowadays, women are taking a more active role in contributing to the country’s economy by setting up their own companies or participating in business programmes. In Malaysia, the government makes women’s empowerment a priority, ensuring that they receive the support they need to thrive amidst the challenges.
In 2021, the government has launched several initiatives to equip women entrepreneurs in the country. Among them, these are the top four programmes that empower women.
Academy of Women Entrepreneurs
Launched by the US Ambassador in Malaysia in partnership with the Women Entrepreneur Network Association of Malaysia (WENA), the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) aims to prepare women to be confident and independent entrepreneurs by offering capacity building, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
This year, AWE celebrated its second cycle with 50 women from different regions in the country. Each of them received mentoring from business leaders to guide them in their respective industries. They also participated in training programmes to enhance their public speaking and civic responsibility. They also received helpful tips to build and leverage a supportive ecosystem among women entrepreneurs through this training. Once completed, WENA granted selected women a RM 1,000 loan using the micro-financing scheme to pay for company registration fees in Malaysia and ultimately support their businesses.
Women Netpreneur Programme
This programme was organised by the SME Corp. Malaysia in 2013 with the goal of educating women with the latest changes and trends in the business landscape. In doing so, they ensure that women are given the opportunity to adapt and transform their businesses to remain relevant. One of these trends involves Industry 4.0, which is all about digitalisation in the country.
With the rise of e-commerce and technological advancements, this programme prepared women entrepreneurs to build and grow their businesses online. In collaboration with Gorgeous Geeks Malaysia, Women Netrepreneur Programme 2021 included a series of workshops and training programmes revolving around online technologies and e-commerce.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide women with the essential knowledge and specialised skill sets to embark into the digital business world and elevate their existing business to a whole new level of success.
DanaNITA Financing Scheme
The objective of this scheme is to intensify women’s participation in business by providing financial support. In addition, through this scheme, the government aims to increase the overall household income by empowering women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.
To qualify for the DanaNITA Financing Scheme, applicants must meet the following conditions:
- She must be a Malaysian citizen, and more specifically, a Bumiputera.
- She must be within the age range of 18 to 60.
- She must have previous knowledge and experience in their business.
- She must have accomplished Malaysia company registration and possess a valid business registration (SSM).
- She must operate within business premises (excluding online businesses)
- She must have a letter of authorisation or a license from the PBT
- She must own and operate a full-time company
- She must have at least six months of experience running the business
- She must have an active savings account
- She must be compliant with statutory guidelines
Once approved, the applicant can request a maximum of RM 150,000 to contribute to the capital or purchase business equipment and other machinery.
Ar-Rahnu Micro Credit-Programme
In the same scope as financing, the Ar-Rahnu Micro-Credit Programme enables women to gain more access to financial support to increase their capital by using gold as an asset for productive purposes.
The Ar-Rahnu business model uses gold or gold jewellery as collateral to the applicant’s loan. Therefore, the amount that they can borrow depends on the value of their gold. New applicants can borrow up to 65% of their gold’s value, while regular applicants can borrow up to 70%. For this reason, only women in the gold or jewellery business are eligible for this scheme.
These are just a few of the government initiatives to support women in their business ventures. Others include the Micro-Entrepreneurs Business Development Programme (BizMe), which offers training programmes to more than 2,000 women in the scope of marketing, packaging, and labelling, and other micro-credit financings from Agrobank, MARA, and TEKUN.
With these opportunities, women can register companies online and reap the benefits of their businesses. These empowering initiatives are created to increase the value of their contribution and enhance their role in expanding the economy and building the nation as a whole.