KUCHING: Only 1,750 out of 8,037 applications have been approved as of June this year, for entrepreneurs to take part in the government’s incentives for online businesses called the ‘Get Malaysian Business Online’ (GMBO).
Calling for more participation from women entrepreneurs, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim said about RM50 million has been allocated for this purpose under the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to assist 50,000 micro-businesses and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to launch their business online.
From the overall approved applications throughout the country, 54.4 per cent or 952 applicants were women entrepreneurs.
“Products should be marketed in a more structured manner and even using platforms like the Internet. In this regards, the government has introduced incentives for online businesses called the GMBO.
“This programme is to assist 50,000 small entrepreneurs particularly women to promote their businesses by increasing their sales online with a grant of RM1,000,” Rohani added in her her speech at the 2013 Borneo International Beads Conference (Bibco) gala dinner at a hotel here on Saturday.
Hoping that more women will come forward, forming cooperatives or enterprises to market their products on a larger scale, the Batang Lupar MP mentioned that the government has put in place various economic empowerment programmes to assist motivated individuals who wish to better their lives, especially the wide range of women in the rural and urban areas who seek work opportunities.
Among the income generating opportunity is the 1Azam Programme, offered through four components namely Azam Kerja (Jobs), Azam Niaga (Business), Azam Tani (Agriculture) and Azam Khidmat (Services). This programme is aimed not just to provide a one-off welfare support but to strive towards sustainability and economic independence for the targeted group.
As of Dec 2012, a total of 106,947 participants enrolled in the 1Azam project, of which 65.65 per cent (70,224) are women.
Rohani highlighted other economic empowerment initiatives that can be considered such as the I-Kit programme (Intensive Skills Training for Single Mothers), a project to provide entrepreneurial skills training and mentoring. Potential entrepreneurs will be forwarded to Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) to be considered for matching grants. A total of 2,949 single mothers were trained under the programme from 2008 to 2012.
In 2010, I-KeuNita (Incubation Entrepreneurial Women) was introduced offering intensive skills training for women in fields such as beauty therapy, cooking, sewing, handicraft, child care and tourism. It also offers matching grants through AIM.
A number of 1,241 women were trained in that year in which 131 women successfully increased their monthly income to above RM1,000. This programme is continued in 2013, targeting 1,500 women participants.
She pointed out another programme namely Women Entrepreneur Programme under the Low Income Households National Key Result Area, comprising specialised training workshops. This programme is to further develop these entrepreneurs to enable them to earn a net income of RM3,500 per month for a consecutive three-month period.
By the end of last year, about 4,300 women entrepreneurs have successfully developed and ventured into various fields. The programme continued in 2013, targeting to train 1,000 women entrepreneurs. As of Aug 31, 550 women entrepreneurs have been trained.
Rohani also highlighted about AIM’s Skim Pinjaman Ikhtiar (SPI) which is funded by the Finance Ministry. SPI is a micro-credit scheme extended to low income group to engage in income generating activities and micro enterprises. From 2009 to 2013, a total of 131,943 women have benefited from this scheme amounting to RM5.42 billion.