KOTA KINABALU (Nov 18): The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry will introduce two new schemes to further boost entrepreneurial and cooperative development in the country.
Its minister, Datuk Ewon Benedick, said the two schemes are the Skim Pembiayaan Usahawan Kraf by TEKUN Nasional and the Program Rangsangan Koperasi Pelancongan which will be implemented by Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia (SKM).
Ewon told reporters that the Skim Pembiayaan Usahawan Kraf will see financing of up to a maximum of RM100,000 provided to micro and small entrepreneurs in the craft sector, including arts and crafts, batik clothing, souvenirs and enterprises in the craft sector.
“I and Minister of Tourism Datuk Tiong King Sing have discussed how the national craft and batik industry can be elevated among small entrepreneurs. We agreed that a financing scheme needs to be introduced specifically for this purpose.
“Furthermore, Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in his presentation of the 2024 Budget, announced a program to assist craft and batik entrepreneurs. Therefore, this scheme will be launched soon,” he said.
As for the tourism cooperative stimulus package, Ewon stated that his ministry will provide RM2 million through SKM to support the development of the tourism sector through financing incentives for homestay, village stay and lodging houses operated by tourism-based cooperatives.
“Under this program, we will finance a portion of the accommodation package provided by tourism cooperatives. This means that tourists will pay a lower price when visiting and staying at homestays, village stays and lodging houses owned by tourism cooperatives.
“I am confident that this program will benefit village tourism cooperatives and is our initial contribution towards Visit Malaysia 2026, encouraging tourists to visit tourism centres owned by cooperatives offering accommodation packages. I plan to launch this program in Sabah early next year,” he said.
Ewon expressed hope that tourism-based cooperatives can introduce more products and services in their respective areas to attract tourists to visit them and more entrepreneurs from Sabah will apply for the grants available.
Speaking to reporters after officiating the ‘Sulaman Siling Tradisi’ workshop in SIDMA College Bundusan on Saturday, Ewon said activities such as the embroidery workshop can also be turned into tourism attractions.
“They can consider workshops like this to introduce tourists to our culture. We have two years to prepare for Visit Malaysia Year 2026,” he said.
The workshop was organised by the Persatuan Unduk Ngadau Sabah (PUNS) and SIDMA College.
Regarding the workshop, Ewon hoped that the participants would become entrepreneurs producing traditional attire or related services related to the ethnic traditional clothing of Sabah.
“Under various schemes through the ministry’s agencies, workshop participants engaged in this service business can apply for financing. Moreover, if entrepreneurs want to expand their business through the acquisition of machinery, automation and digitization to enhance productivity, we have also launched the Bumiputera Sabah and Sarawak Entrepreneur Grant Scheme under the Bumiputera Enterprise Enhancement Program (BEEP) Plus by SME Corp for this purpose.
“This workshop is important to pass down the knowledge and skills of embroidery to the younger generation, but as the Minister of Entrepreneurship, I want to see workshop participants become real entrepreneurs and visit the ministry’s agencies to access relevant services or financing,” he said.
Ewon, through his special allocation, has allocated a grant of RM20,000 to PUNS for this year and has agreed to double that amount next year so that the association can organize entrepreneurship and education programs, especially for women.
Meanwhile PUNS president Ellyanti Panis said they plan to organize more sessions next year so that more people, not only women from the momogun community will be able to participate.
The sessions next year will not only be workshops that are based on culture but others which can also lift the socio-economy and living standards of the people.