The Government constantly works to ensure that women continue to be protected and empowered. This includes those involved in business whom directly contribute to the national economy. Therefore, an allocation special initiatives has been provided for women entrepreneurs through a special microcredit financing scheme with an allocation of RM95 million under MARA, TEKUN and Agrobank.
Business-minded women have been making waves across the globe, and Malaysia is not short of great, successful role models, like Tan Hooi Ling of Grab; fashion designer Alia Bastaman; Jenn Low of Wanderlust + Co and Noor Neloofa of Naelofar Hijab.
In various parts of the world, women have long been recognised for their contribution to global growth and development. For something closer to home, Malaysian women entrepreneurs are also a vital component of our country’s economic ecosystem.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a significant impact on the country and affected many businesses, particularly the smaller ones, in one way or another.
The impact of the pandemic is also felt by Nurhidayah Hairom, the owner of the Cadbreo Enterprise snack food company. She said that during the first MCO in March and April 2020, which prohibited interstate travel during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, her orders and income had dropped tremendously.
Fortunately, the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP 1.0) which was first introduced by the Government in March 2020 helped to mitigate some of the impact. She said the one-off grant of RM3,000 had kept her business afloat, and was used to settle her utility bills and re-stock ingredients to make her Cadbreo Crunch. Subsequently, the Government also introduced GKP Tambahan in January 2021, which provided a further RM1,000 per micro SME.
“I am glad the government was fast enough in helping micro and small enterprises. Otherwise, many of us would have shut down for good,“ she added.
In support of the inclusion of women in economic activities, Budget 2021 highlights several initiatives to further support women entrepreneurs. Among the initiatives are RM95 million special micro-credit financing for women entrepreneurs through TEKUN, MARA, and Agrobank, RM50 milion for special Islamic micro-credit financing Ar- Rahnu BizNita under YaPEIM and Micro Entrepreneurs Business Development Programme (BizMe) for more than 2,000 women entrepreneurs focusing on business marketing and technical guidance.
Budget 2021 reflects the Government’s recognition of the contribution of women entrepreneurs in driving the country’s economy. These are an extension and continuation of the assistance introduced under previous stimulus packages to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Some time in the third quarter of 2020, I decided to take up the Government’s Shop Malaysia Online course, to see how I can start selling my cookies. In June 2021, we faced another lockdown. Thankfully, the Government again provided another RM1,500 under GKP 3.0, enabling me to get a laptop for my daughter who has had to study from home. Every little aid from the Government helps during challenging times, but we all need to put in our own effort, too.
Hence, women entrepreneurs out there who are facing difficulties with their business are advised to make full use of the initiatives and assistance provided by the Government. As Nurhidayah did, these initiatives and assistance might prove to be the saviour of their business amidst the pandemic.