Financial Assistance for Women Entrepreneurs in Malaysia

According to the 2018 Statistics on Women Empowerment in Selected Domains in Malaysia released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of men (80.1%) are higher than women (54.7%). With regard to estimated earned income, out of RM100.00 salaries and wages earned by men, women receive RM93.80. However, in terms of professional and technical workers, women (44.7%) are almost equal to men (55.3%).

There is some way to go for Malaysia to achieve gender equality in terms of economic participation and opportunity. However, the country has been making progress. Considering the Malaysia Gender Gap Index (MGGI) 2017, the ranking for Malaysia has improved to 70 out of the 144 countries listed in the Global Gender Gap Report, 2017 (previously, it was 104 out of 144).  Simultaneously, Malaysia ranked 8 out of 18 countries in East Asia and the Pacific (previously, it was 14 out of 18).

Malaysia is set to improve further towards achieve gender equality with the addition of more programmes to assist women entrepreneurs. Here are some of the programmes for financial assistance :

TEKUN Nasional

Founded in 1998, TEKUN Nasional was previously known as TEKUN Nasional Foundation. It started out as an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development, with the objective to provide simple and quick financing facilities to bumiputeras in order to kick-start and further expand their businesses. However, now has been moved to the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development, and it has evolved to become a strategic entrepreneur development partner for businesses instead of just being a financing body.

The main financing schemes offered by TEKUN:

  • TEKUN Niaga Financing Scheme
  • Teman TEKUN Financing Scheme
  • TemanNita Financing Scheme
  • Kontrak-i Financing Scheme
  • Ar-Rahnu TEKUN
  • Indian Community Entrepreneur Development Scheme (SPUMI)

Although women entrepreneurs can apply to all the financing schemes offered, the scheme specially created for women is the TemanNita Financing Scheme. The requirements for applying to this scheme are:

  • Bumiputera or Indian community (through the SPUMI Fund)
  • Aged 18 – 60 years old
  • Already operating businesses or have proposals or plans for business ventures with potential and viability
  • Possess licence / permits / Business Registration (SSM) that are valid
  • Having a specific business spot / location or mobile business
  • Existing business financing does not exceed RM50,000

The plus point about getting financing from TEKUN is that support is provided. Moreover, successful applicants will get to attend entrepreneurship seminars to upgrade their business skills.

For more information on TemanNita and other financing schemes offered by TEKUN, visit its website at www.tekun.gov.my.

SME Bank

SME Bank provides a variety of financing options. However, the option specifically created for women is MySMELady, which was launched on 8 October 2018. It focuses on micro entrepreneurs intending to expand and grow their businesses, which includes asset acquisition and working capital with a sub-limit for debit card with the partnering bank, Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad.

The requirements:

  • The business is owner-operated with at least 51% shareholding by women and the women are the key decision-makers
  • The company has been in operations for at least two (2) years
  • The company is at least 51% owned by Malaysians
  • The company does not have adverse financial track records

To date, nobody has applied for it, so you have a very good chance if you apply for it as soon as possible!

Visit www.smebank.com.my to find out more.

SME Hub Malaysia

SME Hub is a platform created for SMEs and entrepreneurs, to help them acquire knowledge, learn business best practices and obtain essential information on business start-up, market access, human capital development, financial resources, industry know-how, etc.

In October 2018, to further enhance the services at SME Hub, the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) launched the Entrepreneurship One-Stop Centre (PSK) also known as PSK@SME Hub.

The range of services offered at the SME Hub includes:

  • Business advisory services
  • SME Hub Links (collaboration with other Government agencies and organisations)
  • Pocket Talk
  • Info Centre (Info Mail, Info Line)
  • Resource Centre
  • SME Product Gallery
  • Virtual SME Hub (SME Corp. Malaysia website, SMEinfo Portal)

To find out more, visit www.smecorp.gov.my

Making It Count

Although there is a multitude of assistance available for women entrepreneurs, the success of the company ultimately depends on the discipline and commitment of the entrepreneurs themselves.

“Don’t follow what other people are doing. Do the business that YOU want,” advised Raja Rozaila Raja Azman from SME Corp.

“We found that applications are mostly rejected because the documents provided are incomplete. Some applicants do not have a SSM licence – you need to have it,” explained ________ from TEKUN Nasional.

He added, “If you have trouble making repayments, please come to TEKUN for a discussion. Our officers will think of a way to help you. We will surely find a solution. The worst thing you can do is run way!”

The future looks promising for micro entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises. If you are not sure what to do, all you need to do is do some research and ask the right questions.

The panel session Financial Access for Women Entrepreneurs was one of the session in Konvensyen Usahawan Wanita 2019 organized by SMECorp Malaysia that took place in conjunction with Minggu Usahawan Nasional 2019 on 29th August 2019 at MAEPS.

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