Govt to establish RM1b youth fund

By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The government plans to set up a Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Fund worth RM1 billion next year.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof (picture) said the fund, to cover 67 programmes and initiatives, would be tabled at a Cabinet meeting in the near term for final approval.

“The ministry is working together with the Youth and Sports Ministry to establish the Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Fund as promised in the Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Mohd Redzuan was replying to a question from Jerantut MP Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris who asked about the initiatives to be implemented by the government in promoting entrepreneurship among local youths.

The minister said the fund would comprise four focus areas — namely training and human capital development; financing; market access and innovation; as well as infrastructure.

Mohd Redzuan said the government is confident of having initiatives and programmes that are tailored for youths under one fund, which will allow for effective implementation as well as a more holistic and comprehensive monitoring and coordination.

“Besides that, the initiatives will also reduce the duplication of functions and entrepreneurship programmes being implemented by various ministries and agencies,” he added.

Mohd Redzuan said the Entrepreneur Development Ministry is committed to contributing towards the creation of one million job opportunities over the next five years via entrepreneurship development programmes to 250,000 Malaysians.

“In other words, the ministry targets to create 50,000 entrepreneurs each from the B40 (bottom 40% of household income group), M40 and social enterprises every year for the next five years,” he explained.

As the ministry is entrusted for comprehensive and holistic development of local entrepreneurs, Mohd Redzuan said the new entrepreneurship programmes will create a positive impact to the economy by producing more local entrepreneurs, improving the quality of product and services, as well as increasing export markets.

Under the SME Masterplan, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are projected to contribute 41% to the GDP and 23% to total exports by 2020.

“The ministry is planning to review the targets and accelerate further key targets, for example achieving 42% contribution of SMEs to GDP by 2020,” he added.