MED aims to help women entrepreneurs

The ministry is finding solutions to issues that are constraining the growth of women entrepreneurship

By NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry (MED) is finding solutions to issues pertaining to occupational segregation, the gender pay gap and inadequate access to resources that are constraining the growth of women entrepreneurship.

MED secretary general Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi said while most of the local businesses owned by women are successful, the true potential of women entrepreneurs has not been sharpened yet.

“The statistics do say there are a number of constraints on women entrepreneurship that needs to be undone. The areas the ministry are looking at are occupational segregation; termination in the process of improvement, retention, as well as promotion; the gender pay gap, which exists in both developing and developed economies; and inadequate access to resources and capacity building,” she said at the Pink Economy Conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

She said the ministry is not only focusing on the accessibility to funding, but also higher training capacity and efficiency.

“We want to harness all our resources to see more training facilities or programmes made available, so that we can make our centres more efficient.

“This means our entrepreneurs will no longer have to go to the different agencies separately to get their training or advice,” she said.

Wan Suraya said, via the ministry’s one-stop centre for entrepreneurs and a toll-free line to provide advisory services, businesspersons can check the agencies that are involved with small and medium enterprises.

“For example, although Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd is not under the ministry, they will be providing their advisory services alongside their resources,” she said.

Wan Suraya said there will be two more one-stop centres to be established in Johor and Selangor this month, after the setting-up of the outlets in five states within the last few months.

“On top of that, it makes sense that we also bolster the support for women entrepreneurs as a developing economy.”

Meanwhile, Nadi-Ayu Technologies Sdn Bhd CEO Nadira Yusoff, praised the government’s support for women in the workforce, adding that more action is needed to implement the initiatives.

“We’re talking about allowing them more time for childcare, we’re talking about less dependency on foreign maids; we also discuss women’s mental health and we want to support them, but where is the support?” she said.

The issues have prompted Nadira to create Kiddocare, a network for parents who are anxious about babysitting.

She said Kiddocare is a mobile application where potential baby-sitters can try to apply and undergo various tests to be eligible.

“Additionally, there are no regulations or laws against this app, and there’s going to be a discussion on disruption between traditional maids and maids on this app.

“So, here’s a bit of a question — how does the government play a part to facilitate the sharing of the economy?”