by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE
EKUITI Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) had launched Iltizam Entrepreneurship Mentor Programme (EMP) Ihsan with a total commitment of RM10 million to assist micro and small bumiputera businesses that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To facilitate the rollout, Ekuinas will reach out to the affected businesses by collaborating with all zakat management entities nationwide.
“Our collaboration with zakat entities was not a difficult decision to make because we do not have sufficient manpower to implement the programme.
“We believe state zakat departments are the suitable bodies to work with since they have the infrastructure and the data of entrepreneurs that were affected by the pandemic,” said Ekuinas CEO Syed Yasir Arafat Syed Abd Kadir during the programme’s virtual launch on Friday.
Among the criteria outlined for eligible recipients are that they must be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, city councils or community leaders and are owned by entrepreneurs that come from the B40 group.
The entities will facilitate the disbursement of funds to beneficiaries, which will be done in three phases, beginning with a total distribution of RM3 million for Phase 1 to three entities namely Selangor’s Teraju Ekonomi Asnaf Sdn Bhd (TERAS), Lembaga Zakat Negeri Kedah Darul Aman and Zakat Pulau Pinang.
Syed Yasir Arafat said the responsibility to provide assistance for those in need does not solely rely on the government and companies with sufficient capacity should get involved in lessening the burden faced by them.
“The assistance provided by the government is very specific and we do not want to duplicate what the government has given out.
“Our target is micro entrepreneurs who have faced hardships in sustaining their operations amid the pandemic. That is why we are collaborating with the zakat management to identify each business that was badly impacted.
“We hope that the financial support we are offering will help these business owners alleviate some of the business constraints and be able to pick-up once again as the situation improves,” he said.
The Iltizam EMP rollout will be done in the next eight months whereby Ekuinas will provide one-off financial assistance of RM2,000 to each business to serve as working capital, capital for expansion into new areas as well as operational expenses such as rental, salaries and utilities.