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Augmentation of business and Entrepreneurial Opportunities through MEDC’s agencies



25 May 2024

By AVV

KOTA KINABALU: Business associations, such as Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce & Industry Malaysia (KCCI) should prioritise the development of micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas and facilitate their organisation into cooperatives.


The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDC) through its agencies offers substantial financial support and training initiatives for cooperatives, its Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick said yesterday when attending KCCI Harvest Fest Dinner and Dance event.


He shared that In Malaysia, there are approximately 1.17 million registered Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSMEs) and nearly 4.5 million micro-businesses. As the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, he recently presented a proposal to the National Economic Action Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, outlining strategies to enhance the growth of our SME sector. The Cabinet and Government have endorsed this Ministry to spearhead these efforts, including the formulation of pertinent policies, he said.


“To foster the development of SMEs in our nation, we will seek additional input and recommendations during the formulation of the 2024 budget, particularly for the 13th Malaysia Plan spanning from 2026 to 2030,” he said adding that this necessitates ongoing collaboration among the Ministry, industry stakeholders, and implementing bodies.


He stressed that his Ministry oversee various agencies, such as Bank Rakyat, SME Bank, SME Corp, Tekun Nasional, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia, Institute Koperasi Malaysia, UDA Holdings, Pernas, Yayasan Bank Rakyat, and the University of Entrepreneurship and Cooperatives Malaysia.


He shared that upon assuming office in December 2022, he prioritised directing more attention towards East Malaysia, specifically Sabah and Sarawak. Consequently, he appointed representatives from Sabah to key agencies, foundations, and universities under his jurisdiction to ensure that initiatives, programmes, and financial support are extended to Sabah and Sarawak, akin to the benefits enjoyed by the Peninsula.


This inclusive approach encompasses SME Corp Malaysia and the agency responsible for MSME development in Sabah, he stated, adding that after consulting with the Prime Minister, he appointed Tan Sri Bernard Dompok as the Chairman of SME Corp and Datuk Ladislaus Maluda as a member of the Board of Directors in SME Corp, which had never been done before.


Stressing on the success of entrepreneurs, he said he introduced the BEEP Plus scheme for Sabah and Sarawak last year, and he was quite pleased to notice that it surpassed its targets. The same goes for the cooperative sector.


“According to our 2025 policy, we are expected to achieve a turnover of RM60 billion, and with our hard work in 2023, we achieved this target two years ahead of schedule, reaching a turnover of RM64 billion. I encourage business associations, including KCCI, to focus on building micro entrepreneurs in rural areas and organising them as cooperatives.”


The Ministry provides significant funding and training programmes for cooperatives. We have already surpassed two years, and we have three more years in this Ministry. We do not know what will happen in the future, but as long as I am in this Ministry, I hope that the policies, programmes, and budget allocations that I initiate will reach Sabah,” he said.


“The achievements motivate me to allocate additional resources to further support entrepreneurs in these regions. Historically, the participation in SME Corp and other agencies was predominantly from Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Dayak business councils.”


“I am committed to ensuring that the voices of indigenous people in Sabah, the Momogun, are also represented. To address this, Datuk Ladislaus, representing small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Sabah, has been appointed to SME Corp. It is my aspiration that all policies, initiatives, and programmes implemented by SME Corp will effectively reach entrepreneurs in Sabah.”


“Recently, we awarded grants to 800 young entrepreneurs, with Sabah having the highest number of beneficiaries. This underscores our dedication to prioritise the development of MSMEs in line with the Ministry's objectives. Additionally, I oversee the franchise industry, which boasts approximately 1,200 registered franchise brands, products, and services in our country. I aim for this sector to become a preferred choice for entrepreneurs in Sabah.”


“Recent I awarded grants to 800 young entrepreneurs, with Sabah having the highest number of beneficiaries. This underscores our dedication to prioritizing the development of MSMEs in line with the Ministry's objectives. Additionally, I oversee the franchise industry, which boasts approximately 1,200 registered franchise brands, products, and services in our country. I aim for this sector to become a preferred choice for entrepreneurs in Sabah.”


He also stressed that launching a business via a franchise is less challenging compared to creating an entirely new product or brand. Additionally, they offer ample financial support to franchise entrepreneurs, and the registration process has been streamlined. This streamlined approach also applies to the cooperative sector.


Touching on the Penampang development plan put forth by KCCI, it has served as a valuable reference for him in launching new initiatives and KCCI's recommendations for rural entrepreneurship development and enhancing the tourism sector were carefully considered and subsequently presented to the Ministry, despite our prior lack of involvement in rural projects.


“Encouraged by KCCI's proactive approach, I engaged in discussions with the Prime Minister, resulting in the allocation of RM20 million this year towards the development of rural tourism. The Rural Market Penampang, as proposed by entrepreneurs, have been identified for this purpose. Furthermore, recent efforts have seen the introduction of special incentives for the tourism industry, with a dedicated RM2 million set aside for this purpose,” he said.


“I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to support companies and cooperatives engaged in the tourism sector by 2026,” he said, and he will kick off in Sabah with the distribution of incentives starting on June 1st in Kadamaian, where he will convene all the cooperatives operating in Sabah.


“Similarly, eligible companies under SME Bank can benefit from a dedicated financing scheme of RM60 million specifically tailored for those in the tourism industry. All Chambers of Commerce are also encouraged to leverage these incentives for their members' advantage.”


“With two years already behind us and three more ahead within this Ministry, the future remains uncertain. However, during my tenure in this Ministry, I am committed to ensuring that the policies, programmes, and budget allocations I spearhead will effectively benefit Sabah,” he said.


Ewon, who is also the Penampang Member of Parliament was bestowed a life member of KCCI.


Present during the event were Datuk Ladislaus Maluda KCCI President and other notables.

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