Targeted assistance timely as many homemakers have joined the online business bandwagon
PETALING JAYA: The grievances of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) run by women entrepreneurs are heard by the government.
Women entrepreneurs have welcomed various women empowerment programmes announced by the government in Budget 2022, including MyKasih Capital Programme, the Women Leadership Foundation, funding for women entrepreneurs through BSN, Agrobank, the DANANITA programme under MARA and TEKUNITA under TEKUN.
Purple Love Bakery founder Sarah Shazlin Abd Aziz, 36, said the targeted assistance for women is timely as many homemakers have joined the online business bandwagon.
“Women want to help generate income for the family as their husbands were laid off or forced to take salary cuts due to the Covid-19 pandemic. My husband is in the hospitality sector, my family was affected by the pandemic.
“These targeted initiatives have been very helpful for me and my family, especially during the pandemic. I will use the financial aid to expand my business. There is demand and regular customers but I do not have enough funds to upgrade my baking and storage to cater to more customers. I would like to buy industrial grade baking equipment to increase my production,” she told SunBiz.
The Kuala Lumpur-based baker said her most popular item is the Biscoff cheesecake for which she receives regular orders every week.
“With the current equipment, I produce 22 pieces of it every day but I do not have a proper fridge and oven to store and bake more. With the aid, I can expand and upgrade my business and I can buy in bulk so the cost of operation can be reduced,” she said.
Purple Love Bakery co-founder Nurul Aliza Abd Aziz, 37, said it is heartening to see the government put in so much effort into women empowerment programmes for small businesses to listed companies.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of doing business has increased, at least for us, and we feel the pinch as the prices of ingredients have surged. We are home-based bakers so we cannot afford to buy in bulk. We also do not want to increase the prices of our cakes and pastries.
“The online bakery business is very competitive now as people shift to online businesses. Budget 2022’s stimulation packages are great because they are targeted. For example, for women, especially the youth, leadership training and entrepreneurship programmes are timely as people lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” Nurul Aliza said.
The siblings were from the corporate sector before venturing into the cake and pastry business in 2017. After obtaining better equipment and a larger kitchen, they plan to boost sales through a business partnership with resellers.
Kak Wan Products Sdn Bhd manager Siti Hajar Zulqarnain, 33, said her business could not open for three months during MCO 1.0 last year and during the full lockdown this year. Her dipping-sauce business in Machang, Kelantan, stabilised slowly after the economy started reopening recently.
“During the lockdown, many factories were closed and, thus, we could not get the raw materials to produce the sauces. With the new financial aid, we plan to change our manually operated machines to automatic ones to increase production.
“Currently, the factory produces 80 cartons a day. When the production is automated, we can increase it to 150 cartons. Transforming to auto operation is expensive for small businesses as we do not have the funds to do that.
“It is good that the government provides these initiatives so we can upgrade our business. We will expand our storage space so we can store more finished goods and raw materials,” Siti Hajar said.
Kak Wan was founded in 2006 by Siti Hajar’s mother, Wan Noraizah Wan Ab Rahman, 61. The business started with five employees. Currently, there are 12 employees in management and production. It started to export its products to Brunei last year.
“We just started to sell online last year due to Covid-19, but we only sell on one e-commerce platform. The online business training and empowerment programmes by the government will be instrumental to us to take the business further,” Siti Hajar said.
Budget 2022 has allocated RM230 million to support women entrepreneurs, particularly those affected by Covid-19 as well as to expand their business activities, through, among others, the DANANITA programme under MARA and TEKUNITA under TEKUN.
More information will be provided on how to apply for these schemes. Those interested can get updated from https://budget.mof.gov.my/manfaat/