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KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, today urged women in key decision-making positions in the country to put forth plans that would facilitate the creation of women business game changers.
She hoped to see more game changers -- those who innovate to significantly change the way business is done or even create a new industry -- emerge locally and globally in the near future.
"Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lakshmi Mittal and Walt Disney are some of the names that come to mind when we think of game changers. These people have transformed the global business landscape and even our way of life.
"What strikes me the most is that nearly all of these game changers are men. So, we must ask ourselves, as business leaders and decision makers in our respective fields, whether we have done our fullest to help create women business game changers," she said.
Rosmah said this in her keynote address at the Second Annual Women in Leadership Forum Asia here today. The event was attended by about 250 most powerful Asian businesswomen.
Elaborating, Rosmah said women must have global reach and extensive networking to become game changers.
"A study conducted by the Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research Team in 2008 showed that the use of networks and interpersonal relationships by women-led businesses is necessary to catalyse business development and growth.
"Our network, however, must extend beyond the women fraternity. We need to network internationally with leading movers and shakers. Even if we run a small and thriving SME (small and medium enterprise), it's the confidence and capability we exude in our own business that will attract the confidence of others, especially investors," she said.
Rosmah, who is the patron of the forum, said the biggest growth sectors for women entrepreneurs were wholesale trade, healthcare services, entertainment and recreation as well as professional, scientific and technical services.
In encouraging women to rise to the apex of business and become game changers, she cited the example of South Korea's Sung-Joo Kim who started small and now owned 200 retail stores with a cumulative annual turnover to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rosmah noted that to grow and sustain the business, game changers must have the necessary requirements such as adequate capital, technological competency and business skills.
"Consequently, consistent, calibrated and well-organised growth of business will ultimately lead to sustainable success. Even if we start small, what's most important is the sustainability and purpose of our business.
"It must withstand market and technological vagaries in order to remain competitive," she said.
She also urged spouses and family members to continue extending their support and encouragement to allow women to be successful in their chosen field.
"Many successful women credit their accomplishments to their appreciative and supportive spouses and family members. This support is crucial, and is the enabling factor for them to continue and excel in their business," she said. -- BERNAMA