PUTRAJAYA: Fifty per cent of the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (Tekun Nasional) of RM500 million will be allocated for female entrepreneurs as part of Women Empowerment Year.
Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the allocation was to help women entrepreneurs to start or expand their businesses.
“As announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, 2018 is the Year to Empower Women. Besides setting a 30 per cent target of decision-making roles to be held by women, another important aspect is to encourage women to be financially-independent.
“For instance, there are many cases of wives being abandoned by husbands who are the sole breadwinner in the household, or single mothers who are struggling to build a better life. Empowerment means giving someone the ability to control their life and be economically-independent.
“So the ministry has agreed to give financial assistance of RM250 million from the RM500 million allocation, to female entrepreneurs,” he told reporters after launching the Tekun Pay mobile app, here, today.
Also present were Shabery’s deputy Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Tekun Nasional chairman Datuk Norazita Abdul Rahman.
During the tabling of the 2018 Budget, Najib announced an allocation of RM500 million to Tekun Nasional to assist small-scale entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.
Shabery said studies showed that women entrepreneurs under the Tekun Nasional scheme were more consistent in repaying loans than men.
“This is another contributing factor to why we agreed to allocate 50 per cent of the fund to women entrepreneurs. They are highly committed to repaying their (loans under the) scheme,” he added.
On the Tekun Pay mobile app, Shabery said entrepreneurs now had the ability to repay loans at their fingertips.
He said the app was developed to increase integrity and ensure that the transaction is carried out in a transparent manner.
“The borrowers now no longer need to go to Tekun Nasional offices and banks to settle their payment. They can use the app to check their balance, view their repayment schedule and make payments.
“Not only does this make the transaction easier, it is also to ensure transparency and integrity. When they use the app, every transaction is recorded in the system. We will continuously upgrade and improve the app from time to time,” he said.
Shabery said Tekun Nasional was also planning to develop a system for prospective small-scale entrepreneurs to make application for the financing scheme.
“We want to emulate other countries where they can apply for the scheme via a system instead of going to Tekun Nasional offices. For instance in China, they have a system where they can check record if the prospective entrepreneur is eligible for a financial scheme or not.
“It takes them only 15 to 30 minutes to approve the application. We hope we can build such system too,” he said.