31 per cent of small-and-medium enterprises in Malaysia which are still unregistered with SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) are losing out on many opportunities and assistance programmes provided by the agency. Chief Executive Officer of SME Corp Datuk Hafsah Hashim said SMEs must register with the agency should they wish to further develop their businesses and remain competitive.

Speaking after opening a Women Entrepreneur Networking Programming, Hafsah said, “They possess a business license but they are unfortunately unregistered with SME Corp.”

As a result, she said SME Corp is unable to gauge their performance and extend possible technical or financial help to them.

According to Hafsah, SME Corp is coming up with special incentives which she hopes the government will consider and implement by next year. She added that the agency, in cooperation with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, will soon undertake a registration exercise for companies that are still unregistered.

Hafsah said women entrepreneurs were more aggressive now, judging from the 127,091 enterprises they owned compared to 82,911 companies they operated seven years ago, in 2006.

The 2011 Economic Census carried out by the Statistics Department revealed that 91.7 per cent or 116,542 women-owned enterprises were operating in the services sector, with seven per cent or 8,896 companies in the manufacturing sector.

Hafsah said the target was for women entrepreneurs to account for 30 per cent of operating companies by 2020.