According to former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, the government has set up good infrastructure and support systems for local entrepreneurs to grow and eschews gender discrimination in its practices.

She said that the current achievements of the small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as the organised nature of women entrepreneurs associations were impressive, adding that despite most SMEs being domestic-oriented, there are a few who go beyond the boundaries.

Speaking after delivering a keynote address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Regional Convention, Rafidah said, “We encourage them to continue with these linkages within the region and to venture into areas that have a future for them in order to grow their businesses.”

Rafidah said SMEs should set up focal points in each country by collating essential business framework and keep themselves abreast with regulations in those countries on a regional basis, as if they understood the systems in the countries, they would not be held back in their business dealings.

Rafidah also placed emphasis on women entrepreneurs distancing from discussing the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs as the marketplace is gender neutral. “The issues that matter in business are competitively priced products, delivery schedules and quality,” she asserted.