The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) hopes to increase the number of women exporters by 10 per cent by 2020 through several initiatives including the Women Exporters Development Programme and eTRADE. Chairman Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad said women exporters accounted for only 14 per cent of the 19,000 Malaysian companies registered with MATRADE as of March 2017.
“MATRADE takes efforts to conduct continuous programmes especially for women entrepreneurs. We also collaborate with associations alike to transfer information to members of such programmes,” she told reporters at MATRADE’s Women Entrepreneurs Guidance Programme in Kuala Lumpur, adding that it also worked with SME Corporation Malaysia and the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department. She identified financing and certification as among the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.
The Women Exporters Development Programme, MATRADE’s handholding programme for three years, has facilitated some 120 companies to penetrate international markets, mostly from the food and beverage, lifestyle and information technology sectors. Datuk Dr Noraini said 11 companies, which successfully generated RM132.33 million in export sales, were absorbed into the programme last year. Twelve more were expected to come on board this year.
Currently, there are 866 women entrepreneurs from 152 companies participating in the eTRADE programme, using the e-commerce platform. “The target is to reach 1,000 women entrepreneurs this year,” she added.