Empowering women via high-impact entrepreneur programme

Last update: 22/12/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 -- Thanks to its successful track record in empowering women, non-governmental organisation, Women of Will (WoW) has embarked on an Entrepreneur Development Programme aimed at uplifting the socio-economic mobility of women in the B40 group via diverse business activities.

WoW has been granted the status of a Social Purpose Organisation (SPO) on the the Social Impact Exchange (SIX), Malaysia's first pay-for-impact exchange that aims to channel untapped corporate resources into high social impact projects.

WoW president, Datin Goh Suet Lan, said the programme's main thrust is to recruit and help women who are committed to change themselves, their socio-economic status, that of their families and in the process contribute to society.

A move very much in line with the government's zest to help those in the B40 income category, she said it teaches skills in diverse areas such as financial literacy, marketing, e-communication, e-literacy, direct marketing, baking and basic skills such as sewing.

"We put all the efforts into skills training and building the business, so that at the end of the day, they are financially sustainable and able to provide better lives for their children," she told Bernama.

WoW is a one of the 19 SPOs listed on SIX which is run by Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), a statutory body under the Prime Minister's Department created to jump-start wealth creation through knowledge, technology and innovation.

AIM acts as the facilitator between the public, private and social sectors in constructing new and creative ways to develop this financing model for social service delivery.

"It is truly a badge of honour to be recognised for our ability to implement programmes which have impact on social economic mobility," said Goh.

Stressing that WoW is not just about giving financing but also providing the support personally for the ladies to grow, she said: "We recruit the right women for the job, and are able to grow, you have the dignity to do things because you are not surviving on hand-outs but have earned it."

"It is your right because you worked hard for it and everything else comes with that, such as the confidence in communication, in reaching out to the broader market, communicating with your family and the rest of the community," she said.

By taking responsibility for this programme, WoW would instill values for women to appreciate the value of financial support, learning new skills sets, which they would put into practice to start small businesses on their own.

"Ultimately, they actually serve as positive role models for their community because once these ladies are successful financially, they do stand taller and prouder, they do contribute back to society," she said.

Since most of the participants are single mothers, WoW caters to individual needs since they undertake multi-tasking, having to balance work, family and children.

However, Goh said a critical component is impact assessment because "there is no point running a programme if you are unable to assess its impact, if you are unable to measure the achievement, and to assess whether or not you have reached your goals and objectives."

So far the one-year programme which ends in May next year and funded by YTL Corporation has garnered good feedback from the 50 single mothers in the B40 category.  The women are from four low-cost flats here -- Sri Kota, Taman Mulia, Desa Tun Razak and Raya Permai.

Most of them are running food business and have  shown marked progress based on the opportunity to grow small businesses and earn an income.

-- BERNAMA