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THE Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC)’s third Daya eUsahawan event on Oct 31 celebrated the success of outstanding eUsahawan performers and brought together entrepreneurs from the private and government bodies for a two-day conference on digital business.
The eUsahwan programme, launched in 2015, is aimed at micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. Through the programme, MDEC aims to inspire and grow digital entrepreneurship among the Malaysian public and enable people to obtain alternative means of income through digital platforms.
The programme is also supportive of the planned Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) as a means to enable the public to participate in international e-commerce.
Malaysia’s Budget 2018 has allocated RM100 million (US$24 million) for the eUsahawan and eRezeki (another digital training course) programmes, indicating the government’s continuing intention to ensure that the country’s digital economy is inclusive for all levels of society, especially those on the lower end of the economic scale.
The programme is divided into two paths – the eUsahawan Muda for entrepreneurs undergoing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and eUsahawan Mikro for micro-entrepreneurs.
The number of participants has grown significantly since the programme’s inception, though it did drop last year; there were 3, 108 participants in 2015, 51,303 last year and 45,697 this year.
“We are aiming for 100,000 participants next year, the same amount we have had in the last three years together,” said MDEC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood.
The programme has so far trained a little more than 100,000 participants altogether, with about RM136 million (US$32 million) of sales reported from these participants since then.
The eUsahawan programme has been accessible online through the Portal eUsahawan since July this year.
The portal provides access to entrepreneurship skills classes and offers intensive courses on different levels intended to teach entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses in the digital world.
Participants in the online courses are rated at every level of the course and are given a certificate of achievement once they complete all levels of training. The courses are free, offered in two languages – English and Bahasa Malaysia – and can be accessed by all Malaysians.
“The development of digital technology is one of the catalysts for businesses to grow globally. Therefore, the need for a comprehensive course on managing an online business is important,” said Yasmin.
She added that the online courses open up more opportunities for rural participants and those who are unable to attend physical classes because of time, distance and cost, to continue to grow into global entrepreneurs.
MDEC is also pushing the integration of digital entrepreneurship knowledge into the official curricula of higher education institutions. It has been working with a number of stakeholders this year to strengthen the eUsahawan programme and reach more participants, including Perbadanan Hal Ehwal Bekas Angkatan Tentera (The Corporation of Ex-Servicemen of the Armed Forces), Kami Anak Felda, and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.
MDEC is further collaborating with Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd through the latter’s Level-up programme was created for entrepreneurs with high potential to take their businesses to the next growth stage.
The Daya eUsahawan event this year celebrated the micro-entrepreneurs and TVET students who were successful in the programme and in increasing their incomes in less than a year.
About 4,000 eUsahawan participants from across Malaysia were present at the event, mostly TVET students from the eUsahawan Muda programme.
Yasmin said that MDEC is working hard to ensure these entrepreneurs as well as SMEs are growing enough to be ready for international export, though she does not believe that enough of these businesses are ready yet.
“That’s why we are stepping up the efforts to ready them. Whether we are doing enough, only time will tell, but it’s a 100% effort on our part to help them.”
She added that entrepreneurs should also step up their game as they are the ones who will determine how far they can go with their businesses. “I am encouraged by our progress. We have exceeded our target at the first bat, so that is a good sign,” said Yasmin.
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