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Businesswomen Urged To Unite Through Associations | 18/05/2010
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KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 2010 (Bernama) -- Malaysians, especially businesswomen have been strongly urged to unite through existing or new industry associations to better represent their common interests, share information and provide mentoring to budding women entrepreneurs.

Speaking at a luncheon, on the topic of "Capitalising Women's Potentials in Business" at the pre forum of the Sixth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) here today, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said it was also time to set up a national Women's Chamber of Commerce in every country.

"This is to ensure that our voices can be better heard especially under the New Economic Model (NEM) in Malaysia and indeed become part of the process of transformation in all countries for the benefit of women in business," the Prime Minister's wife said.

Also present at the event were Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman, the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, WIEF Businesswomen Network Chairman Datuk Dr Norraesah Mohamad and former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz who is also a panelist in the WIEF Businesswomen Forum.

Rosmah said businesswomen should stand together as one to assure that women's potentials in business are fully capitalised.

"Working together through business associations of women-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs are able to receive mutual support, share information, strengthen their business networking, undertake advocacy with governments and within the business community."

She said women with more experience should also guide others towards success.

"In helping them to rise to the top of corporations and become successful entrepreneurs, we need to keep on the pulse of new knowledge, increase access to education and training, mentoring and counseling, financing, marketing and business networks."

Rosmah said under the NEM, women in business and women entrepreneurs will have to unlearn, re-learn and retrain in order to stay competitive.

"Of paramount importance is access to quality business and management training and mentoring, beyond the micro and small scale business levels. This will help them gain new skills, confidence and opportunities to improve and expand their businesses."

They should also engage the wider economy and seek to expand to regional markets like Asean countries, China, India and the Muslim world.

"As the demand grows for more sophisticated goods and services from our collective population, women in business should exploit such market opportunities by partnering with their regional counterparts or beyond.

"Women still face deep rooted gender bias, their meticulousness and attention to detail are often misunderstood and labeled as being pushy and fussy. This is manifested in their greater difficulty in accessing capital, technology, contracts and markets as compared to their male counterparts.

"Another critical factor is access to finance, beyond the micro loans to meet their needs as entrepreneurs. However, banks, at times, are reluctant to approve sizeable loans to women in business. This state of affairs should not continue and must be corrected," she said.

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