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ISHRAF Gives New Hopes to Asnaf & B40 Entrepreneurs

KUALA LUMPUR : 8 February 2021

The ISHRAF program formed by SME Bank, an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) in August 2020 to help asnafs and B40s develop their micro businesses more effectively has begun to show results when the 20 participants have recorded accumulated sales of more than RM258,000.00.

Group President / Chief Executive Officer SME Bank, Aria Putera Ismail said, “With the spread of COVID-19 as well as the effects of natural disasters faced by those involved, the ISHRAF Program is seen as a lifeline to help the continuity of the asnaf and B40 businesses. This effort is also in line with the mandate held by MEDAC and SME Bank to nurture and develop the businesses of the local SMEs.”

Aria Putera said, “The success of Ahmad Humini Alias, an entreprenuer  who started as a car wash service provider and now has expanded his business into carpet cleaning services at offices and private homes is a living proof that nothing is impossible in business. He is now able to employ three employees and has purchased 10 cleaning machines worth RM20,000.00. It all depends on the will and willingness to face challenges positively.”

“The ISHRAF program which applies a hands-on entrepreneurship knowledge method has proven to be successful when participants such as Noor Jannah of Seventh Son’s Resources has successfully improved her financial management accuracy which include the products’ profit margin calculation. She has also sucessfully increase the production capacity of new products that are more innovative and meet the needs of her customers,” Aria added.

The same goes to Rose Madinah Musa from Isrose Dinamik Resources who has started to develop the e-commerce business skills when she sells products through online platforms such as Shopee and Whatsapp. She has also identified potential online dropship agents that allowed her to expand her health products market to social media platforms. For Khairol Amin Tahir from Mcnor Resources, he has managed to increase his average daily sales estimated at between RM400 to RM450 per day in addition to the higher average profit margin for his new products.

As for Norlelawati Bahari from Ella Sunshine Bakery, she used the seed money given to her through ISHRAF program amounting RM10,000.00 to rent a more suitable premises and purchased machines that increase the production capacity of her bakery. More interestingly, Norlelawati also conducts classes on baking breads and cakes to the public. In addition,her company has also successfully received orders for bread supplies for several public hospital canteens.

Aria said, “SME Bank had allocated RM250,000.00 for the ISHRAF program and the implementation has received the support from Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS) and the Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn. Bhd. (CEDAR), a subsidiary of SME Bank, as the entrepreneurial training consultant. This is the Bank’s corporate social responsibility program to help the asnaf and B40 entrepreneurs to improve not only their businesses but also their socioeconomic stature.”

“With the support from LZS, SME Bank had selected 20 asnaf and B40 entrepreneurs to participate in the ISHRAF Program. In-class entrepreneurship training sessions were conducted in September 2020 and they were also given business coaching sessions followed by monitoring by CEDAR for a year to ensure the business goals set at the beginning of the program can be achieved. Seed money amounting between RM8,000 to RM12,000 had been given to each participant according to the needs of their respective businesses,” Aria added.

Moving forward, SME Bank plans to work with other related agencies and zakat centers to maximize the benefits and further strengthen the ISHRAF program.