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Bridging the Gap: SME Bank Allocates RM1.24 Million to Micro-Entrepreneurs through SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti Programme

16 November 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: 16 November 2023 – SME Bank (“the Bank”) has allocated RM1.24 million worth of facilitation funds to 249 participants of the SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti Programme, the Bank’s corporate responsibility program which is strategically crafted to primarily bridge the opportunity gap creating a sustainable economic impact on the livelihoods of B40 entrepreneurs. The programme offers participants the necessary skills, tools and support required to establish and maintain their businesses successfully.

Minister of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development (MECD), YB Datuk Ewon Benedick said, “The SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti have had a great impact to strengthen and develop of the target group's businesses, not only during the pandemic, but also moving forward. Initiatives like this also in line with MECD's mission to create a holistic and conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem to support the country’s inclusive, balanced and sustainable socio-economic development.”

“The Government fully supports this programme as it serves as a platform to spark a positive transformation and acts as a catalyst to ensure business resilience for the participants. Conclusively, this success plays an important role in elevating the economic prosperity of the local community,” added YB Ewon.

SME Bank Group President/Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Wira (Dr.) Aria Putera Ismail commented, “This program started as a quick response to help MSME entrepreneurs during the pandemic in back in 2020. Fast forward today, the SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti has already benefited more than 700 B40 micro-entrepreneurs and more than RM4.6 million have been allocated for the purpose of facilitation funds and entrepreneurial coaching programmes”.

Datuk Wira Aria said, “Our commitment revolves around promoting inclusive economic growth, and the SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti programme is specifically designed to empower low-income micro-entrepreneurs, guiding them towards achieving financial resilience. Therefore, the programme also focuses on the aspect of capacity development and provides guidance on how to achieve economic sustainability through business coaching, continuous monitoring, and as well as facilitation funds.”

The Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn. Bhd. (CEDAR), a wholly owned subsidiary of SME Bank was appointed as the Programme's designated business coach. CEDAR has diligently conducted a comprehensive training program that covers essential modules, including digital marketing, accounting systems, and the efficient utilisation of payment gateways, all geared toward enhancing business operations and financial management.

Four key objectives have been identified to provide participants with the essential tools and knowledge necessary for sustainable business success. These include streamlining the business registration process, followed by the implementation of digital marketing strategies and modern accounting systems, as well as the integration of payment gateways to optimise business operations. Participants who successfully meet these criteria and stay in the focus group will qualify for a facilitation fund amounting to RM5,000 each.

At the beginning of 2023, the SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti was officially acknowledged as one of the iTEKAD initiatives supported by Bank Negara Malaysia. iTEKAD represents a social finance program in which financial institutions collaborate to provide seed capital, microfinancing, and structured training to empower micro-entrepreneurs.

The ceremony celebrated the Top 10 participants of the SME Bank iTEKAD Penjana Komuniti, witnessed by YB Datuk Ewon Benedick, Minister of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development (MECD). To explore further the SME Bank's extensive array of initiatives and financial assistance programs, please visit the official SME Bank website at www.smebank.com.my or connect with us through our official social media platforms.