Over RM1.6 bln allocation to empower enterpreneurs, cooperatives in Sabah, Sarawak – Ewon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 (Bernama) — The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry (KUSKOP) has disbursed over RM1.6 billion to implement various programmes for entrepreneurs and cooperatives in Sabah and Sarawak last year.

Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick said that of this amount, RM953.9 million was allocated for Sabah and RM731.2 million for Sarawak.

Among the programmes implemented was the Bumiputera Enterprise Enhancement Programme (BEEP) Plus Sabah and Sarawak by SME Corp, which approved grants totalling RM9.4 million for 112 micro-entrepreneurs.

“From 2021 until May 31 this year, SME Corp also implemented the Tunas Usahawan Belia Bumiputera (TUBE) programme in Sabah and Sarawak, which benefitted 1,171 young entrepreneurs with grants amounting to RM17.1 million.

“During the same period, the Business Development Programme for Micro-Entrepreneurs (BizME) by SME Corp has benefited 977 participants in Sabah and 372 participants in Sarawak, each involving allocations of RM1.64 million and RM1.01 million, respectively,” he said during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Muslimin Yahaya (PN-Sungai Besar) regarding the ministry’s initiatives in helping small-sized entrepreneurs, especially those among B40 and youth entrepreneurs in the interior and rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak.

According to Ewon, other programmes include the Tamu Entrepreneur Financing Scheme under Tekun Nasional involving 505 hawkers and small traders in Sabah and Sarawak with financing amounting to RM2.2 million.

“In 2023, Tekun Nasional also disbursed financing totalling RM1.039 million to 75 young entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak under the Youth Entrepreneur Financing Scheme. Additionally, the Ikhtiar i-MUDA Scheme by Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia benefited 9,894 entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak with financing worth RM55.4 million from January to May 2024.

“The National Entrepreneurship Institute (INSKEN) has also opened branch offices in Sabah on May 25, 2023, and Sarawak on Oct 1, 2023. Since then, INSKEN has implemented 52 programmes involving 1,773 entrepreneurs in both states,” he said.

Ewon noted that the iTekad Programme implemented by SME Bank with a grant allocation of RM300,000 has benefited 60 B40 entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak, while iTEKAD Bank Rakyat with an allocation of RM345,000 benefited 69 B40 entrepreneurs in the two states.

He said the ministry also conducted the New Gen Entrepreneurs Online Bootcamp (N-GENE), Graduate Capacity and Employability (GRACE) programme for TVET graduates and the Student-preneur and Biz Apprenticeship (SPACE) programme under the Professional Training and Education For Growing Entrepreneurs (Protege), benefiting 48 entrepreneurs.

It also provided commercialisation and marketing platforms through exhibitions and product sales to local entrepreneurs via the One District One Industry Showcase (SDSI) in Sabah and Sarawak.

“KUSKOP has also initiated the Tamu Desa project for building and upgrading business space and entrepreneurship infrastructure in rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak this year, involving an allocation of RM9 million for Phase 1, which includes new construction or upgrading of 36 sites in Sabah and 13 in Sarawak,” he added.