KUALA LUMPUR: The challenges that women entrepreneurs have had to face in the wake of the ongoing pandemic are unprecedented.
Recognising the contribution and in support of these women entrepreneurs, the government has allocated RM95 million during the 2021 Budget to empower women entrepreneurs, which is a testament that they will continue to be a formidable economic force for the nation.
It will also further help to strengthen their involvement in business and harness their potential to remain competitive.
In conjunction with International Women's Day, three women entrepreneurs namely Enya Malaysia, Hijab for Traveller and Ning Salmah, who are also among the 22 finalists of the Alliance Bank-EcoWorld BizSmart Challenge 2020 (BizSmart Challenge), share their thoughts on challenges in operating and even in earnings when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Malaysia.
Enya Malaysia co-founder Elaine Hong said when MCO happened, the segment that took the most toll was the company's production line.
"We needed to inform all of our customers about the backlog in orders and compensate with a gift for late orders. We managed to pull through and we're very grateful to have them on board till today," she said.
When asked on advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs out there who want to start their own business in this challenging climate, Elaine said newcomers must commit themselves to do their own market research in anything you want to do.
"This gives you a hint of potential demand for the market size that you'd like to introduce your products or services to.
"Find out who your competitors are, and what are the pain points you're able to overcome and if people are ready for this product or service," she said.
BizSmart Challenge, said Elaine, has truly opened the doors by introducing Enya through media collaborations.
"The speed of getting a direct response from third parties is faster, and also talent placement opportunities that we gained from the well-established partnership between universities," she said.
"For Enya we work on quarterly goals, for this quarter we would like to focus on digital ad content and improve our net promoter score. We will also be looking at expanding our team and our sales distribution channel for the entire year of 2021," Elaine said.