On the Rise: Malaysian Women Band Together in Business
Going on nine years and fast growing with a focus on technology adoption, the Women Entrepreneur Network Association (WENA) of Malaysia is taking a new approach by forming industry-based focus groups in five sectors: ICT, Retail and Services, Food, Education, and Health, Beauty and Wellness.
“We want women to look at their business as an industry and join forces to become stronger as a whole,” said WENA President, Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin. “The objectives of the focus groups are to look at the challenges of each respective industry and identify what WENA can do to advocate to government, NGOs and corporations. We want to provide more proactive activities in WENA besides our traditional networking platform.”
In addition to her leadership at WENA, Nuraizah is Managing Director at Madcat World, a company in the mobile space that produces productivity tools that are solely focused on Islamic content creation and distribution. She joined WENA in 2006 when she began her business and was seeking a good place to network and market her own products and services. It was the perfect fit.
WENA works to help its women members develop entrepreneurial and professional skills, attain visibility and acknowledgement in the business world, and supports members businesses. The organization provides skills training courses, tapping into their own member-base for expertise, as well as sourcing other experts.
According to Nuraizah, Malaysia is seeing a big rise in women-owned businesses, an encouraging trend. “The last decade saw highly educated women leaving the corporate life to spend more time raising children and on the side and having online businesses. Now younger women, some fresh out of college, are leveraging their creativity and design skills to come up with fashion related products and services. Now women are making the choice to start their own businesses.”
WENA has stepped out to be a strong voice in the business arena of Malaysia, as well as in shaping government policies that will provide women with more opportunities to advance and thrive in their careers. There is a lot of hope as to where the current positive trends will lead to in the future.
“I hope that women can pull their resources, look for ways to work together and leverage their strengths,” said Nuraizah. “I hope to see women own and manage bigger businesses and be able to compete globally.”
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