(This Post is Brought to You by MATRADE)
Girl power is by no means an idea chanted by female pop bands; it has real potential in all manner of industries as women today, armed with their talents and skills, can make a huge difference to the success or failure of certain sectors, and will be a vital component in nudging Malaysia along the road to development.
As of 2011, the gender divide in the country was roughly 50/50, and with more than 14 million females residing and building their lives in Malaysia, it is clear that women are a force to be reckoned with. In recent years, more and more women have turned their hand to business, and what often starts as a small, home-based project can blossom into a large, thriving company that delivers all manner of products to a wide, receptive audience.
It is easy to assume that women entrepreneurs tend to stick to traditionally “female” areas of industry such as crafts and handicrafts, textiles, food, and education, but times are changing. Women today are turning their hand – often successfully – to all manner of industries including construction and building materials, oil and gas, radar surveillance equipment, and even car parts production to name just a few.
MATRADE, which is itself headed by an inspiring female CEO in the form of Dr. Wong Lai Sum, works continually to promote Malaysian trade and industry, and it was board member Dato’ Hazimah Zainuddin who initiated the idea of promoting Malaysian women and their efforts in business. It seemed clear that MATRADE had a responsibility to ease the process of becoming exporters, assisting these women in taking the next step in the expansion of their businesses.
As MATRADE is committed to promoting trade activities and helping get Malaysian products and services on the international trading scene, it had just as much to gain as their inspirational women collaborators by offering guidance, support, and a platform from which to spread the nature of their businesses and the products on offer.
In order to achieve this, MATRADE unveiled a brand new directory that will serve as a superb guide to the women-run businesses that have products and services available for export, to help international importers understand the scope and breadth of the products on offer. MATRADE already has a good track record of publishing directories – five were published last year, with a further seven planned for this year – but the female-focused version is a unique way to celebrate the many unsung heroes of the business world.
The Malaysia Women in Export Directory was launched on 3 October and provides a comprehensive directory of 172 women-owned companies that have penetrated international markets in an easy-to-follow format that lists companies alphabetically, by name, product, and brand names.
“Malaysian women today have gained acceptance as a formidable force in all spheres of national development,” says Dr. Wong, in her foreword printed inside the book. “This publication is recognition of the excellence of Malaysian women in the export business.”
When the book was launched at a special event at the MATRADE building, YB Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, said: “I believe this will be of great use to international buyers and importers sourcing for various types of products and services produced by women entrepreneurs,” he said in speech made to the gathered dignitaries and guests as the new book was unveiled. “It is my hope that more women entrepreneurs will step forward to participate in the arena of international trade.”
MATRADE by no means play down the difficulty of achieving success in the export market, and the introduction to the book highlights that “successful exporting is a business in itself,” and that “sustainability and competitiveness” as well as “adaptability” are key for any businesses hoping to thrive. Thankfully, MATRADE is on hand to offer assistance in these tricky area to women making the plunge with their own companies, while this new directory will ensure that the weighty task of promotion and networking is eased.
Women are set to play a major part in the development of the nation through trade and industry, and it is uplifting to see their efforts being recognised and encouraged by MATRADE.
The Malaysia Women in Export Directory is available at the MATRADE headquarters on
Jalan Khidmat Usaha, off Jalan Duta,
50480 Kuala Lumpur; 03.6207 7077;
www.matrade.gov.my; [email protected].
Source: Senses of Malaysia Nov-Dec 2012
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