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SME Bank Allocates RM200m Fund for Women Entrepreneurs

news001 big KUALA LUMPUR: SME Bank has allocated an initial RM200 million for its newly-launched Women Entrepreneur Financing Programme (WEP) fund, tailored for women entrepreneurs.

Group managing director Datuk Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus said the financing would be tied together with capacity building and the allocation would be increased depending on the demand and needs from capable young women entrepreneurs.

"And this capacity building role will be played by our fully-owned subsidiary, the Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research (Cedar)," he told a press conference after the launch by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Mohd Radzif said the WEP aims to provide assistance to women entrepreneurs in the small and medium-sized category to finance their business expansion. The financing is for between RM500,000 and RM2.5 million, with margin of financing for working capital of up to 100% except for renovation, and up to 90% for business assets. The event, held to commemorate the bank's 10th anniversary, saw the launch of its mobile and internet banking application and the ACE magazine published by Cedar, as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Cedar and the Malaysian Association of Asean Young Entrepreneurs (MAAYE).

Going forward, Mohd Radzif said the bank intends to grow its portfolio by up to 7% this year and strengthen the accounts under its management by ensuring the enterprises under its stable are really self-sustaining, with Cedar playing a bigger role in this area.

The bank also aims to become a fully-fledged Islamic financial provider with adequate infrastructure to support the government's aspiration of making Malaysia an International Islamic Financial Centre, he said.

SME Bank's Islamic financing portfolio is now in the region of RM4 billion compared to RM2.3 billion when it first started in May 2012, he said. – Bernama

Published in the Sun Daily, 2 April 2015