OnQ Blog

Pop-up bazaar in Malaysia highlights businesses owned by women entrepreneurs

Nov 19, 2014

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Last week, I attended an inspiring event in Malaysia in support of the female entrepreneurs in our Wireless Reach Mentoring Women in Business Program. Implemented in collaboration with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Tune Talk Mobile Prepaid and the Foundation for Women’s Education and Vocational Training (YPVWM), the program utilizes 3G tablets, wireless connectivity and an online mentoring platform to connect women entrepreneurs in Malaysia with mentors who are highly skilled business professionals from around the world. The program has successfully helped the entrepreneurs build their small businesses, confidence, skills and networks.

I have been the Wireless Reach project manager and a volunteer mentor for this program since its inception in 2012 and I am proud of the program’s impact and growth thus far. I was thrilled to be part of the recent events that celebrated the women’s achievements and generated awareness of their exceptional products and services.

During the 2-day event, project stakeholders hosted a training workshop to help participants improve their business pitches to different audiences, like new clients, and pitching prospective funders for capital.

Attendees were able to use what they learned the very next day during a Pop-Up Bazaar at the Kuala Lumpur central bus terminal and government center that gets a great deal of foot traffic during the day. It was a fantastic spot for generating awareness of the women’s businesses.

This all-day, free event gave more than 60 program mentees and mentee alumni the opportunity to showcase a wide range of their products and services that cover health and wellness, food, beverages, fashion, apparel, arts and crafts.

One of the entrepreneurs I met started selling breakfast foods by the side of the road to support her children after her husband lost his job. Her plan is to start working with a mentor next month on how to generate the capital needed in order to open her own cafe. Her dream is to build a sustainable business and have a stable income for her and her family.

Attendees had fun discovering these new suppliers and service providers, trying out their products, learning about their services, hearing their stories, purchasing unique gifts from them and celebrating the womens’ role in driving Malaysia’s economy.

It was inspiring to see the success the mentees are having and it is always a privilege to celebrate these women entrepreneurs, especially today, on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, the world’s largest celebration of women innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare around the world.

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Erin Gavin

Director, Government Affairs