KUALA LUMPUR: 2 November 2021– The participants of SME Bank’s entrepreneur development programs for Asnaf and B40, namely the Penjana [email protected] Bank Program and the ISHRAF Program, have shown positive results when 240 participants from these two programs recorded sales revenue of RM5.15 million. Both of the programs were also recently accorded with international recognition from the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) during its 44th annual meeting held virtually on 28 October 2021.
Group President/Chief Executive Officer SME Bank, Aria Putera Ismail said, “The international recognition is a boost for us to continue organizing various corporate responsibility programs that provide added value for the development of the country's SME sector, especially during this economic recovery period. Through Penjana [email protected] Bank, the Bank focuses on assisting the informal and micro entrepreneurs comprising the disabled, single mothers and B40 categories to scale up their business to a higher level. As for the ISHRAF Program, the main objective is to develop the business of the existing Asnaf entrepreneurs and improve their socio-economic status from being a zakat recipient to zakat payer.”
Aria added, “The results of the Penjana [email protected] Bank Program can be seen when 137 participants recorded total accumulated income of RM4.03 million (an increase of 73.52%); 220 participants already owned the .biz.my business domain through Penjana [email protected] Bank; 150 participants successfully completed their business website during the program and 178 participants switched to digital accounting system.”
With a fund amounting RM3.0 million allocated by MEDAC, a total of 220 entrepreneurs attended classes on digital marketing, e-commerce and copy writing for online marketing. Participants were required to complete at least 90% of the assignments and must register their company with SSM, if they have not done so. Participants who meet all these requirements then received a grant amounting RM10,000 each, attended the business development classes as well as the expenditure of the grant money were monitored to ensure the key performance indicators set at the beginning of the program were achieved. Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn. Bhd. (CEDAR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SME Bank, was appointed as the business coach for the program.
For the ISHRAF Program, 20 Asnaf and B40 entrepreneurs registered with the Lembaga Zakat Selangor were selected to participate in a structured entrepreneur development program and were given working capital to improve their business performance. This early preparation indirectly helped the participants to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic where the Asnaf and B40 entrepreneurs were among the first to be severely affected.
Aria said, “The impact of the ISHRAF Program was very positive where the participants not only recorded total accumulated sales of RM1.12 million in nine (9) months but at the same time also improved their socio-economic status. Looking at the success of this program, SME Bank will continue with the ISHRAF 2.0 Program which will be launched at the end of this year.”
Both SME Bank initiatives have won two (2) Merit Awards for Outstanding Development Project for the ISHRAF Program and Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Project for the Penjana [email protected] Bank Program. For more information on SME Bank’s financial assistance and entrepreneur development programs, please visit the Bank’s website www.smebank.com.my and SME Bank's official Facebook.