JELI, November 3 : The East Coast Economic Region (ECER)’s empower programme has already proven its success in creating a new breed of entrepreneurs in Jeli, thanks to the Skills & Entrepreneurship Training provided by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) to the locals under the empower Jeli initiative.

ECERDC has selected 500 participants to undergo a variety of courses under the empower Jeli programme, which include make-up and bridal, bakery and cooking, sewing and fashion, hairdressing, wiring and plumbing, mobile phone repair, computer networking and ICT-related training services.

Some 300 participants who have successfully completed their 15-month training since June 2011 were presented with certificates of completion in a convocation ceremony here today. The event was officiated by the Minister of International Trade and Industry, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, who is also the Member of Parliament for Jeli.

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said Jeli will soon be able to see many small businesses with different specialties taking shape as more empower Jeli “graduates” begin to open their own businesses.

“I am pleased that the successful participants from the empower Jeli programme are motivated to start their own businesses so quickly. I believe that with some creativity, confidence and hard work, they can become successful entrepreneurs in the near future,” he said, adding that the products and services offered by the participants are in line with day-to-day needs of the local populace.

As of September 2012, about 120 empower Jeli participants have already started their own businesses and are earning additional income of up to RM1,500 a month. Over 60 participants have already become entrepreneurs within four months of embarking in their training courses.

Participants of empower Jeli Skills & Entrepreneurship Training programme are expected to either start their own business or find employment within three months from the completion of training, whereby they are expected to generate additional income of between RM800 and RM1,500 per month.

To better equip the participants in handling their own businesses, they were also required to take core subjects such as bookkeeping, basic business, customer relations skills and computer introduction.

Officially launched in July 2011, empower Jeli was introduced by ECERDC with the cooperation of several local training providers such as Fizz Beauty Spa and Wellness, Raudah Manpower Agency, Chef Lanz Recipe Food Industries and Az Zahara Puncak Enterprise.

Dato’ Issace noted that the empower programme is aimed at improving the quality of life and well-being of the local ECER populace and ECERDC hoped that the success of empower Jeli will be replicated by the participants of empower Bachok who commenced their training earlier this year.

The empower programme is part of ECERDC’s social development initiative in ECER which runs parallel with Malaysia’s New Economic Model which aspires to create a high-income society among all Malaysians. Consisting of Academic Skills Training and Skills & Entrepreneurship Training, ’empower’ has already benefitted 10,300 participants since 2010 to-date, comprising 6,000 students and 4,300 adults.

empower is currently being implemented in eight districts within ECER, namely Bentong, Temerloh, Lipis, Raub and Cameron Highlands in Pahang; Jeli and Bachok in Kelantan; and Kemaman in Terengganu.