CAMERON HIGHLANDS, 27 SEPTEMBER 2014: Some 150 participants of empower ECER Skills and Training Programme from the local Indian community here were treated to a high-powered and inspiring motivational seminar themed “Cultivating Entrepreneurial Spirit”, organised by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) today.
The seminar involves talks by theSecretariat for Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED) – SME Corp, during which the budding entrepreneurs were introduced to the various financial assistance schemes and mechanisms being made available by the government for local entrepreneurs. They were also given proven tips on managing day-to-day operations, as well as how to enhance business proficiency, skill sets and profitability.
On hand to officiate the programme was the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Y.B. Datuk Seri G.Palanivel, who is also the Member of Parliament for Cameron Highlands.  Datuk Seri G. Palanivel also presented various appliances including sewing machines, ovens and mixers to 10 of the most promising empower ECER Cameron Highlands participants to help them start their own businesses.
SEED is a unit that is established under the Indian Community Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, which aims to provide access for every Malaysian Indian to play a role in transforming the economic landscape of the Malaysian Indian community. SEED is aimed at empowering the community and to ensure that Malaysian Indians will be part of the national economic development agenda.
SEED’s main tasks include credit facilitation, credit management, business advisory role, GLC vendor development programmes and acting as a monitoring and research unit. Meanwhile, SME Corp will act as the main clearing house for SEED in processing the loan applications.
ECERDC’s Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said today’s programme is aimed at inspiring the participants of empower ECER Cameron Highlands, particularly those from the Indian community, to start their own business by taking advantage of the financial assistance schemes and mechanisms being made available by the Government under the SEED initiative.
“We hope that through this seminar, the empower ECER entrepreneurs will be motivated to do well in their respective businesses, while at the same the time, inspire other participants to start their own business. There are ample opportunities for hardworking entrepreneurs to succeed and they can now leverage on the financial assistance provided by the Government for the Indian community. All they need is the strong will to succeed, coupled with hard work and dedication,” said Dato’ Issace.
He added that empower ECER and SEED programmes run parallel with the Government’s ETP, as they are implemented under the concept of inclusiveness, to ensure that all Malaysians would have an opportunity to improve their livelihood in line with the country’s goal to become a high income nation by 2020.
empower ECER is a twin-pronged human capital development initiative launched by ECERDC in 2010 to help reduce economic disparities between rural and urban communities. It consists of the Skills and Entrepreneurship Programme for adults and Academic Training Programme for examination-year students.
The former focuses on vocational training for single mothers, jobless youths and disadvantaged individuals, while the Academic Training Programme addresses the needs of academically disadvantaged students from low income homes. To create a more level playing field, empower ECER focuses on exposing participants of both programmes to a variety of learning experiences.
To date, a total of 34,113 participants, comprising 11,175 adults and 22,938 students have benefitted from empower ECER that is conducted in 17 ECER locations, namely, Jeli, Bachok and Ketereh in Kelantan; Kemaman, Dungun, Hulu Terengganu and Besut in Terengganu; Bentong, Temerloh, Raub, Lipis, Cameron Highlands, Jerantut, Maran, Rompin and Kuala Pahang in Pahang; and Mersing in Johor.
It is estimated that 80% of adult participants will gain employment after completing their courses or have sufficient knowledge and practical experience to start their own business, and the ability to generate income of between RM500 and RM1,500 per month, or even more. Meanwhile, UPSR, PMR and SPM students attending empower ECER’s remedial classes have recorded a 100% pass rate, with several scoring outstanding results.