: A group of female entrepreneurs from Malaysia, currently visiting New York to find contacts with local business people to export their products, are making a strong pitch in local circles to do business with Malaysia.
The women entrepreneurs' visit, called 'Malaysia Fashion and Business Mission to New York', is organised under the auspices of the Kuala Lumpur based Malay business entrepreneurs association, better known by its acronym Peniagawati.
The group, comprising 40 representatives of some 25 companies, held a mini exhibition showcasing their products and services at the premises of the Malaysian permanent mission to the United Nations with the support of the New York office of the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).
In an interview with Bernama, Peniagawati President Datuk Azlin Ahmad Shaharbi explained that her association was trying to promote the business interests of the companies that were included in the mission.
“Our group members represent a variety of businesses, including food and beverages, lifestyle, services such as travel and legal, cosmetics, fashion and others.
“This is our first trip to New York. In fact, three Malaysian fashion designers are presenting their creations in the Couture Fashion Week in New York.
“Our association is now 37 years old and is dedicated to promoting the interests of women entrepreneurs. The age group of our members ranges from 18 to 90,” Azlin said.
She emphasised that women entrepreneurship played a vital role in Malaysia's economy.
“Entrepreneurship is a good career move because the women entrepreneurs have the luxury of being flexible in their working time and also they can adjust their time according to family needs,” she added.
Azlin said that the New York office of MATRADE had arranged business match-making for the members of her group with local buyers and business associations and the discussions with buyers were very encouraging.
The group earlier paid a courtesy visit on the Malaysian ambassador in Washington Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique.
Datuk Shahrul Ikram, the Malaysian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, welcomed the Peniagawati group and emphasised that the Malaysian government was "deeply committed" to promoting women as entrepreneurs.
“What men can do, women can do better!” he said fetching a resounding applause not only from the group's members but also from some American women who were present.
There were also representatives from the New York chamber of commerce, business associations and the Malaysian diaspora at the meeting.
The envoy also said the MATRADE office in New York was ready to support the Peniagawati association in its endeavour to support women entrepreneurs.
Datin Sharifah Shawati Syed Mohd, the Chief Executive of Adamaya Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd, who preferred to be known as an "image creator" rather than a "fashion designer", specialised in image enhancement and conducted soft skills training and workshops.
“I am looking for business contacts at the fashion week event in New York. I am in fashion designing since a year and I want to export my products.
“Youngsters love our Songket fabric. I combine the traditional and contemporary styles. I am already selling my collection in Malaysia where we also have our own showroom,” she said.
An interesting "mind-broadening" concept at the event was presented by Datuk Freida Pilus, Founder of the Cempaka Schools in Kuala Lumpur.
The Cempaka School is a private institution with three campuses. The school has been in operations since 34 years.
“I opened the school for my sons and wanted to give them the best education. They are now settled in good professions.
“I believe that one should keep learning and not just studying to pass an exam. I also have a travel unit called the Cempaka Travel Bug which promotes travel/tourism for children and young people, promoting Malaysia among American school and university students.
“We encourage communication between students of America and Malaysia in order to promote mutual understanding and respect,” she added.