President's Message on 25th Annual General Meeting on 24th March 2018

Good Morning, my dear Members and FONS of NAWEM.

1. Background and Introduction
Today is an auspicious day. It is our Silver Jubilee Annual General Meeting and I am delighted to see so many of you, especially the Past Presidents Dr. Bien Mei Nien and Puan Mariam Tun Sulaiman.

To have a vibrant NGO for twenty five years is no mean feat and NAWEM has arrived at a milestone that she can be proud of.

NAWEM was founded before it became fashionable to talk about women empowerment. A few women with foresight and wisdom realised the necessity for a multi- racial association for women entrepreneurs. We were the forerunners in the Satu Malaysia arena and our sponsor then was Peniagawati who knew the importance of diversity and inclusivity in an organisation for longevity.

Every year, since its inception, we have been going from strength to strength and today’s AGM is to reflect on how 2017 panned out for NAWEM.

You have with you a detailed report of the activities of 2017 and the first three months of 2018

What I want to do, this morning, is to highlight some of the activities based on their impact on women in Malaysia and also comment on how these activities were professionally managed by our members.

There were several major projects funded by different government agencies and other not for profit organisations in2017. Ladies, I will mention the projects according to alphabetical order of the names of the project and not based on importance. All projects were equally important in the records of NAWEM.

2. Projects managed by NAWEM in 2017/18

NAWEM was able to bring in an United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ( UNCTAD) programme to Malaysia. Known as Empretec, it was a programme based on behavioural traits for entrepreneurship. So far 5 classes have been conducted and we have 114 graduates from this programme.

In conjunction with Empretec, 2 HRDF funded programmes for the retrenched were conducted under the banner of Satu Malaysia Outplacement Centre or 1MOC. These programmes were for men and women. But NAWEM had a twist. Instead of placing them in a job, NAWEM trained and mentored the participants to start a business.

NAWEM has also signed an MOU with CEDAR of SME Bank to conduct the EMPRETEC programme for them.

2.2 GENDER 21 – Promoting 21st Century Gender Related Labour Practices in Malaysia
This project was funded by The Asia Foundation and it started in November 2016 and was completed in December 2017. There were many components to this project, from surveys and focussed group discussions to town hall presentations and leadership mentoring. Suffice to say it did create an impact on more than 6,000 people directly and about 100,000 people through the traditional and social media. Recommendations have been made during multi stakeholders discussions and ratified during public forum which will be submitted to the relevant authorities.

To further enhance the gender related dialogue, NAWEM also organised the STEM conference with world class speakers and pushed the agenda for more women to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.

2.3 Family Business Programme at University of Jaen, Spain
NAWEM organised a programme in October 2017 on how family businesses are managed and this was in Spain. It included an academic input as well as field trips. The selection of participants was stringent and I am glad to say, we will be organising another trip this year. This was a HRDF sponsored programme.

We made history here. It is the first time for L’OREAL, the largest cosmetic retailers globally, to work with an NGO to help women in the B40 income bracket. These women are trained by NAWEM members to learn selling skills and customer service.
This project is parked under KOPERASI NAWEM and it has been a phenomenal success.

2.5 Minimum Wage Productivity Programme
This is another initiative by HRDF and NAWEM ran this programme twice in 2017. The objective of this programme is to train workers who now receive minimum wage of RM1000 to increase productivity with new knowledge and skills.

2.6 SEDIC – NAWEM collaboration – Women in Digital
SEDIC is a government agency set up by the Prime Minister’s Office to upskill Indians to enhance their lives and livelihoods. NAWEM was awarded a grant to help Indian women entrepreneurs to increase their business reach through digital marketing. Our target is to give this skill to 300 women. So far we have 120 graduates. As I am speaking to you, we have a team in Johore conducting this programme.

2.7 UNHCR Micro Entrepreneurship
For the 3rd year, NAWEM was awarded the implementation partner status in 2017, to diversify income sources for refugee households. They were given quality training and a start-up fund which was monitored closely. Once again NAWEM has successfully enabled the participants to increase their quality of livelihood.

I have mentioned seven projects so far and in the interest of time, I will let you read about the others in the annual report you have with you.

I just want to mention three other entities which are part of NAWEM, but are run with different committees. They are:

a. NAWEM Toastmasters Club, part of International Toastmasters Club. We are now in the 4th year and going strong.
b. Koperasi Nawem which has more than 50 members now and we have new strategies to increase the flow of business in 2018.
c. Tabung Amal NAWEM which is our grant provision arm. Here too we have had an active year.

I want to spend the next five minutes outlining what we want to do for the next 12 months.

i) Firstly NAWEM wants to set up a clinic for Small Debt Recovery. Since I am in the committee of Bank Negara’s Small Debt Recovery, I realise how important it is to help businesses when they go into financial problems and there are avenues to avert bankruptcies and insolvencies. So we will advise our members on financial recoveries that will keep their business going.

ii) Another programme NAWEM wants to set up is the Fitness and Wellness Club. We had in the past done this in an ad hoc basis but now I officially want to appoint a committee to spearhead this initiative and make it a permanent fixture of NAWEM.

iii) As I mentioned in the beginning of my speech that this year is special. Our big bash for our Silver Jubilee will be in February 2018 and it will be celebration centred and not for fund raising, thus making the tables and seats affordable for every member to come with their family and friends. I want you as members and FONS, to volunteer to help out in the organisation of the gala dinner. We already have a theme. It is Silver and Sparkle. We are planning to do a coffee table book to commemorate our 25 years of success.

iv) We will have the rerun of Sharx Tank this year as we did in 2016. This is for start-ups to engage in crowdfunding and pitching with venture capitalists and angel investors.

Ladies, you have just heard what we have done and what we are going to do. The success of all these activities is due to only one fact. We have dedicated committee and subcommittee members whose names are in the report.

And we have project leaders whose passion and commitment are the pillars of the projects and their drive and enthusiasm have made every project reach fruition.

Please give them a thunderous applause.

NAWEM wants to continue to engage with women in all economic levels- B40, M40 and T20. Our programmes, as you have just heard, are for top management, mid management and for those who are in the threshold of creating a viable business.
In short- NAWEM is for business women who own companies of all sizes. Stay with us and grow your companies and I assure you, this is also the best place for personal and professional development.

Come for NAWEM’s and other related events- we send emails to members on the various activities that are business related organised by government agencies and other NGOs. As a reputable women NGO, we are considered the window for Malaysian women entrepreneurs. So we receive notifications on anything that concerns women and business.

Come and participate and contribute to NAWEM’s projects and programmes and together we can grow and prosper.

Ask not only what NAWEM can do for you. Also ask what you can do for NAWEM.

My best wishes and love to all of you and May God Bless us all.