A physical disability should not stop one from excelling as an entrepreneur. With the right advice and encouragement, such entrepreneurs can be motivated to achieve their goals.
Maybank Foundation’s Rise (Reach Independence and Sustainable Entrepreneurship) programme, which started in September 2014, is an economic empowerment programme that supports disadvantaged communities, particularly Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
It helps them improve their businesses, increase their income and become financially independent, said Maybank Foundation CEO Shahril Azuar Jimin.
The Rise programme aims to empower the disabled communities across Asean through entrepreneurship.
“In total, we have trained 6,358 participants. Out of that, 5,165 were people with disabilities. The top 40% of the total participants have achieved an average income increase of 380.89%,” said Shahril Azuar.
In addition, some 70% of the participants were able to double their income or even increase it four-fold, without any financial handouts from the foundation.
Last year, 22 people from Malaysia, 18 from the Philippines and 27 from Indonesia participated in the programme, which involves regular training in topics such as how to run a business, financial goals, operational planning, budgeting and tracking, and sales and customer analysis. There is also a structured mentoring system to ensure that entrepreneurs get continued support and knowledge transfer from skilled Maybank volunteers.
The participants are selected from a list of names from local non-governmental organisations. Those selected would attend a short interview to determine whether they qualify for the programme.
“The foundation looks for individuals who have an open mind and are willing to make a change in their lives. Participants need not be in business as the foundation can guide them on how they can start one after the training,” said Shahril Azuar.
The participants do not pay any fee to attend the programme as it is fully sponsored by the foundation. Also, it does not give out any loans to the participants during the programme. However, participants may be recommended by the foundation’s mentors to apply for a loan later on when they want to expand their thriving business.
Training takes three days, followed by three to six months of mentoring, whereby mentors keep in contact with the participants. While this is a one-time programme for each participant, the foundation sometimes keeps in touch with those who have undergone training to check on their progress.