|Slow Response To Entrepreneur Development Programm... (Business Times, 7 Ogos 2009)|
Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) will not be able to meet targets for its entrepreneur development programmes in 2009 and 2010 due to the weak confidence levels among Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the economy,
says its top executive.
"The take-up has also been slow for the first seven months of this year, indicating that they are cautious about spending as their confidence in the economy is low with many of them holding a negative perception," chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad said.
He was speaking to reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding on the setting up of an International School of Entrepreneurship (ISE) with Universiti Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
So far this year, PUNB has approved 240 applicants under its "Retail Prosper Scheme", 100 for "Graduate Entrepreneur Prosper Scheme", 36 for "Wholesaler Prosper Scheme" and 16 for "Manufacturer Prosper Scheme".
"The numbers were less than the first half of last year and we expect the outlook to remain the same next year," he said.
Under its entrepreneur development programme, PUNB has developed 1,583 businesses through the Retail Prosper Scheme involving RM259 million, while another 348 graduate entrepreneurs benefited from investments amounting to RM13.3 million.
It has also created 73 wholesale outfits through RM132 million. In the case of small- and medium-sized enterprises, some RM405 million has been channeled to 144 companies involved in manufacturing and services.
Mohd Nasir said PUNB is also trying to reschedule repayments for its customers who have defaulted.
He also said that the PUNB Graduate Apprentice Programme which was introduced in May as part of the economic stimulus package in March, has provided job opportunities for graduates.
The programme enables Bumiputera graduates to undergo 6-12 month training to enable them to start their own businesses.
PUNB aims to train 2,000 apprentices by the end of 2010. So far, 533 graduates have been accepted, while 399 have commenced their attachment programme under 150 mentors.
Meanwhile, Universiti Kuala Lumpur president and CEO Professor Datuk Dr Abdul Hakim Juri said ISE hopes to have its first intake in January.
Apart from seeking the expertise of senior business leaders and CEOs for its courses, the university plans to tie up with other partners from France, Germany and the Netherlands.