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ABU DHABI, Nov 23 (Bernama) — Women entrepreneurs need to focus on creating innovations as a platform to achieve success in their businesses, said the Malaysian Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor today.

She said innovation, particularly technological innovation, should be viewed as an empowerment tool that had become a crucial factor in scaling up small businesses.

The goal was to transform businesses owned or run by women into top international companies and emerge as leaders in their respective industries, Rosmah said in her special address at the Women in Leadership (WIL) Forum here.

“Women need to leverage on knowledge and capability to transform ideas into marketable products and services that result in new business value.

“This is essential because current trends and the dynamic business environment require organisations to quickly sense market changes and detect where future demands may exist,” she said in her speech titled ‘Engaging and Empowering Women in Business and the Economy’.

Rosmah said to innovate, women must be brave to take risks because for too long women had been conditioned to take less risk and tended to start smaller enterprises with longer start-up periods.

“While research shows that women lead in the use of computers, they lag in the uptake of e-business. To overcome risk aversion, women need to continuously update their knowledge and skills as well as develop their business plan or strategy with a clear vision, mission and target,” she noted.

She told her audience of some 250 delegates that mastering essential skills such as business planning, financial management and assessment of market conditions would increase their confidence to manage and grow their businesses exponentially.

“Women must not be discouraged by failure. Instead, we should learn from failure as failure decreases the learning cycle time and allows organisations to come out with better and faster ideas in the future.

“In the words of former prime minister of Great Britain Sir Winston Churchill, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts’,” Rosmah said.

She also alluded to the Malaysian government’s initiatives in providing many opportunities for the active participation and contribution of women to the economy.

Rosmah said participating in entrepreneurial activities had in fact been identified as one of the pathways for women to become the primary force in driving the economy, with various policies, programmes and activities having been put in place to facilitate these endeavours.

“Through SME Corporation, women entrepreneurs are assisted to avail themselves of the schemes and support facilities provided by the various ministries and government agencies,” she said.

She cited the example of Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia which had financed more than 200,000 women entrepreneurs since its inception in 1987, to elevate businesses in agriculture, manufacturing and services.

Themed “Inspire, Influence, Innovate”, the Nov 23-24 forum is being held under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa Bint Suhail, wife of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The WIL series started in 2009 and Rosmah will be the patron for next year’s edition scheduled for February in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

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