3 May 2016

Great Women Malaysia kicks off the Great Women Connect Series

Source: Great Women Malaysia. Puan Nadira Yusoff.
Source: Great Women Malaysia. Puan Nadira Yusoff.
Great Women Malaysia today kicked off the Great Women Connect Series, a platform to spark opportunities for women-in-business globally to share ideas and experiences in trading. It also aims to facilitate global partnerships, establishing networks and realising potentials especially for those with intentions and readiness to go outside Malaysia.

Great Women Malaysia (GMW) is an initiative aimed at helping and facilitating Malaysian women in the underserved and rural communities move up the economic and value chain through participation of entrepreneurial or artisanal activities, focusing on fashion and lifestyle industry.

The GWM is part of a larger initiative called ASEAN Great Women, which enables Great Women initiatives from all participating ASEAN countries to collaborate on resources, cultural and ethnic materials, designs, skills and talents, and to develop products that can be commercialised globally. The Great Women development model had its start in the Philippines in 2011, motivated by the need to assist women entrepreneurs to overcome challenges of product sourcing, design, production, packaging and marketing. ASEAN Great Women was launched in 2015 as a regional platform for gender economic empowerment as well as competitive supply-chain integration in ASEAN.

The Great Women Connect Series seeks to develop the women's professional sector locally, regionally and globally in three main areas of economic, professional and social life. It aims to do this through dialogues with local and global initiatives. The series will also mobilise international diplomatic support for the advancement of women in society.

According to Puan Nadira Yusoff, head of Great Women Malaysia, “Empowering women and fully engaging them in the business and economic sectors has become a key global development priority, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where significant gender gap in economic participation persist. Promoting opportunities for both women and men makes good economic sense. It is important that both men and women are able to fully contribute to national and regional economic growth and trade. And this is the reason why we hold today’s interactive session.”

“Women’s SMEs in Malaysia have experienced strong annual growth albeit a relatively low initial level of women’s participation in SMEs. While cultural norms continue to limit women’s role in business, the general business environment in Malaysia is comparatively favourable. Women-in-business needs support from the government as well as from initiatives like us,” she added.

Puan Nadira Yusoff is a thought leader in the Malaysian's entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as CEO at Nadi-Ayu Technologies. She is involved in programmes that are initiated by the ministries in Malaysia, such as 1ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit (1AES), 1Malaysian Entrepreneurs (1MET), Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM), GREAT and many more. She currently leads several NGOs/initiatives namely Great Women Malaysia (GWM), Women Entrepreneurs Network Association (WENA) and Girls in Tech (GIT).

Representatives from the Sharjah Business Women Council of the UAE participated in today's session, including Nada Al Lawati, Founder and CEO of Seed Group International, Huda Al Lawati, Senior Private Equity Professional, most recently Chief Investment Officer for the Abraaj Group in MENA, Sally Denton from Head of Irthi, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (part of NAMA*), Dr Amal Al Ali, Founder of CARDIFF Management Consulting & Training and Assistant Professor in Sharjah University, Ayesha Jasem, Membership and Services Senior Executive of the Sharjah Business Women Council, and Lina Mohammed Hamdan, Senior Manager - Strategy of the Sharjah Business Women Council.


Read the WorkSmart Asia blog posts about the launch of GEM in Malaysia and WENA's Vital Voices Mentoring Walk in March 2016

*The NAMA Women Advancement Establishment was set up in the UAE in December 2015. It aims to develop opportunities for women in the economic, professional and social sectors. NAMA Women Advancement Establishment will also organise training, mentorships, provide advice and examine law and legislation concerning women.