Register businesses, women entrepreneurs urged

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KUALA LUMPUR: MADCash founder and managing director Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin (pic) is urging women entrepreneurs to register their businesses despite widespread hesitation due to tax concerns and potential disqualification from Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah (STR) aid.

Nuraizah also called on the government to separate business registration from aid eligibility to support entrepreneurial growth without penalising the economically disadvantaged.

“Just because they are trying to legalise their business, it doesn’t mean that they are less poor. It’s just that when they are trying to do the right thing, trying to register the business, they are penalised.

“As soon as they register the business, they cannot get this STR,” she said in an interview with Sunbiz.

She stressed that businesses only have to pay tax if the business is “very profitable”.

“There’s a threshold where you don’t actually have to pay tax.”

She added that even if they have to pay taxes, this only contributes to nation-building.

Nuraizah also highlighted the difficulty women face in securing loans as well as investments.

She recounted her personal experiences, where investors questioned her marital status and motherhood.

“So I have two things against me. Not married and I have a child. So that’s a double. So how can you take care of your business and your child? I’ve been doing this for 20 years, no problem.

“You will never ask a man, ‘Oh, how will you take care of your child?’ They never ask a man that question. Only a woman. So then this is the bias that people have.

“You look at the woman and you look at all the things she has to do around her. You look at the man, you only see him in the business.”

She added that this bias is not only from men but also from other women perpetuating the stereotype.

Furthermore, Nuraizah said that women often feel they must hide their money, which leads to them being overlooked by banks.

“This lack of visibility means women cannot secure loans, as they often do not have assets like houses or cars in their names, which are required as collateral,” she said.

She said MADCash aims to help women without collateral but with promising businesses to grow and become bankable.

“So when you talk about inclusivity, we also talk about what it takes for you to have an equal chance at getting something.

“So when we talk about loans, the bank requires collateral,” she said.

“The bank requires that you are able to, even if you take a business loan, you must be personally liable.

“You must take personal responsibility for the loan.”

She said many women entrepreneurs, like those selling nasi lemak, do not know their profit margins or how to price their products correctly.

“They fail to account for all costs, leading to zero profit margins. MADCash teaches women to separate business income from personal income, track their sales, and understand their financial status.

“Using tools like QR Pay instead of cash can help women manage and document their finances better, making it easier to secure loans and other financial products,” she said.

Nuraizah stressed that women, especially those in lower-income groups, need to understand finance to break the cycle of poverty.

“Financial education should start early to ensure future generations are not trapped in poverty.”

Nuraizah was sponsored by Sun Life Malaysia to receive the Front & Female Financial Empowerment Award for her efforts in supporting women entrepreneurs and promoting their financial security.

MADCash is a fintech company that specialises in empowering women who lack access to mainstream finance, enabling them to grow their businesses and become financially secure within two years.

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