PARIS, June 4 – The Malaysian Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, has urged Malaysian and French women entrepreneurs to form virtual associations to strengthen relations and leverage on new technologies. In building and strengthening networks, she said, women entrepreneurs should make the most of information and communications technology (ICT) to connect, network and internationalise their businesses. “A good support network is a factor for women’s success (in entrepreneurial undertakings).

“Networking is no longer a choice but a requirement to keep up with the changing times. “A pervasive paradigm shift has occurred and women are increasingly being recognised and acknowledged as major players in helping to shape the economy and social landscape of the community as well as the country,” she said at the Business Networking Session of Malaysian and French Women in Business here on Wednesday. It was attended by some 30 Malaysian and 30 French entrepreneurs, as well as Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, Ambassador of Malaysia to France Tan Sri Ismail Omar and Secretary General of Business and Professional Women in France Christine Cluzel.

“Although France and Malaysia are physically thousands of miles apart, this distance disappears with the use of technology. “I therefore urge you to form virtual associations, which are critical to enable you to grow and optimise your potential of becoming major players in the global economy,” Rosmah said. She said women are making inroads into the world of business and form a third of all people involved in entrepreneurial undertakings worldwide. In France, she said, 33 per cent of new businesses are created by women and 69 per cent of women are planning or are in the process of creating their own business, while in Malaysia small and medium enterprises (SMEs) constitute 99.2 per cent of overall business establishments with 16 per cent or 82,900 owned by women entrepreneurs.

“Thus women are becoming important drivers of economic growth with 40 to 50 per cent of businesses being owned by them. “The biggest growth sector for women’s business is wholesale trade, healthcare services, entertainment and recreation, scientific and technical services. “The greater the participation of women, the healthier the economy. Greater involvement of women can deliver better growth, more competitiveness and greater human development,” she said.

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