Women own 1 in 5 small and medium businesses in Malaysia. Women SME owners encounter four distinct types of constraint: human and social capital limitations, financial disadvantage, societal and cultural expectations, and institutional barriers. Human and social capital constraints include lack of access to formal education, entrepreneurial skills training and business networks, as well as lack of confidence. Research also shows that women business owners and managers are more likely to receive requests to pay bribes when obtaining an operating license in economies that have a greater number of laws discriminating against women. A key challenge is that male suppliers and customers prefer to deal with male business owners, thus pushing women owners to let male family members take over.

WEConnect International will be launching in Malaysia in 2020 to grow the movement of supplier diversity and the inclusion of women owned businesses in supply chains.

MinnieSquareMrinalini Venkatachalam 
Regional Director for Southeast Asia and Oceania
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