KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 - About 8.85 per cent of entrepreneurs went out of business in April 2020 after being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in the prices of goods, said the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (KUSKOP) Datuk Ewon Benedick.

He said that based on a survey conducted by his ministry from 2020 until 2022, it was found that the effects of the pandemic and the increase in the prices of goods had caused a small number of entrepreneurs to close down their business operations.

Ewon said the survey also saw 3.16 per cent of entrepreneurs go out of business in June 2021, 1.38 per cent of entrepreneurs went out of business in February 2022 and 2.7 per cent in November 2022.

“In an effort to help affected entrepreneurs, KUSKOP, through its agencies, implemented several initiatives to restore their businesses by providing loans including financing schemes under Tekun Nasional and the Ikhtiar financing scheme under Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia AIM.

“Funding agencies under KUSKOP have also simplified the application process by reducing the required documentation and shortening the application processing time,” he said during the Minister's Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Ewon was replying to Roslan Hashim (PN Kulim Bandar Baharu) who asked the ministry to state the number of entrepreneurs who had gone out of business due to the economic slowdown and what efforts are being made to help those affected.

The minister also said that KUSKOP and the agencies under it are also working with the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to offer the “second chance” programme to help entrepreneurs who are facing serious financial management problems and are at risk of bankruptcy.

In 2022, a total of 664 entrepreneurs were made aware of the availability of second chances through various initiatives provided by the government, said the minister.

Out of these, a total of 40 entrepreneurs were selected to follow INSKEN's mentoring programme for four months on October 17, 2022.

Ewon also said that SME Corp had also signed a memorandum of understanding with AKPK on February 3, 2023, in an effort to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in education, financial and credit management.

“This strategic cooperation is expected to help and facilitate MSMEs to make decisions in managing finances wisely and prudently, especially in the post pandemic era,” he said.