Sunday March 10, 2013
Platform for small businesses to grow with SOHO
PETALING JAYA: Seven months ago, the increasingly popular small office-home office (SOHO) concept inspired Afzan Helmy to start a cottage business of designing and marketing his own brand of hand-made leather bags for men.
When he heard that Wanita Umno was giving support to SOHO enterprises last month, he quickly jumped at the opportunity to further explore the prospects for his brand, Dapper by Zent.
The Sohonita programme focuses on educating and empowering SOHO business owners to excel in areas they are skilled in and also acts as a platform to raise issues and concerns to the relevant government bodies pertaining to the industry.
“Although I already have a running website, this is a good platform to keep abreast with like-minded entrepreneurs and share how to market, promote and expand the business,” said Afzan, 31, when interviewed at the Sohonita Aspiration Programme here yesterday.
“I need to explore a wide range of marketing options to get buyers to notice my products.
“Although there has yet to be a drastic change in my sales, a lot of awareness had been created,” he said.
Entrepreneur Shareen Izuriawaty Zulkipli, 38, said she sold clothes, accessories and home furnishing at bazaars five years ago and then via Facebook and Instagram two years ago.
Wanting to expand her business online, she decided to join Sohonita after hearing about it last month.
“I am not online savvy and this will be a stepping stone for me to expand my business,” said Shareen, who teamed up with sister Norfaradilla to set up their company, Izuria.
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the programme was open to both women and men whether 17 or 70 years old who are interested in setting up an online SOHO business.
For the women, it would help them supplement the household income and enable mothers to work from home.
“Investing in women is smart partnership,” she said, adding that assistance would be given to participants on how they could do online business or get funds to start one.
About 100 men are among the more than 1,100 people who have signed up for the Sohonita programme.