Entrepreneur Development Program

The Entrepreneur Development Program is designed to assist refugees in Malaysia in becoming self-reliant business owners. 

There are approximately 149,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Malaysia. Refugees in Malaysia have no legal right to work and many remain in limbo for many years and even decades while awaiting resettlement or repatriation. Often, they have fled their country of origin with very little or nothing and the inability to make a living only aggravates their situation, pushing them deeper into poverty.

We recognise refugees bring with them a wealth of knowledge and talent. Like us, they too have ambitions and dreams which they want to pursue. They want to be self-reliant, continuously learn, develop and contribute to society.

In August 2017, we interviewed 55 aspiring entrepreneurs from the Somali and Afghan refugee community in Malaysia and selected 20 participants. We delivered our first entrepreneurship development workshop to 10 Somali refugees and 8 Afghan refugees in September 2017.

Our program consists of a rigorous selection process to ensure only those who are serious, passionate and have a strong desire to learn are selected for the program. Besides a weekend workshop to introduce and discuss key concepts of entrepreneurship, we support participants with ongoing weekly coaching classes to ensure they are able to continuously develop and refine their business ideas.

The Entrepreneur Development Program for refugees is an initiative by The MAD Experience. We have partnered with Talenpac, a HRDF registered training provider to co-design and co-deliver the program based on the Business Model Canvas model.

Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to our first cohort of entrepreneurs with details of their business ideas and more information on how you can get involved and stay updated on their progress.

View our data protection statement here.

Meet our first cohort of Somali refugee entrepreneurs

Abdishakur wants to start a restaurant serving authentic Somali food in Gombak.

Abdishakur wants to start a restaurant serving authentic Somali food in Gombak.

Mana Adawi wants to start her own tailoring business specialising in Somali clothes for women. She has recently managed to secure a loan from friends to purchase a sewing machine.

Mana Adawi wants to start her own tailoring business specialising in Somali clothes for women. She has recently managed to secure a loan from friends to purchase a sewing machine.

Mohamed Ali is working on a transportation business idea aimed at reducing the cost and hassle of getting around for his community around the Gombak area.

Mohamed Ali is working on a transportation business idea aimed at reducing the cost and hassle of getting around for his community around the Gombak area.

Nadiira has been selling perfumes from her home and is looking to expand her business.

Nadiira has been selling perfumes from her home and is looking to expand her business.

Hawa Ali has been running a small business from her home selling Somali desserts and cakes and is looking to expand her business.

Hawa Ali has been running a small business from her home selling Somali desserts and cakes and is looking to expand her business.

Hoda wants to start a business which addresses the public transportation challenge for her community.

Hoda wants to start a business which addresses the public transportation challenge for her community.

Meet our first cohort of Afghan refugee entrepreneurs

Aref runs a bakery and wants to expand to selling high quality authentic  Afghan food at reasonable prices.

Aref runs a bakery and wants to expand to selling high quality authentic  Afghan food at reasonable prices.

Mohd Anwar makes and delivers Aghan food from his home and is looking to expand his business.

Mohd Anwar makes and delivers Aghan food from his home and is looking to expand his business.

Javad wants to use his tailoring skills to make and sell men's undergarments at affordable prices to his community. 

Javad wants to use his tailoring skills to make and sell men's undergarments at affordable prices to his community. 

Hafiz wants to start a business providing custom made curtains and cushion covers at a high level of service.

Hafiz wants to start a business providing custom made curtains and cushion covers at a high level of service.

Masoma wants to start a business selling cakes and Afghan bread from her home.

Masoma wants to start a business selling cakes and Afghan bread from her home.

Marziyeh holds a black belt in karate and wants to start a business providing karate lessons to children and women in her community.

Marziyeh holds a black belt in karate and wants to start a business providing karate lessons to children and women in her community.