KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, which is already a growing dominant force in the Muslim world, can play a leading role in bolstering Muslim entrepreneurship all around the world.
United States Department of State special representative to Muslim communities Farah Pandith said Malaysia has taken great efforts in giving out the tools and methodologies to nurture entrepreneurship, and being predominantly Muslim, Malaysia can narrate to the world in this sense.
"Malaysia has both the modernity and the history, and the digital natives are text savvy ... leading to the changes we are seeing right now. The young Muslims here are making a great impact in entrepreneurship."
"Malaysia can help the region move forward in business by identifying the role models among young Muslim men and women," Farah said on the sidelines of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2013, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, here, yesterday.
Looking at Asia's current demographics, one out of five people are below 35 years. The youth are defining themselves and solving problems. They are finding their own voices and want to be heard. They are also creating names for themselves .
"The young people of today, or the digital natives post 9-11 all around the world, are starting to see the negative impact of stereotyping. They want to recalibrate their lives and not listen to the loudest megaphones out there."
Farah said it is not a perfect world out there but the image of Muslims and the spirit of entrepreneurship must transcend borders, be it in Argentina, the United Kingdom, or China, which saw the first Muslims 1,200 years ago.
Entrepreneurship, she added, is not just about making it on the front page of the Financial Times, but also about making a difference in communities, be it from a billionaire, some kid inventing a radio, the latest health product or women in remote villages doing sewing.
Farah was grateful that she has been able to travel to more than 80 countries in the world. The travels have given her some ideas, which she has nurtured from seed-form to the incubator stage.
"We, at the US State Department, have listened to the communities and act as facilitators. We take those ideas to another level and make a difference, be it (from) Muslim entrepreneurs, Jewish entrepreneurs, Hindu entrepreneurs or women entrepreneurs."