Your Excellency Governor Moon-Soon Choi of the Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea,
The Honorable Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation,
Dr. Han Moo-kyun, Chairman, Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association, Republic of Korea,
Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, Queen of the State of Johor, Malaysia,
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Delegates, Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Yeo run bun Gang Reoung ae, o shin gul,
Hawn young hab ni da
The influence of the Republic of Korea is quite marked and significant especially in Malaysia. K Pop is known among the young and the old, many dance to the Gangnam Style, and you won’t believe it but many stay up late to not miss Winter Sonata.
Every household has a Hyundai or a Kia. The fight between iphone and Samsung fans are fierce with Samsung having a slight edge.
And oh everyone wants to have the beautiful porcelain complexion of the Korean girls. Is it kimchi that gives you that lovely smooth skin or the advanced technology in cosmetic surgery and beauty products? While we are are here do let us into your secrets. Beauty is a serious matter and is indeed SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Honoured guests ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honour and indeed a privilege for WBN to organize this Businesswomen Forum jointly with the Gangwon Provicial Govt and supported by the Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association. We were in total disbelief when the invitation was extended to us for to be in the Republic of Korea represents much potentials and opportunities for businesswomen from our part of the region and the world over. Hyundai Samsung and Kia are household names that underscore Rep Korea’s success in innovation and technology. The world is envious of your success. It is therefore an honour and most apt for us to be here and to learn from you.
This Forum particularly underscores the recognition and acknowledgement that we in WBN place on womens’ role and contribution in the economy, the national and the global growth. The theme of our Forum i.e. “Women and the Creative Economy”, subscribes to the importance of creativity in any economic activity and sector. This alludes to artistic and cultural elements apart from technology innovation – both warrants creativity. The creative economy is defined to be a convergence of science and technology with the industry and the fusion of culture thereof. Women with their natural instinctive creative abilities fit in like hand and glove in the development of this creative economy. Hence, the appropriateness of our women forum today, attended by 140 delegates from 13 countries, namely Brunei, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Spain, Qatar, Thailand, Kenya, Malaysia, UAE, France, Pakistan, Senegal and South Korea.
For those establishing first acquaintance with WIEF Businesswomen Network, let me offer you a brief introduction. The WBN was established at the inaugural WIEF Forum in 2005 with the aim to empower women in business and entrepreneurship, and to optimize their potentials through economic and business programmes and activities.
The WBN has since organized many programmes in Malaysia and abroad. A full scale WBN Forum precedes the general WIEF Forum until 2010 to optimize organizational efficiency. It is hence, a joy and honour that we can once again hold a women forum in this lovely city of Gangneung.
Todate, the WBN has successfully organized programmes such as WIEF Women Entrepreneur Workshop, WIEF Online Marketing Workshop, WBN Tea Talk and WIEF Women Entrepreneurial Retreat.
The most popular amongst these, is the WIEF Online Marketing Workshop and had been conducted in Kenya, Indonesia, Morocco, Jordan and Malaysia.
The Online Marketing Workshop trains women entrepreneurs to use internet as a marketing tool and experiment with various creative platforms for their online brandings. It promotes the use of social media to effectively reach out and engage various target groups and helps bring the world market to their doorstep.
We now have about 400 alumni members from 31 countries – Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgystan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Mauritius, Myanmar, Morocco, Malaysia, New Zealand. Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tanzania, Tunisia, Timur Leste, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam and Yemen.
The participants come from both Muslim and non-Muslim countries and are Muslims and non-Muslims. These programmes fulfil our objective to provide a networking platform for businesswomen across cultural and religious divides. We are steadfast in our core objective of empowering women and to enhance their financial punches.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The support of Governments, NGOs and the private sector are prerequisites in our efforts towards this direction. Women association and organisations play equally important roles.
These organisations have their own particular or peculiar mission but with one similar objective, i.e. to economically empower their members. The encouragement given to their members to attend international forums allow their members the opportunity to expand their business presence, explore potential areas for their business and find new business partners and ventures.
Today, we have with us delegates from women organisations namely Women’s Business Council of Brunei, National Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Malaysia, Association of Bumiputra Women in Business and Profession Malaysia, Indonesian Businesswomen Association and of course, our host country’s Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association led by Dr Han Moo-kyun.
The Panel Discussions at this Forum will address the many challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the various sectors of the creative economy.
We hope all delegates will have a productive discussion and gain valuable insights of the potentials and seize the opportunities thereof.
We also hope that you as delegates will make full use of the opportunity that we have here today – to network, exchange knowledge, and experience, and to generate new ideas that will help you enhance your business in a creative and innovative way. But remember – you can have unbelievable intelligence, you can have connections, you can have opportunities falling from the sky – but – in the end, hand work is the true enduring characteristic of successful people.
In conclusion, I offer a huge bouquet of thanks and gratitude to the Gangwon Provincial Government and the Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association for making this Forum possible and a BIG thank you to all who participate in this Forum. To Her Royal Highness, thank you for being with us – your presence is already a mark of success for us.
To the Governor – Woo ri le, Da si cho dae hae, joo se yo.