Malaysia has launched a new initiative to train citizens to start online businesses.

The programme called eUsahawan will introduce a curriculum on digital entrepreneurship in technical and vocational education institutes, announced Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDeC.

The course is offered by four institutes across 147 campuses in the country, where the project was trialled in July.

“The pilot project involved the training of 423 lecturers as master trainers and 2,363 students had been enrolled for the curriculum. So far, 2,148 students have established their presence online with 78% of them managing to generate income,” Datuk Yasmin said.

Students at these courses also get a free online store on lelong.com.my, an e-commerce website, she added.

Shorter training courses have been launched for micro-entrepreneurs. During the pilot, it was condensed to four days with 165 participants. They have since earned RM390,000 in three months.

The course will be available at two to three more institutes next year. The aim is to expand it to 463 centres at 15 institutes, and 200,000 students and entrepreneurs by 2020.