The Malaysian Government expects to generate RM40 million (US$9.8 million) this year through two programmes training citizens start online businesses.

The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) last year launched the eRezeki and eUsahawan programmes as part of its digital economy plan.

eRezeki is a website for citizens to earn income by completing simple tasks online, like searching for information, writing content or reviewing images. The service is aimed at poorer citizens from households earning less than RM4,000 (US$984.73) a month.

The eUsahawan programme trains citizens to start their own online businesses through a new entrepreneurship curriculum in technical and vocational education institutes. Launched in November, the course is offered at 147 campuses across the country.

The $9.8 million income this year will be driven by greater participation from e-commerce sites and better internet connectivity across the country, the government says.

MDeC has just partnered with telecommunications company Celcom to expand 4G connections across 34 educational campuses where students are training under the eUsahawan project.

Participants will also be able to use the company’s e-commerce website, 11th street, to sell their products online.

eUshawan’s pilot in July last year involved 3,000 students, with 77% of them collectively earning RM1.3 million (US$320,036) in online sales over six months.

MDeC wants to grow rural participation in the programme, CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said. “We are working with community leaders such as non-governmental organisations, state representatives and state agencies in making the [rural] outreach programmes a success,” she said.