Young entrepreneurs focus of SSM carnival
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
At 27 years old, Shahrulnizam Samawi is already the proud business owner of two online businesses – DCM Boutique and DCM Herbs.
Graduating from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) last year with a masters degree in human development, he opened his own business in February this year and within six months, Shahrulnizam is thankful that business has been good.
“Under DCM Herbs that I opened six months ago, I produce a line of beauty products and after it became a success, I opened up a boutique – BarterByDCM – a clothing line based around Sarawak batik,” said the young entrepreneur, whose booth was an instant hit as customers were seen bustling around and rummaging through his products during the one-day Young Entrepreneurs Carnival (Karnival Usahawan Muda) at Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Batu Lintang (IPGKBL), Kuching on August 20.
Organised by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) in collaboration with IPGKBL, the carnival was being held in conjunction with the Program Pendidikan Alaf ke-21 to spread awareness about the role SSM plays in providing business support and brand recognition for online businesses.
“I have always run my business online, but I have benefitted a lot since I participated in the SSM programme,” he said as it has enabled him to get in touch with more customers.
“Before this, they only knew my products through online, but now they finally get to know the person behind it and are more confident using my product,” he said, hoping to penetrate the international market.
Also present during the carnival was SSM chief executive officer Datuk Zahrah Abdul Wahab Fenner.
“The reason why we organise this carnival is to raise awareness to online entrepreneurs in terms of online businesses, the procedures involved in setting it up, as well as the risks involved. Aside from that we also hope to instill the values of integrity in doing businesses,” she said when interviewed by The Borneo Post SEEDS.
SSM also organised a similar event called the SSM Online Networking Entrepreneurs (One) Carnival earlier this year throughout the country as a platform for online entrepreneurs.
Online business operators, including those selling over Facebook and Instagram, are required to register their businesses with SSM to prevent consumers from falling prey to cheats.
Last month, SSM announced that it was targetting to have 30,000 online businesses registered this year.
“Through registration, they can get a lot of opportunities and benefits such as having the integrity and gaining confidence of the public to invest or deal with their company,” she said, adding that they also hoped to inculcate interest in entrepreneurship among the students present at the carnival which saw 1,200 visitors.
While it has not been discussed or planned yet, Zahrah hopes to see a programme launched next year that would involve youths within the higher learning sectors in entrepreneurship.
“According to our statistics, there are more than 42,000 online businesses nationwide and that is where SSM plays a vital role in raising awareness on online businesses,” she said.
Through awareness, she hopes that new online entrepreneurs can learn the ins and outs of online business aside from picking up skills such as branding and promoting their products so that they can operate smoothly.
For local business owner Junainah Mohammad who is a part of the SSM Online Networking Entrepreneurs (One) community, her business has benefitted a lot from the extra exposure.
“Ever since being part of the SSM One community, the business has been expanding as now it is widely known among customers, especially now that I use online for business,” said Junainah. As an agent of the brand Chinta Ayu, Junainah has been selling supplements and beauty products like toners and night cream for two years.
“I feel now that it is easier for me to do my business as more and more people recognise my products. Even the demand for my products has been increasing,” said Junainah.
Having been a part of the SSM One Community starting this year, another entrepreneur Siti Hazar Junaidi from Limbang also felt that SSM has helped her a lot in terms of getting her product more recognised among customers.
“I have been operating this business for five years now but back then it was not widely known,” said the owner of Anjaad Borneo, who makes and sells herbs and spices such as cardamom, garlic, and lemongrass powder.
“But ever since I joined the SSM One Community programme, people have started to recognise my products.”
Once an office-worker, Siti Hazar quit her desk job eight years ago to pursue her love of food.
According to Siti Hazar, her family’s cake recipe – kek lapis lada hitam – was what inspired her to venture into the herbs and spices business, amassing as many as 25 varieties of herbs and spices at one point.
“I went to Melaka for a business course five years ago and ended up staying there,” she said, adding that she opened her first factory there.
This year, she opened another factory here in Sarawak as she can purchase her raw ingredients more cost-effectively here.
Thanks to SSM One which provides business and self-motivation courses, she hopes to start marketing her products to a major hypermarket chain like Giant.
Other activities lined up during the day were the entrepreneur hunt, an ‘Online Millionaire’ talk by SSM corporate communications chief Mohamad Shahren Mohamad Yusri and also a talk by founder of d’Herbs Datuk Aliff Syukri.