Sun, 10 Dec 2023



Shell LiveWIRE helps develop aspiring entrepreneurs
Published on: Sunday, September 03, 2023
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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Shell LiveWIRE helps develop aspiring entrepreneurs
MAINTAINING a business can be quite challenging, particularly for aspiring entrepreneurs from Sabah.

From the constant need to stay motivated in order to find solutions for both minor and monumental situations, to enduring losses caused by unforeseen circumstances, and facing the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the list continues.

Thanks to Shell’s ongoing entrepreneurship development initiative for Sabahan entrepreneurs, an additional five Sabahan enterprises have been given the opportunity to showcase their determination to expandtheir business ideas through well-crafted business plans.

Shell LiveWIRE is the primary enterprise development programme offered by Shell. The programme aims to enhance local economies worldwide by fostering entrepreneurship and supporting the growth of entrepreneurs.

The programme began in Sabah in 2015 and in Sarawak in 2016. Its main objective is to inspire young entrepreneurs to innovate and develop practical business solutions that address current socio-economic challenges.

As of 2022, Shell LiveWIRE has been expanded to include entrepreneurs from Peninsular Malaysia.

Shell LiveWIRE is dedicated to supporting and celebrating local entrepreneurs who are working hard to build their businesses.

Shell LiveWIRE is inspired by the budding entrepreneurs’ determination and commitment to not only succeed, but also to make a positive impact on their communities. By creating employment opportunities through their ventures, these entrepreneurs are empowering their communities and contributing to their growth and development.

During the recently concluded Shell LiveWIRE Malaysia 2023 Sabah state finals, Danny Murshidi, Reliability and Engineering Manager at Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd, highlighted the benefits of Shell LiveWIRE for entrepreneurs. 

He emphasised that the programme enables entrepreneurs to connect with their global LiveWIRE ecosystem, which in turn helps budding entrepreneurs flourish their businesses.

Additionally, he emphasised the positive impact this has on the socio-economic growth of Sabah and the nation. 

The 2023 Sabah state winners, Brutti Besi, Leonarcta, Southeast Asia Treasure, Grace Creation enterprise, and Le Doux Coffee, were among more than 60 participants who took part in this programme. 

The judges for the Shell LiveWIRE Malaysia 2023 Sabah state finals included Dexter Yeh, Deputy General Manager of Marketing at Daily Express; Christina Chia, ECF Head of Sabah at pitchIN; and Mohd Hairul Adhan Ruzzan, Territory Manager at Shell Mobility.

The entrepreneurs participated in an extensive bootcamp, during which 10 finalists were chosen to advance to the final pitching competition. 

They were evaluated based on their business pitches, which showcased their determination to develop their business ideas using well-thought-out business plans. Subsequently, five winners were selected.

Shell provided a start-up fund of RM10,000 to the five winning enterprises. In addition, recipients will also be provided with a year of business coaching to further develop their business plans into fully operational businesses. They will also have access to the various facilities and opportunities offered by Shell. 

Additionally, the winners will have the chance to connect with the global LiveWIRE ecosystem and share their knowledge with entrepreneurs worldwide. They will also have the opportunity to compete in the annual Shell Global Top Ten Innovators Awards.

In a recent interview with the Daily Express, the five winners shared their inspiring journey of venturing into business. They shared their sources of inspiration, the challenges they faced, the valuable lessons they learned, and their future plans. Additionally, they offered advice for budding entrepreneurs and highlighted the positive impact that Shell LiveWIRE has had on their businesses. 

Lukman Awaluddin and Siti Faznur Abd Khaleq, Brutti & Besi.

“Brutti & Besi is a bespoke sustainable furniture maker based in Sabah. We specialise in creating custom-made pieces using wood and iron,” said Lukman, adding that their business was established on December 7, 2020. He explained that they chose to create custom-made furniture because it allows them to tailor each piece according to the client’s specific preferences, resulting in a perfect match for their space. 

Bespoke Herringbone Counter

Bespoke Jewellery Box 1 

Bespoke Jewellery Box 2

The height, width, and depth can all be adjusted and customized to meet specific requirements. He said that Sabahans often say, ‘ngam-ngam ja bah.’ Before starting Brutti & Besi, he said that they had to close down their car wash business in 2020. This decision was made due to the global pandemic, which had a significant impact on countries around the world. 

“However, our team’s determination to secure an alternative source of income remained steadfast. This marked the turning point when my hobby of crafting simple furniture in my home backyard transformed into a fully-fledged, full-time business,” he said. 

They discovered the Shell LiveWIRE programme through their acquaintances, including Kebun Mama, Wagas de Asi, Farm Tokou, Tem Tem & G1FT, who had previously taken part in it and enthusiastically shared their positive experiences. 

He said that they were inspired by the success stories and opportunities offered by the programme, which led them to further explore Shell LiveWIRE. Eventually, they became enthusiastic participants themselves. 

He said that their experience with Shell LiveWIRE has had a profound impact on their business by creating valuable friendships and networking opportunities. Thanks to this incredible platform, we have had the opportunity to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, and experts who share our enthusiasm for growth and innovation, he said. 

He said that these relationships have not only enhanced their comprehension of the business landscape, but it has also given them exceptional support, guidance, and collaborative opportunities. 

He said that the biggest challenge they have faced during their time at Brutti & Besi is their constant effort to become the best leader for their team. 

“I am responsible for guiding and motivating our team, ensuring they remain enthusiastic and motivated in completing their tasks. Additionally, I consistently provide solutions to help them overcome any roadblocks they may encounter. 

“We strive to propel our business forward, ensuring its ongoing growth and development. However, this undertaking is anything but straightforward. Throughout our journey, we have encountered a wide range of situations, both small and significant, that have played a role in shaping our growth and resilience,” he said. 

He said that despite the challenges, they were able to overcome them by studying the strategies and experiences of successful leaders. This has given them a valuable roadmap to overcome the challenges of becoming effective leaders. 

Bespoke Mata Punai Signage

Co Founders (Lukman _ Faznur) 

Community workshop with Rakan Muda

Community workshop with Semporna community

Pandan _ Mini Pandan table

Team Brutti _ Besi

He said that by understanding their journey, they were able to gain valuable insights into their decision-making processes, communication styles, and strategies for effectively navigating complex situations. 

He said that by doing this, they were able to speed up their growth as leaders and effectively tackle the specific challenges that come up on their journey to success. Regarding their future plans, he said that Brutti & Besi has a vision for a vibrant future, filled with ambitious goals for growth and expansion. 

“Our company has set a goal to elevate itself to a higher level by expanding our factory operations and introducing new divisions. 

“Our approach focuses on the future, aiming to improve our efficiency and effectiveness. This will allow us to provide excellent service to our customers and meet their changing needs. 

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering high-quality products and services while actively pursuing growth. We are excited to begin this journey of growth and progress in the future,” he said. 

“The most significant lesson we learned pertains to the importance of effective leadership within a group. When Brutti & Besi was first established, our main focus was on production. This involved day-to-day manufacturing, similar to any other typical enterprise. 

“At that time, we believed that the most challenging aspect of our work was interacting with clients, as their (clients) feedback played a crucial role in our production process. However, we gradually came to realise that the real challenge was to become effective leaders. 

“We are still striving to explore ways to uplift our team’s spirits at work, preventing them from losing motivation. We also aim to find ways to keep them joyful and content with their tasks. Additionally, we want to offer assistance and provide insights when they encounter difficulties and roadblocks. Our goal is to consistently make progress in these areas.” 

He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to develop a resilient mindset, embrace a commitment to continuous learning, and prioritise adaptability. “Building a business is a challenging and uncertain journey. Staying persistent in the face of setbacks is crucial, and it is important to view failures as valuable learning opportunities. 

“It is important to recognise that the business landscape is constantly changing. Therefore, it is crucial to continuously pursue knowledge and improve your skills. “Being adaptable is crucial because it enables you to quickly adjust and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. Success is not achieved overnight; rather, it is the outcome of diligent effort, unwavering commitment, and a readiness to adapt,” he said. 

Radziah Matarsad and Siti Aishah Syazwani Sairin, South East Asia Treasure. 

“In 2009, I began cultivating seaweed at Pulau Omadal in Semporna as part of the Siswazah Tani Programme organised by the Sabah Department of Fisheries,” said Radziah. According to her, they cultivate two varieties of Seaweed: Eucheuma Cottonii (also known as aring-aring) and Kapaphycus Alvarezii (commonly referred to as tambalang). Additionally, they cultivate Lentifera Caulerpa (known as seagrapes or latok) as a supplementary source of income. She observed that individuals from different cultures have their own fish cages, which enables them to increase their income.

Radziah and Siti Aishah 1

Radziah and Siti Aishah

ZieaH Integrated Culture System (ZICS) Prototype

ZieaH Integrated Culture System (ZICS) Prototype

She explained that her motivation to pursue this business stems from the fact that the seaweed industry is widely recognised as a High Impact Industry. This is because seaweed has a multitude of applications in various sectors such as food, cosmetics, health, agriculture, agrotourism, textile, hardware, kitchenware, and packaging. She expressed that it would be a missed opportunity for her not to pursue this business, considering her existing experience in the industry. 

She first learned about Shell LiveWIRE in 2015, but at that time she did not have enough information about it. It was not until 2023 that she realised how it could be beneficial for her and other cultivators, allowing them to maximise their income with minimal capital. 

“The concept is called the ZieaH Integrated Culture System (ZICS). The system consists of a seaweed farm, fish cage, and seagrape pond,” she explained. She also expressed her excitement and gratitude for having her idea selected during the Shell LiveWIRE bootcamp. 

“I never expected to become a part of the Shell LiveWIRE family. During the bootcamp, I gained valuable knowledge about various aspects of business and strategies for its growth. “The trainers and mentors provide excellent support. I was taught how to refine my idea, which was later chosen, resulting in my selection as one of the five winners. “This recognition has been incredibly beneficial to me as it has enabled me to expand my business and make my innovation more tangible and appealing to others,” she said.  

When discussing the challenges they faced, she said that despite the industry’s significant impact, they have to deal with turtle and fish attacks on their farm. “Our production consistently falls below our target due to this attack. We are unable to meet customer demand due to this constraint. Additionally, we incur losses due to our seaweed production being lower than our capital investment.

“Due to this challenge, we have implemented the ZieaH Integrated Culture System (ZICS) to effectively minimise losses and optimise our production,” she said. She explained that the system consists of a seaweed farm, fish cage, and seagrape pond. 

Armed with her newfound knowledge, she has set her sights on promoting the ZieaH Integrated Culture System (ZICS) to fellow fishermen and culturists in Semporna. “I will also sell it to fishermen and culturists in Tawau, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, and Kudat. I will also conduct research and development on this system simultaneously to ensure its practicality,” she said. 

ZieaH Integrated Culture System (ZICS) Prototype

Additionally, she plans to extend this initiative to Sarawak and other states in Peninsular Malaysia, such as Johor, Kelantan, and Kedah, where fishermen are also involved in seaweed cultivation. 

“Afterwards, I plan to expand the marketing of my ZICS product to various Asian countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, India, and Vietnam. “I aim to upgrade my system to be more efficient and affordable for all my consumers,” said Radziah. She also plans to expand her market to America and Africa, where seaweed cultivation is also prevalent. 

The most important lesson she learned during her entrepreneurial journey is to never give up. 

“We need to exercise patience. Entrepreneurship encompasses a broader scope than just business. The result does not happen instantaneously. It requires a significant amount of energy and effort to ensure satisfactory results,” she said. 

Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to continue learning, regardless of their level of experience. 

“Every day, new trends and knowledge emerge. If we fail to allocate time for learning, we will find ourselves falling behind. 

“I encourage entrepreneurs to join Shell LiveWIRE in order to refine their entrepreneurial ideas and transform them into something that can contribute to boosting the country’s economic activity,” she said. 

Badariah Abdullah Sani and Syed Mohd Nazri Abdul Hata, Le Doux Coffee. 

According to Badariah, Le Doux Coffee primarily focuses on selling coffee and offering a Barista Training Programme. The inspiration for their venture stems from the significant impact of Covid-19, which led to the unfortunate loss of their jobs.

“That was the turning point when we embarked on our journey to open a coffee business. We understand the emotions and challenges that come with unemployment and job loss, which is why we have been inspired to pursue this programme,” she said. 

She learned about Shell LiveWIRE through a friend and was inspired to apply to join the programme right away. 

Founder of Le Doux Coffee at their cafe from left Badariah Abdullah Sani, Syed Mohd Nazrie _ Tairiah Abdullah Sani 

Founder of Le Doux Coffee Badariah Abdullah Sani (left) _ Syed Mohd Nazrie (right) with mock cheque Rm10,000.

Founder Syed Mohd Nazrie (left) _ Badariah Abdullah Sani (right) at their cafe in Penampang

Le Doux Coffee team 

Our Certified Barista Syed Nazrie (right) show how to steam milk to participants Mohd Adeeb (left) 

“Initially, I had no idea about the workings of Shell, but I am aware that it is one of the leading global companies. This presents a valuable opportunity for us to expand our understanding of the business world. “We completed a comprehensive five-day course where we acquired a wealth of valuable information and knowledge pertaining to the field of business. “In addition, we offer pitching sessions that help boost our confidence when speaking in front of people, particularly the judges. 

“After spending several days learning, we were given the opportunity to compete with 10 other entrepreneurs. Our task was to develop innovative ideas and create businesses that would enable us to secure a spot in the top five. The ultimate goal was to win the RM10,000 prize. 

“Alhamdulillah! We had the opportunity to place in the top five and won RM10,000. We aim to empower the local community, especially in rural areas, to reduce unemployment with the trust given by Shell,” she said. 

She acknowledged that they faced numerous challenges in their business venture. “It can be challenging to connect with individuals who are unemployed in rural areas, but we will make an effort to collaborate with organisations and the government sector in order to obtain the necessary data,” she said. 

Regarding their future plans, she said that they intend to establish an academy specifically designed for a Barista Training Programme.

She said that the coffee industry in Sabah has been witnessing a surge in coffee consumption and the emergence of coffee shops, particularly in urban areas like Kota Kinabalu. 

Top selling at Le Doux Coffee - Ice Caffe Latte _ Premium Ice Chocolate

“The most important lesson I have learned in my entrepreneurial journey is to never give up and to never be afraid to start a business. “Once you have formulated a well-defined plan, you can begin implementing specific actions to propel your business towards progress. Delaying progress in business can result in missed opportunities. She said that taking risks can help you learn and grow as an entrepreneur. “My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in the busing industry is that they must have a strong passion for what they do. Having passion is crucial for building a strong foundation for your business and establishing its core values. “When you are passionate about your own business, you will never give up and because you are not giving up, you will put forth your full effort to make things happen for your business,” she said. 

Rositinah Andahang and Mainah Himbulan, Grace Creation Enterprise. 

“In 2019, we initiated the beadwork craft with our first community group in Nabawan,” said Rositinah. She said that they organised a basic beadwork workshop to teach women how to create beadwork for their personal use and for selling as souvenirs. 

“Due to the pandemic, our community was unable to be active until 2022. In September 2022, we organised another beadwork workshop in Kampung Labang, Sapulut. This workshop was a continuation of our previous efforts, where we successfully taught basic bead crafting to 19 communities. 

“After a few months, there was an increase in demand for the bead craft. We recently conducted another workshop, this time in three different locations: Kampung Balaron Sapulut, Kg Sandukan, and Kg Binanding Pegalungan,” she said. 

Beadwork Handycraft with community  

Beadwork Handycraft with community

Rositinah and co founder Mainah Himbulan

Rositinah Andahang (founder) and products  

She said that they currently have 89 active community members producing beadwork handicrafts. The motivation behind their business is to empower Murut women by providing them with the opportunity to earn their own income. 

“The majority of our community consists of housewives. They are unable to seize opportunities due to the deficiencies in education. “Our goal is to educate individuals about the distinctive qualities of the Murut handicraft motive, which carries its own unique meaning and story,” she said. They connected with Shell LiveWIRE through a WhatsApp group and Facebook. 

“During the five-day Shell LiveWIRE workshop, we gained valuable insights on how to enhance our business growth by expanding our knowledge. “We have established new networking connections with potential clients and collaborators. The programme has also aided us in expanding our thinking and refining our strategy for the future. 

With Our Community Leader  

“One of our biggest challenges occurred when we were just starting out, right in the midst of the pandemic. “Due to the pandemic, we were unable to expand our business during that period. We were able to overcome this challenge by maintaining a positive attitude and refusing to give up,” she said. 

With the knowledge and support they have gained from Shell LiveWIRE, their goal is to enhance the production and quality of their beadwork handicrafts. “We also want to market our products across Malaysia and abroad,” she said.

Her advice to budding entrepreneurs is, “Step out of your comfort zone and make an effort to learn as much as you can.” 

Norsita Nordin and Nurashikin Aliuddin, Leonarcta. 

Norsita said that Leonarcta is a company that specialises in the sale and distribution of dried anchovies. “I started the business in 2020 as a family venture. It officially commenced operations on February 8, 2022,” shared Norsita, the proud owner of the business. 

She said that their business is a family-owned enterprise and they aim to capitalise on the significant market potential for ancill fish, which will not only promote economic growth but also contribute to the development of the community. 

Their objective is to establish a company that stands out for its well-structured operational framework. She discovered Shell LiveWIRE through her friends and social media. 

Leonarcta product and NORSITA NORDIN 

Leonarcta product

“My experience with Shell LiveWIRE has been a transformative journey. It has provided me with valuable insights into the world of business, boosting my confidence in my own venture. Additionally, the mentoring and funding support I have received have been invaluable,” she said. 

When discussing challenges, she said that she has faced a variety of obstacles, one of which is the limitation in producing ancillary fish products. 

“However, I have discovered a solution by innovating the traditional ancill cage and transforming it into a modern design. This new design guarantees a consistent and efficient production of dry ancill fish,” she explained. 

The community they are impacting 

The community they are impacting

“My future plans include the establishment of two modern anchor fish cages and a processing factory for anchor-based products. The overarching goal is to become a sustainable and competitive company.” 

One of the most significant lessons she learned during her entrepreneurial journey is the crucial role of maintaining unwavering confidence in the company’s potential to reach new heights.

She advised aspiring entrepreneurs to join Shell LiveWire and acquire as much business knowledge as possible. 

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