Sun, 23 Jun 2024



Shell LiveWIRE Entrepreneur Turns Waste Into Opportunities
Published on: Saturday, May 25, 2024
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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Shell LiveWIRE Entrepreneur Turns Waste Into Opportunities
Saila when she was announced one of Sabah’s Shell LiveWIRE winners in 2022.
Plastic bottles are a gloomy plague on the natural beauty of Sembulan’s water village in Kota Kinabalu. 

But for Saila Saidie, a former sub-editor and new mother, these discarded bottles are not an eyesore, but an opportunity for transformation.

Saila Saidie

In 2019, Saila’s small jewellery business, Lifetime Jewellery Designs (LJD) underwent changes.

Putting plastic to good use

The determined Sabahan from Tambunan was so moved by the plastic trash she saw that she changed the direction of her business to produce jewellery out of recycled plastic and save countless bottles from the waste.

“I couldn’t sit idly by while our waters and lands were being choked with plastic,” Saila said. 

“As a new mother, I knew I had to do something to create a better world for my child and future generations,” she added. 

Her journey as an eco-entrepreneur was not without its obstacles. Balancing the needs of her family and fledgling business, Saila often felt overwhelmed. 

The Shell LiveWIRE journey

However, in 2021, Saila came to learn about the Shell LiveWIRE initiative by Shell Malaysia, which sent her on a new path of development and empowerment.

“Shell LiveWIRE changed my life. Through seminars, mentoring and the wisdom of business leaders like Ts Noor Azmi Mat Said, I gained invaluable knowledge in entrepreneurship and company management. I went from feeling adrift to confidently navigating the challenges before me,” she said. 

Lifetime Jewellery Designs  (LJD) products

Launching a business while taking care of a baby felt like an impossible task to Saila.

Nevertheless, with the support of her husband and family, she was able to fully participate in the Shell LiveWIRE entrepreneurship programme and turn her business dreams into reality.

“I am really lucky to have a loving husband who puts our baby’s care and my well-being first,” Saila said. 

“He worked from home despite his own professional obligations and even made arrangements for us to stay at a nearby hotel during the programme’s sessions. Even with the difficulties of being a new mother, his encouragement enabled me to completely participate,” she added. 

Engaging and Empowering Communities

Beyond her husband’s assistance, Saila credited her supportive environment and positive mindset as key factors in her entrepreneurial success. 

“Distancing oneself from negativity and looking for support from like-minded people are critical. In this way, I was able to stay focused and resilient all the way through my entrepreneurial adventure,” she said. 

Saila also looked to the wisdom of her parents as guiding forces throughout her journey. Her father instilled values of hard work and perseverance, reminding her to “work like there’s no tomorrow, give your all in every attempt today.” 

Her mother’s advice was to “entrust everything to God,” giving Saila a sense of faith and resilience.

Engaging and Empowering Communities

“Their wisdom together is the cornerstone of my approach to both work and life, inspiring me to strive for excellence while maintaining a steadfast belief in the power of faith and hard work,” Saila said.

Saila’s determination shone through and in 2022 she was named one of Sabah’s Shell LiveWIRE winners, receiving crucial funding, mentorship, and access to new networks to accelerate LJD’s impact. 

Empowering communities

Today, her recycled plastic jewellery is turning trash into wearable art while providing employment opportunities for underprivileged communities.

Lifting local talent—especially that of housewives and  incarcerated women who are seeking a fresh start —is at the core of LJD’s goal.

Saila provides training in plastic upcycling, sharing her expertise to empower others with valuable skills, while helping them in the provision of a sustainable income source.

“The women get to learn a craft, express their creativity and earn a dignified living,” she said, adding that for around RM10 per pair of earrings, their work is given a platform to shine.

Lifetime Jewellery Designs (LJD) products

Young artisans in Sabah have also found a champion in LJD, which highlights their skills and sells their creations internationally. 

This support has proven life-changing for many, offering financial stability and a sense of pride in their cultural traditions.

But Saila’s vision extends far beyond her company. She has fostered a collaborative network of social enterprises across Sabah, believing that working together exponentially increases their collective impact.

“By pooling our resources, knowledge and experience, we create a rising tide that lifts all boats,” she said. 

“Sustainable change happens when we cooperate for the greater good of our communities,” she added. 

Lifetime Jewellery Designs (LJD) products

With valuable lessons from family and an uplifting support network, this new mom turned her entrepreneurial ambitions into reality, serving as an inspiration for aspiring business owners facing tough challenges.

To aspiring entrepreneurs Saila’s advice is “Never give up on your dreams. Resilience is the seed that blossoms into success.”

“Seek out the mentorship of industry veterans and pursue opportunities like Shell LiveWIRE that empower you with knowledge and support. 

“Joining initiatives such as Shell LiveWIRE can lead to priceless empowerment and mentoring. My involvement in the 2022 Shell LiveWIRE programme was life-changing and provided much support and information. 

“The competition occurred two years ago, but Shell LiveWIRE’s continuous support shows their dedication to developing young businesses. 

“Remember that success is a journey rather than a destination, and you open the door to your victories by pursuing your goals with determination and seizing chances for personal development,” she said. 

Lifetime Jewellery Designs (LJD) products

Through her dedication and vision, Saila has taken LJD global; currently, customers wear its products in Singapore, Brunei, and even the Netherlands.

Saila has demonstrated through her persistence that socially and ecologically responsible business practices may have a major positive social and environmental effect in addition to financial success.

From a concerned citizen to an award-winning eco-warrior, Saila’s journey serves as proof of the power of passion, perseverance and transforming obstacles into opportunities that benefit people and the environment.

Shell LiveWIRE Malaysia 2024

Following the groundbreaking 2015 launch of Shell LiveWIRE, the programme continues to nurture and fund innovative entrepreneurs pioneering sustainable solutions nationwide. 

This year, Shell is on the hunt for business innovators and environmental leaders to participate in Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, and the Klang Valley.

Engaging and Empowering Communities

Five winners from each state will receive RM10,000 seed grants, with a chance to compete nationally for an additional RM30,000 for the five national champions. 

Mentoring, business guidance, potential supplier opportunities with Shell and three years of ongoing support await the bright minds selected.

Aspiring Sabahan entrepreneurs have until June 19 to register at and embark on their own life-changing journey, following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Saila. 

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