With business ideas ranging from agrotourism to a new brand of nutritious, vibrantly coloured fun noodles, the entrepreneurs will also benefit from three years’ mentoring and coaching support from Shell LiveWIRE Malaysia to help establish themselves in the marketplace. Also, where possible, Shell Malaysia will endeavour to include them in its supply chain.

This year, to give the young entrepreneurs an early taste of the real business world, Shell LiveWIRE introduced a competitive element to the funding selection process, in the form of a pitching workshop and judging. The ten most promising entrepreneurs to have successfully completed of the programme’s ‘Become a Successful Owner Manager’ enterprise development module, were given the opportunity to improve their business pitching skills in an exclusive coaching workshop, before pitching their idea live to an expert panel of business leaders from the public and private sectors. The five winners to receive start-up funding were selected on the viability of their business model, its commercial potential, their entrepreneurial acumen and the strength of their pitch.

Pitching competition

Commenting on the pitching competition, one of the judges, Zaiton Bakri, Group Manager of Pusat Kraftangan Sabah, Yayasan Sabah, said, “The purpose of this competitive model is to inculcate a tenacious and results-driven mindset among young entrepreneurs. Everyone begins with an idea, and Shell has provided funding and support to bring these ideas to life. But true success is measured by how these entrepreneurs grow that idea and sustain it independently.”

The other judges included Danny Murshidi, Wells Reservoir Facilities Management, Sabah Shell Petroleum Company and Ariff Shahbudin, District Manager, Retail-East Malaysia, Shell Timur Sdn Bhd.

As a pre-condition to obtaining the start-up finance, each entrepreneur will have to officially incorporate their business, finalise their business plan and model, and begin marketing their products and services.

Commenting at the awards presentations. Ian Lim, General Manager, Sabah Shell Petroleum Company, said, “There is so much potential in Sabah and we’re always amazed with the ideas that our Sabahan youths bring to the table. It really shows how visionary and eager they are to learn, seek guidance and give back.

“What’s truly impressive is the confidence they have for their business ideas that will contribute to Sabah’s growth – whether through community empowerment, environmental sustainability, or economic development. We consider it a privilege to be part of the vision that these youths are charting and leading for the state.”

The five young entrepreneurs who successfully pitched for start-up funding are:

Aisyah Aqilah

Through her research, Aisyah found a way to process coconuts into a wider range of cosumer products, including desserts, supplements and fresh coconut under her Healthy Buko Pandan brand.

Anis Nadia

Intends to establish an agrotourism facility that not only provides a wide variety of fruits for her to make juices under the Fruit Joey label, but also to create a bigger tourist attraction from the thousands of visitors that travel through Kota Belud.

Eva Tan Kim Yen

Using the knowledge of her family’s noodle manufacturing business, Eva has developed Fun Noodle; with fruits and vegetables embedded into the flour, creating vibrantly coloured noodles that are fun and nutritious.

Sariyaman Sabur

Discovering that the community of Kunak has excess tapioca production, Sari has ventured into contract farming with the community and has developed tapioca nuggets and other products under the brand name PADAidi.

Zurainizam Osman

As a mother of two, Zurainizam is aware of the challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers. Through her established cookie baking business, she combined her experiences to develop cookies that stimulate lactation for the benefit of the breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Commenting on her award, Sariyaman Sabur said, “It has been a wonderful and eye-opening journey with Shell LiveWIRE. I never thought my small idea could have such potential. I am truly grateful to Shell who has continuously invested in building talent in Sabah to equip the future generation of Sabah.”

Eva Tan Kim Yen added, “It was a lot of hard work throughout the programme. But what really pushed me was to build confidence to present to an experienced panel of people in the business. They have so much knowledge and I’m eager to learn more from my mentors. I’m confident the wisdom they impart will not just help me with my business idea, but also for the community I belong to.”

Workshop programme

The Shell LiveWIRE Malaysia programme consists of workshops aimed at equipping young entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak to unleash their entrepreneurial potential. These include:

  • Bright Ideas – the first workshop to develop entrepreneurs’ understanding of the local market and helps them generate business ideas with the highest potential in Malaysia.
  • Become a Successful Owner Manager (BSOM) – aimed at refining the business ideas of individual entrepreneurs, this workshop ensures that participants can develop a robust plan to develop their respective businesses.
  • Masterclasses – dedicated sessions open to all members of the LiveWIRE programme to develop specific concepts or skills relevant to their businesses, such as branding and marketing, supply chain management etc.
  • Pitching workshop and competition – the latest addition to the Shell Malaysia LiveWIRE portfolio, this aims to provide the necessary skills for leading entrepreneurs to seek support from private and public sector organisations to grow their businesses.