BERA, April 17 — Making and selling traditional snacks started just as a pastime for housewife Noratizam Abdul Latif, who is now a successful businesswoman — made possible with various aid provided by the government.
Noratizam, 48, said she started making traditional snacks, such as rempeyek, dodol and kerepek on a small scale from the kitchen in her home for her regular customers, mostly her neighbours in Kampung Batu Papan here.
“It was just as a pastime, and also to supplement the household income as my husband only does odd job and has no fixed income, she told Bernama when met at the Rural Entrepreneur Carnival ([email protected]), at Laman Kerayong here recently.
She said her life, and that of her family, changed after she received the entrepreneur development aid of RM15,000 from the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority’s (Risda) last year.
She used the fund to upgrade her workshop and buy the necessary equipment to enable her to increase her production of the traditional snacks.
Noratizam, who has three children, now employs six workers at her snack food workshop and her products are also sold at supermarkets throughout Pahang.
Another success story is that of wood carver Zarina Abu Samah, 54, who received aid of RM40,000 in 1991 from then Rural Development Ministry (now known as Rural and Regional Development Ministry) which she used to buy the machine and equipment for wood carving.
“At that time, many people questioned on my choice of business, why wood carving and not food business like most housewives. Luckily, I got the government’s backing to uplift the art of Malay wood carving by providing me the financial aid to develop my business,” she said.
Zarina said she also received aid of RM10,000 under the Additional Economic Activity from Risda in 2014 which she used to upgrade her workshop in Kampung Bangau Tanjung, Temerloh.
The recipient of the Pahang Eminent Entrepreneur Award for 2012 said she was able to earn up to RM20,000 a month and the clients for her wood carvings were government department, private companies and individuals from all over the country.
The government also provides aid for the young people to venture into business and one of the recipients is Mohd Faiz Abdul Hamid, 27, whose barber shop in Pekan Bera was provided by RISDA under the entrepreneur development programme in July last year.
He has been in the business since the age of 15 and now earns about RM2,000 a month.
“Before, I was only able to get RM200 to RM300 a month, operating from the house and with no proper hair-cutting tools, but now, with the aid provided by the government, I’m able to have a shop and earn more,” he added. — Bernama