Transforming Business Through The Rural Business Challenge
One of the Rural Business Challenge (RBC) participants in 2013, 36-year-old Syuhaini Abdul Rahman attributes her success in winning the Challenge to her meticulous preparations throughout the entire year, as well as closely sticking to the requirements of the Challenge of developing rural areas and bringing benefits to the rural community.
Syuhaini operates FBC Resources, a factory producing bakery goods, pies and cakes. “Prior to winning the RBC, my business was making RM960,000 in revenues yearly. I was renting the upper floor of a shophouse, I was operating small-scale machines, and the product packaging was pretty plain,” she elaborates.
She came to know about the RBC via the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism International Exhibition (MAHA) 2012, and decided to enter the Challenge. “Winning the RBC has changed my business tremendously,” she said. Using the RBC grant, she has been able to start construction on a 10,000 square-foot factory, and apply for HACCP and halal certification. She has also been able to scale up her production operations with larger-size machines and equipment, expand the number of sales and marketing channels, and design her packaging technology. “Today, thanks to the RBC, I have increased my annual gross income to RM1.5 million,” she discloses.
According to Syuhaini, most rural entrepreneurs focus on production, and not so much on marketing or developing their sales channels. However, this means that their products were not getting the necessary exposure. “It would be good if the government provided support to rural businesses on their sales and marketing strategies; that way, they can keep on focusing on what they do best in terms of production,” she suggests.
As for people in the rural community who would like to go into business for themselves, Syuhaini advises them to look at the resources available out-of-town, and use them as a start to their business. “There is a demand for countryside products in towns and urban centres, so they should consider selling and marketing those goods,” she clarifies.
Source: National Transformation Programme Annual Report 2015