SAKINAHTUL Nabilah Bitis has been very good in business and she has never really needed to push herself. Money came easy as a young graduate which was enough for her to survive.
The 33-year-old, who prefers to be called Nabeel was a supplier for meat and poultry since 2008 after finishing her Bachelor Degree of International Marketing in Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
“Sure, I worked hard, but it was more on the physical because when you are a food supplier, you need to work on time and carry your own supplies to ensure it is delivered perfectly. Everything will change when you are unable to carry heavy stuff, and it happened to me when I had an accident which made me hospitalised for more than a month,” she said.
Nabeel hit the rock bottom when a doctor told her that her left arm will be not functioning as usual due to the bad injuries. She locked herself in the room for most of the time, refused to talk to her friends … until one fine day her doctor advised her to register for Person with Disabilities (OKU) card to make it easy for her to get help.
“I followed the doctor’s advices and registered myself as an OKU. When I was asked to fill up the application form at the Welfare Department, there is a question about my interest. I wrote ‘I love business’.
“A few days later I received a call from the Welfare Department about a business course which is free for me to attend.
“Since the one-day course was organised for the OKUs, so it was specifically focusing on finding the right business according to our abilities.
“Just imagine, walking into the room full of OKUs who are way worst compared to my condition. It was my turning point. I feel so embarrassed for being sad when my friends without legs are all smiling,” she said.
Nebeel learned that she need to push harder. After looking at a few potential businesses according to her ability to move just one hand, Nabeel went for heat press printing. She was overwhelmed with her experience and made her first status on Facebook announcing her comeback, saying that she is interested in doing heat press printing business and currently looking forward to buy a machine. The status on her social media caught the attention of her aunt.
“My aunt said she has an unused heat press printing machine at home, and I try to look at the potential at the upcoming event of Pesta Jagung in Kota Marudu. I agreed.
“After more than a year not doing anything, to be honest, I was broke. So, I borrowed RM300 from a friend to buy undecorated mugs. Since we can customise the decoration using the machine, so many people buying during the event and all the mugs sold out.
“I was able to buy more mugs and t-shirts, and was doing it from home, where people can order online.”
Sometime in 2016, she again participated in an online course held in UMS. It was a newly launched eUsahawan programme by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), which aimed at inspiring and providing exposure to Malaysian youths and micro entrepreneurs to embrace and maximise digital entrepreneurship.
She learned how to do catchy copywriting and take interesting photos from the course.
“I spent two months practicing whatever I learned from the course and my sales went up from roughly RM800 to RM9,000 in just 60 days. Two years pushing myself to the brink of what I considered possible – doing things that I never could have foreseen myself doing.
“Yet I did them, all in a short amount of time. At times the impossible became possible. Or it was just outside my reach. But I saw it.
“I am thankful for being able to learn from the eUsahawan and today I am appointed as one of the speakers for the programme,” she said, hoping for more OKUs to find out their abilities and transform it into business.
Last year, Nabeel opened a shop lot in Wisma Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu to allow her to meet her clients.
She chose Wisma Merdeka with the help of MARA because of the location and the facilities in the mall which are OKU friendly where her friends can meet up once in a while.
Nabeel, who was inspired by the OKU community said it is her responsibility to give them back by sharing as much knowledge to those interested in business.
With her outstanding contribution to the OKU participants, she was awarded as the best participant of eUsahawan at another programme organised by MDEC, YOUCANDUIT which was held at Sabah Trade Centre in September 2016.
She was also one of the success stories for the eUsahawan programme for showing tremendous sales increase and being able to penetrate into Singapore and Indonesia.
As one of Malaysia’s top achievers using the method from eUsahawan programme, she was also chosen as one of excellent participants to meet up with the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in KLCC at the end of 2016.
As a continuation from the eUsahawan programme, Nabeel is currently involved in Level Up programme under MDEC, to drive the growth in Malaysia and South-East Asia. With four full-time workers and two part-timers in her shop, Nabeel made a bold decision to produce her own product – Premium Gift Cinta which will be launched this year.
“I am using high quality material for this particular gift product, and the potential is very high because it will be marketed in a bigger e-commerce platform. “I am looking forward to see more Sabahans, especially the OKUs to grab all opportunities as soon as possible because the world is moving so fast, and we need to act fast,” she concluded.