Saturday, June 6

Five more Sabahan startups awarded Shell seed grant

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Sabah Shell LiveWIRE 2019 winners.

KOTA KINABALU: For the fifth year running, Shell has awarded a RM10,000 seed grant each to five Sabahan entrepreneurs who outdid 81 other entrepreneurs in the Sabah Shell LiveWIRE programme.

The five recipients of the seed grant from Sabah are Nurahzrine bt Siluan, Xtina Tan, Zazila Roselan, Mohd Iman Jabilin and Gerald Thomas Wong.

Their journey began through the Bright Ideas workshops that were conducted in Keningau, Penampang, and Kota Kinabalu last month.

These entrepreneurs have had to demonstrate their readiness to grow their respective business ideas based on their business plans and their presentations to a panel of judges to be crowned winners for the 2019 Sabah Shell LiveWIRE programme.

Nurahzrine’s idea is to introduce exo fertigation techniques to farmers and landowners of unusable land that is considered unsuitable for conventional farming. With exo-fertigation, the land can be transformed into productive and income generating land.

Xtina is a third generation mochi maker. Her business produces soft, fresh and hand made mochi of traditional and modern flavours. Tina hopes to expand her Sabahan mochi family business and expose it to more people and tourists that visit Sabah.

Zazila turns waste plastic into blocks that can be shaped and painted and used as a substitute for wood. The plastic wood can be used for the making of furniture, fences and posts for outdoor use amongst other things.

Mohd Iman is an experienced rehab professional and his business is the provision of rehab and prosthetic consultancy and services to patients in underserved rural areas. He intends to make it more convenient and easier for OKU (disabled) in the interior to obtain professional rehab services.

Gerald intends to take on the excessive waste of food by using Black Soldier Flies (BSF) larvae to turn food waste into something useful. His business idea is to have Black Soldier Flies larvae break down food waste, collect the BSF larvae and use the larvae as natural high protein feedstock for use in the livestock industry.

“The businesses that we’ve seen this year were some of the most innovative ideas we’ve received in the last five years. It’s especially encouraging to see local Sabahans pursuing new types of businesses that will not only grow the local economy but also contribute to the betterment of those who need it the most. I’m appreciative to Shell Malaysia for conducting the Sabah Shell LiveWIRE programme that empowers our entrepreneurs to continue pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams,” shared Datuk Asnimar Sukardi, chairperson of Sedcovest Holdings Sdn Bhd, who spared time from her Sunday to be a part of the judging panel.

Asnimar was joined by Datuk Margaret Fung, former CEO of Sabah Energy, and Kenny Huah, Finance Manager of Sabah Shell Petroleum Company, on the judging panel who had the big challenge of selecting the top five winners from this year’s top ten finalists.

These entrepreneurs were assessed based on their business pitches, after undergoing a pitching workshop that prepared them to present their entrepreneurial ideas.

Besides the RM10,000 seed grant, the winners will also receive mentoring and coaching support from Shell LiveWIRE facilitators for the next three years to empower them on their entrepreneurial aspirations and assist them in transforming their ideas to full-fledged businesses.

As winners, their businesses will also be considered to enter the Shell Malaysia value chain where relevant.

“Beyond the provision of the seed grant with coaching and mentorship, we collaborate with Shell’s wider businesses across Malaysia to identify opportunities which will enable the winners to be a part of our value chain. This includes introduction to tendering processes for the energy industry and the relevant health and safety standards that the entreupreneurs should adhere to further grow their respective businesses,” shared Prithipal Singh, General Manager of Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd.

Prithipal further added that Shell Malaysia does this to support these startups in the early stages of their businesses, where they face the most challenges. Through the LiveWIRE programme coaching, he hopes that these entrepreneurs will be equipped to competitively seek further business opportunities in the wider market.

One of last year’s winners is Irene Mositol of Dumo Organik, that works with rural farmers to improve their agricultural processes using sustainable practices. Since being awarded as a winner from the 2018 Sabah Shell LiveWIRE programme, Irene has been connected to Sabah Shell Petroleum Company’s contracting team to explore potential opportunities. Through her networks, Irene has had the opportunity to introduce the produce from farmers she works with to hotels in Kota Kinabalu.

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunities that have arisen from winning the LiveWIRE programme last year. I’m grateful that in such a short time, through the coaching and mentoring from my facilitators, and the support from Shell’s networks, I’m now able to grow my business through new customers which I’ve not considered before,” Irene shares of her experience thus far.

“As a LiveWIRE winner, I’ve also been invited to participate in the 2019 Global Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators, where I’ll have the opportunity to profile Dumo Organik on a global scale while competing with other LiveWIRE alumni from across the world. Whilst winning the competition would be great, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to meet and share knowledge with my peers from other countries,’ Irene adds.

“I was sincerely surprised with the down-to-earth way our coaches communicated with us throughout the programme. I’ve participated in other entrepreneurial development programmes in Sabah before but the LiveWIRE programme really empowered me to be confident to pursue my business ideas. With the mentoring and coaching that comes after this, I’m looking forward to realising my entrepreneurial dreams,” said Gerald.

“The LiveWIRE programme’s lessons made it easier for me to strategise and plan what I need to do next to expand my business idea and grow it into a real business. At the Become a Successful Owner Manager workshop, we had the chance to interact and ask questions to Shell Malaysia staff which will definitely help in securing new customers for my business,” said Nurahzrine.

Shell LiveWIRE is an entrepreneurial programme that seeks to unveil potential start-up entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak. It aims to inspire young entrepreneurs to innovate and produce real business solutions that meets today’s socio-economic needs.

The programme was first introduced in Sabah in 2015. Since then, Sabah Shell LiveWIRE has seen a total of 363 entrepreneurs participating in the programme. The total number of recipients of the programme’s seed grants are 23 as of today.

For further information on Shell’s LiveWIRE programmes, log on to livewire.shell.com.my