Mdm Rafizah Nijal (left) and Mr Vinod Chauhan, Business Advisor (Right)
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill
The journey of Mdm Rafizah Nijal is a perfect illustration of the quote above. After a corporate restructure in her company in 2010, the mother of 2 was laid off her fulltime job, and months later her husband was faced with a similar predicament.
Confronted with what she describes as one of her darkest moments in life, this tenacious lady did not back down. On the contrary, it spurred her on to work harder. Mdm Rafizah began seeking alternative sources of income to support her family and in 2013, Fyza Bakers Delicatessen was born.
The home baker started out making and selling frozen food to Al-Azhar, a frozen food supplier. In addition, she was also selling her bakes to F&B store owners and subsequently, sold pre-packed lunches to corporate companies such as HSBC.
In February 2018, Mdm Rafizah received the opportunity to participate in the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) Micro Business Programme where she was formally introduced to business management modules. The Micro Business Programme is a collaboration between AMP and SME Centre @SMCCI, aimed to equip individuals with trade, business and IT skills to start a home-based business.
Under the programme, she was paired with one of our Business Advisor, Mr Vinod Chauhan. Under Mr Vinod’s mentorship, Mdm Rafizah gained knowledge in areas such as business planning, financial forecasting and content marketing on social media. Today, Mdm Rafizah sells a variety of pastries, cakes and bread and promotes her business largely through word-of-mouth, events and social media.
“It was inspiring to see Mdm Rafizah’s growth in business over the course of 8 months. She gained the confidence to execute her marketing strategies effectively after learning key content marketing tactics and demonstrated excellent customer service when dealing with her clients. When I first got to know Mdm Rafizah, her passion and talent in baking was outstanding and I knew she just needed the right tools to set her business in motion. It was really fulfilling to learn that she was able to expand her business further through this programme, and I am glad to be given the opportunity to be a part of her entrepreneurial journey,” shared Mr Vinod.
Today, Mdm Rafizah is recognised as a valedictorian at the AMP Micro Business Programme and is 1 of the 4 Capital Grant Winners. Grant winners receive up to $1,000 in funding to assist entrepreneurs in their business expansion plans.
In her valedictorian speech, Mdm Rafizah attributed her success to her family as her main pillar of support through her trials and tribulations, and Mr Vinod for his contributions as a mentor and Business Advisor. “Through Mr Vinod’s assistance, I was able to identify opportunities in the market and learn how I can position my products in a way that would stand out from my competitors. Now, I am also catering my bakes to niche markets such as breastfeeding and expecting mothers, and customers with vegan dietary requirements,” explained Mdm Rafizah.
Today, Mdm Rafizah’s sales have tripled since she first started her baking business. When asked about her plans moving forward, Mdm Rafizah hopes to one day own a centralised kitchen where she can produce her bakes in large quantities to meet demand. Currently she is also looking to set up a storefront to take her business forward.