From cleaner to proud owner of cake shop

2/17/2012 — New Straits Times

Kuala Lipis: Fazlinawati Abdul, who used to sell  kuih from house to house in her village, never dreamt that one day she would be able to have her own bakery.

Thanks to the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) empowerment programme, she is now the proud owner of Qaseh Alina, the first bakery in Kampung Telamin, near here.
The shop sells various types of cakes, including Swiss rolls, banana and cheese cakes.
Fazlinawati’s success has made her a role model for the ECER empowerment programme, which was introduced to provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, increase the income of participants  and boost the academic achievements of students in the east coast.
“After joining the programme last year, I have learnt cake-making and how to run a business.
“I managed to earn an additional income of more than RM1,500 monthly, which  helped me to open a cake shop in just a year,” said the 37-year-old mother of two.
Fazlinawati is the first ECER empowerment programme participant who opened a shop with her own money.
She recorded brisk sales throughout last year, especially during Hari Raya Aidilfitri when she raked in more than RM5,000  a month.
“I am lucky to own a cake shop.  When I first started selling kuih, I  earned less than RM600 a month,” said Fazlinawati, who worked as a cleaner before she started selling kuih in 2010.
In the initial stage, Fazlinawati would send her kuih to her customers’ homes or offices. When her products received good response, she started to supply frozen kuih in bigger quantities.
Among her popular products at that time were frozen curry puffs and kuih sepit (love letter).
“I plan to expand my business by producing and distributing other food products, including noodles and rice vermicelli,” said   Fazlinawati, who also makes birthday and wedding cakes.
ECER Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said the main objective of the  programme was to help  people learn new skills and earn higher income.
“We hope more entrepreneurs will be produced through this programme,” he said, adding that ECERDC would introduce  free courses under the programme in Cameron Highlands, Raub and Bachok soon.
Among the courses offered are frontline professionalism, hawker management, sewing and fashion design, cooking, bridal make-up, mobile phone repairs, computer networking and information communications technology-related training.