By Jasrinder Kaur
Stand shoulder to shoulder with your husband and lead where you can. Always remain positive and surround yourself with positive people.
These are some words of advise from Manjit Kaur, the first woman to win the Perdana Young Indian Entrepreneurs Award 2017 (PYIEA).
The Malaysian award recognises the telecommunication-based business she started seven years ago with her husband Rajender Singh.
“We took a friendly loan from my father as we didn’t have sufficient funds when we started. I’m happy to report that we’ve paid him back with interest,” she told Asia Samachar in an interview.
The 36-year-old entrepreneur is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Divine Spectrum Sdn Bhd which has a staff strength of 105 people and posted a turnover of RM5.9 million in 2016.
The award, organised by the Malaysian Indian Entrepreneurs Cooperative (MIEC), was first introduced in 2004.
It is open to all Malaysian Indians aged between 25 to 40 who have been into business for at least five years and a minimum annual turnover of RM1 million for the past five years. It recognises the achievements of outstanding entrepreneurs who have established and have full grown business, with the main aim being to ‘recognise their entrepreneurial spirit’.
“Some of the award winners have really gone through quite a bit. And it’s good to see a woman finally landing the award,” said Ranjit Singh, an audit expert and partner in a Singapore-listed Axcelasia Inc, one of the judges for the awards.
Beside PYIEA, Manjit also won the Telecommunication Service Provider category award presented by Malaysian Health Minister Dr S Subramanian.
Manjit went through her schooling at Convent Johor Bahru and completed her BA (Hon) in Accounts and Finance at Help University Kuala Lumpur. Shen then pursued ACCA at FTC Singapore. She is now a member of FCCA (UK) & CA(M).
She started as an auditor at Ernst & Young. Four years later, she joined Shell Malaysia. Two years down the road, she and her husband launched Divine Spectrum, with YTL’s YES Project as their first project.
At peak periods, Manjit managed 350 engineers working on projects for Malaysian telecommunication providers like Celcom, Maxis, Digi, Umobile and Webe.
Along the way, she had also managed the company’s diversification into businesses like equipment rentals and civil works.
“I thank my parents, Harban Singh and Nirmal Kaur, for their continued support, unconditional love and prayers throughout our journey,” she said.
The mother of four kids – Thrishal Raj, Gaurav Raaj, Sonam Raj & Sonia Raj – spoke to Asia Samachar.
Q&A WITH MANJIT KAUR:
What is your advice to our Punjabi boys and girls who want to go into business?
Be confident. Business is risky. Always be positive, have positive vibes, surround yourself with positive people, act positive, think positive thoughts, speak positive words, play positive music and uplifting songs, keep your environment positive.
Always be reasonable, practical, make sure you have financial knowledge, be financially wise, be confident, know your market. Use your strength. Tap all opportunities around you. Make sure you are able to repay your stakeholders. Apply the power of visualisation. Have hope in yourself, in your visualisation. Take appropriate action.
What did you learn from this competition?
Have a ‘No give-up attitude’. Lots of ups and downs, especially for females. There is cheating as well. Hence, I learnt this lesson: Do not trust anyone. Investigate first. Do your own study…research. Due diligence is required. You need some maturity in thinking to make decisions. Maturity is important and be a sole decision maker.
What are the challenges running a business as a husband and wife team?
I have the best team ever with my husband. We make the best of partners. We are very matured. At the work place, we are very professional. We do not allow our personal life to interfere with our professional life. Work is strictly work. We work at the same wave-length. My husband has always supported me and believed in me. He is from the telecommunication industry. Both of us run the company together.
What is your advice to women, who are also home-makers, who want to go into business?
I have four kids, between the ages of 5 to 9. I have a helper. In running a business and a home, multitasking is important. You need to know what you want in life. Then, you have to start from somewhere. You got to think outside the box. In my case, my dad has always supported me, even financially and I am very thankful for that. One of my success is the ability to repay the loan I took from my parents completely with interest. I am happy to have supportive parents and spouse. Breaking society taboos, like girls only take care of the house, has to be challenged tactfully. As ladies, we have to work harder and smarter. Use Google and investigate before going into a business.
Even if you are not able to go to an office and work, you can still stay home and earn. There are lots of home based businesses to explore. Just remember, be equal to your husband and earn equally. Stand shoulder to shoulder and lead the way. We have the knowledge. And with age and experience, we have the ability to explore new pastures.
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