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Malaysian Female Entrepreneurs Who Are Making A Difference

Malaysian female entrepreneurs who are making a difference

Female entrepreneurs are emerging as a powerful force in Malaysia’s startup ecosystem. They’ve become disruptors and innovators, creating a lasting impact on business in Malaysia. On the occasion of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, which takes place on November 19, we spoke with three female founders, Atirah Daniel (Manis Leting), Rejina Rahim (Wahine Capital), and Dr. Norilmi Ismail (SpaceIn), about their entrepreneurial journeys and provided helpful tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs.

The sweetness of life with less worry: Amirah Jasmine and Atirah Danial, Manis Leting

Inspired by their diabetic mother’s sweet tooth, Amirah Jasmine and Atirah Daniel started on a mission to combat Malaysia’s diabetes, which ranked first in Southeast Asia, noting that the average adult consumes seven teaspoons of sugar per day. Timi Syrup, a low-calorie, sugar-free stevia-based sweetener, was born. Their objective was to offer a genuine solution to the diabetic community, allowing individuals to enjoy the sweetness of life with less worry.

As an Alpha Startups™ Pre-Accelerator Programme (cohort 47) winner, Manis Leting has experienced continuous growth and success and garnered media attention in the last couple of months.

“At the moment, we’ve been concentrating on obtaining Halal certification and targeting cafe chains, restaurants, and bars as they use a high volume of syrup sweeteners that contain almost 70% sugar. We also see a lot of possibilities in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, which will be our primary emphasis once we are more established, says Atirah.

Athirah at Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre to Celebrate World Diabetes Day 2023 Manis Leting
Atirah at Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre to Celebrate World Diabetes Day 2023 Manis Leting


Atirah’s entrepreneurial habits:
The most important habit for becoming an entrepreneur is setting and focusing on goals. Learn to improvise when things don’t go as planned. If Plan A fails, don’t give up! Plan B should be carried out as best as possible. Be enthusiastic about your company, and remember why you started it in the first place.

Atirah’s advice for women entrepreneurs:
Believe in yourself and your vision at all times. Entrepreneurship demands unwavering dedication and hard work. Initiating and running a business presents formidable challenges and setbacks, but it’s crucial to stay connected with your initial purpose. Surround yourself with positive influences—individuals who stand by you and support your venture. 

Success often requires taking calculated risks and learning from inevitable mistakes. Reflect on personal failures as integral components of the learning and maturation process. Remember, with the right mindset and a supportive network, you can surmount any obstacles that come your way. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance when needed, as doing so is a strength, not a weakness. Armed with the right mindset, success is not just a possibility but a likelihood in your entrepreneurial journey.

Solving social problems by helping women gain financial confidence for life. – Rejina Rahim and Sherry Sheriff, Wahine Capital 

To address the challenges women face due to societal and financial factors, Rejina Rahim and co-founder Sherry Sheriff established Wahine Capital. Their innovative platform, W Vault, empowers women to take control of their finances, and strategically plan for unexpected life events such as divorce or death. Drawing from over 25 years in investment management, Rejina aimed to make a meaningful impact through Wahine Capital, emphasizing the significance of viewing women as valuable assets, reflected in the name “Wahine,” which means woman in Maori.

“Financial independence provides women with options. It does not imply that they have to be incredibly wealthy. It simply means that women have the freedom to live their lives without having to worry about debt repayments or waiting for the next paycheque. Modern living forces us to live beyond our means. Many people believe that you must be wealthy to invest, or that you must invest to be wealthy.” Rejina continues, “You need to be able to reduce your debt and save more.” 

Rejina pitching at the FIKRA ACE Accelerator Demo Day, organised by Securities Commission Malaysia 1337 Ventures
Rejina pitching at the FIKRA ACE Accelerator Demo Day, organised by Securities Commission Malaysia

Rejina’s entrepreneurial habits:
As an entrepreneur, don’t compare yourself with others (this is the tough one for me as I am super competitive). 

Rejina’s advice for women entrepreneurs:
Just go for it. The timing will never be perfect. What’s the worst that can happen? You might fail, but you would have gained invaluable experience, and you can truly say you gave it your best shot and did not wonder what if. A steady paycheck is great, but it deadens your senses, and you will never truly see what you are capable of.


Reaching for the stars, Dr.Norilmi Ismail, SpaceIn

Dr. Norilmi Ismail, a senior lecturer at the University of Science, Malaysia (USM), embarked on a mission to create job opportunities within the emerging local space industry by founding SpaceIn

“My students often asked about the job opportunities available in Malaysia upon graduating from the aerospace or space industry.” Dr. Norilmi shares. In August 2020, SpaceIn achieved a significant milestone when it was chosen by USM as a spin-off company, specializing in small satellites and Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Recently, they etched their name in history with the successful launch of Malaysia’s inaugural picosatellite, SpaceANT-D, aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, USA.

Dr. Norilmi envisions SpaceIn playing a crucial role in addressing diverse challenges across industries, ranging from agriculture and forestry to oil and gas, thereby contributing to both industrial and societal advancements.

Malaysia’s first picosatellite, SpaceANT-D at SpaceX SpaceIn 1337 Ventures
Malaysia’s first picosatellite, SpaceANT-D at SpaceX

Dr. Norilmi’s entrepreneurial habits:
A desire to learn and a thirst for information. This is because you will be learning something new every day.

Dr. Norilmi’s advice for women entrepreneurs:
If you aspire to be an entrepreneur, speak to as many people as possible to seek out advice beforehand. Then, take a leap of faith and go for it. Having a passion also helps because it will keep you motivated when you face ups and downs in business. As women, we often wear multiple hats; it is always a good idea to seek support from those around you. Lastly, remember to take breaks and “me time” while building your business.

Feeling inspired by the incredible journeys of these Malaysian women entrepreneurs? Their vision and determination are not just reshaping industries but also opening doors for a more inclusive and diverse entrepreneurial landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned female entrepreneur or a budding startup founder, kick-start your journey with the Alpha Startups™ Pre-Accelerator Online. This free, self-paced online accelerator programme includes everything you need to grow your startup. Enrol today at https://1337.ventures/asda/.

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