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KUALA TERENGGANU, Nov 27 -- The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected small businesses but big family businesses as well.
One such big business is Bekang Tok Minoh which has been in existence for more than 80 years. It had to be shuttered nearly two years ago due when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented by the government to contain spread of the virus.
Bekang Tok Minoh entrepreneur, Noryati Alias said, however, she is grateful that at the time of her company's troubles, the government was concerned and came out with various ways, including through the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP), to help revive businesses.
One of the ways was through the Buy Malaysian Products Campaign (KBBM) that helped reintroduce her "bekang kueh" products to buyers after not being in operation for a long time.
“I do not have my own kiosk (to sell) but place the kueh (cakes) in local supermarkets and shops in Kuala Terengganu only. So through the KBBM many carnivals were held in well-known supermarkets and this gave opportunities to entrepreneurs like me to introduce our products to new clientele.
"When I participate in a sales carnival like the KBBM, it is not just to make sales profit. The profit is just sufficient to settle the wages of the workers who run the stall at the carnival. My main purpose of participation (in the carnival) is to expand the network of new customers.
"The kueh is sold at cheap prices and I also give out bekang kueh and other cakes for free to visitors at the carnival in the hope that, if they like them, they will come back to buy them," she told Bernama.
When Noryati participated in the KBBM held from Sept 24-27, 2020 at the Kuala Terengganu City Centre Mall (KTCC) here, she realised that many people including the youth are fans of the traditional Terengganu kueh.
Giving a bit of history about her company, Noryati said she took over the family bekang kueh business in 2015 from her late grandmother Minoh Salleh who was the founder.
She then went on to develop the ‘Bekang Tok Minoh’ brand by marketing it in a chain of grocery stores and supermarkets as well as producing various traditional food products such as chicken rendang, ketupat palas and rendang paste.
"To ensure that fans of traditional food can enjoy "Bekang Tok Minoh" homemade cakes at any time, I also produce frozen products so customers only need to steam or reheat them in the microwave," said Noryati, who hopes to develop her own franchise one day.
Meanwhile, Terengganu KPDNHEP director Saharuddin Mohd Kia said the KBBM which is held with the Mega Sales Programme (PJM) is a government initiative to revive businesses, especially small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said besides organising the KBBM and PJM, from Sept 24-27, 2020, the government also organised the Terengganu state-level Franchise Bay Tour from April 8-10 this year and the Terengganu state-level Malaysian Family Taste Programme from Nov 11-14 at the KTCC.
He also said the Terengganu-level KBBM and PJM held in 2020 had recorded sales of RM1.45 million involving 40 entrepreneurs and one exhibitor, while the Terengganu-level Malaysian Family Taste Programme this year achieved sales of RM29,106, involving 16 entrepreneurs.
“The ministry always works with the Terengganu government through the Entrepreneur Development Foundation to hold programmes such as the KBBM. This shows that we always give entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their products through these programmes free of charge. We also want to re-encourage domestic businesses affected by COVID-19,” he added.
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