Social Enterprise

To Empower Vulnerable M’sian Mums, This Trio Teaches Them To Run Their Own Home-Baking Biz

7.1 million people of the working age (15-64) are outside of the labour force, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) found in 2019.

Out of those 7.1 million, 4.8 million of them are women. 42.6% of them stayed at home because of home/children responsibilities whereas another 9.4% of them are retired. 

Moreover, 54% of EPF members aged 54 have less than RM50K saved, according to this report by Malay Mail.

When Aida, Wei Qi and Ming Chi studied these statistics, they questioned how these mothers would be able to sustain the rest of their lives with these financial worries. 

“If we could empower one mother to earn a living, we are closer to closing the economic gap in Malaysia,” the 3 realised, and hence, Ibupreneur was born. 

Creating A Platform For Mothers To Join Forces

“Ibupreneur was inspired by the people around us. Women and relatives who were so talented, but require support to kick-start their business journey and reach financial independence/comfort,” Aida shared with Vulcan Post.

“We realised that if we joined forces, we can create a sustainable living from the traditional and modern way of running a business with technology.”

So they created a platform where unemployed, stay-at-home mothers could sell their baked goods with the support they needed.

The requirements they set out for those who want to join Ibupreneur are “vulnerable” and “financially-dependent” mothers, which include:

  • Mothers in the B40 group,
  • Single mothers,
  • Retired mothers with low EPF levels and financially dependent on their children or the government.

“For example, our single mother, Ely, depends on RM500 government pension fund or her eldest daughter while earning additional income from her kek lapis home-business,” Aida explained.

The Internals Of The Business

One of the questions I had in mind when looking through Ibupreneur was how much control these mothers have over their business.

Are they told what to bake or do they propose what they can best bake?

“We sit with them to explore what they love to bake and what products they bake best. For instance, some love baking kek lapis whereas some love baking cookies,” Aida answered.

The founders would also help these mothers identify the market and assist them in navigating the competition. 

Aida with Khairy at MaGIC’s #BuyForImpact event, and a mumpreneur selling in a pop-up store / Image Credit: Digital News Asia / Ibupreneur

Aida, Wei Qi and Ming Chi focus on business strategy and fundraising, whereas the mumpreneurs focus on the products, operations, and innovating new recipe ideas.

Since all their mumpreneurs are bakers, it’s hard not to run into another mother who bakes the same thing, which may create internal competition.

However, Aida shared that each mother actually takes ownership of their own product line. For instance, if one mother bakes chocolate chip kek lapis, they will not take the same product from another mother. 

Their mothers also work in pairs, so if one mother is sick and unable to bake one day, the other mother can take over as back up. 

Working Towards Ensuring A Consistent Income Every Month

“It is very difficult to sell perishable products through Shopee, because our products are fragile cakes and we partner with Lalamove for delivery,” Aida explained when we asked why they started their own site over just teaching the mums to sell on other e-commerce sites.

She also added that it is relatively difficult for their mothers to stand out with their products in a crowded platform like Shopee where customers tend to look for lower prices.

The revenue earned from sales is split 60-40 between the mothers and the company respectively. The founders reinvest their share of profits into the business, and also their latest platform called IbuDigital to create more tech-savvy mumpreneurs. 

As of now, their mothers all bake from home, but the Ibupreneur team hopes to provide them with a cloud kitchen in 2021 so they can work together. They’re currently still raising funds to support this venture in the first 6 months.

Aida with the Ibupreneurs / Image Credit: Ibupreneur

Mothers who are interested in joining them won’t have an expected income yet, as they’re still working towards ensuring a consistent amount they can get for these mothers. 

“Different mothers have different product lines, and it depends on how hard they work to innovate new recipes.” 

“According to DM Analytics managing director Muhammed Abdul Khalid, it takes RM900 a month to lift the vulnerable. Hence, we ensure our mums meet RM500 minimum/month and up to RM7,000 on a good festive month,” Aida explained. 

Success Stories From Their Mumpreneurs

One of the many mumpreneurs they’ve helped is a single-mother, Helen, who’s no longer working. She and her sister-in-law got came onboard Ibupreneur and revived the recipes their mothers used to bake. 

They soon became business-savvy and built up their income, gaining financial independence once more. Moreover, they also grew closer as a family. 

“The mothers, Laura and Helen, come to me and say they would like to tackle a particular market—even some pointers I never knew of. So, it’s exciting to see how their thinking of business has improved,” Aida shared. 

Another mum they’ve helped on their platform is Izziana, a mother of 5, whom they recruited over MCO. Izziana lost her income from selling fruits in the market, where she used to earn RM200/a day 4 times a week.

Izziana was paired up with another Ibupreneur, Roy, whom she learnt baking and online business skills from. 

Working with Ibupreneur provided Izziana with more convenience and efficiency since she could run her baking business any time of the day at home, as opposed to travelling to Bangsar from Gombak to sell fruits. 

She currently makes 9 different types of cookies from 1 product and even sells some of these cookies in her pop-up stalls too. 

Some of their products include kek lapis, pineapple tart and murukku / Image Credit: Ibupreneur

Currently, their priority is to ensure a minimum of RM2.5k of monthly income for the mumpreneurs and get CSR funds to help them scale up. 

Fortunately, they’re supported by MaGIC and TBN Asia and are working under the PENJANA SIM Grant. 

Once they’ve stabilised, they’ll be getting more mothers onboard to expand their product line and scale up production. They would eventually want to revamp their packaging and storage for their products to be kept longer. 

  • You can learn more about Ibupreneur here.
  • You can read other social enterprises we’ve written about here.

Featured Image Credit: Aida Zunaidi, co-founder of Ibupreneur

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