Today, Siti Mariam Ishak, 58, owns two optical shops.
Thanks to hard work and determination, the mother of six who does not possess higher education qualifications has been able to change her life for the better.
“I started from the bottom, working as an optical shop assistant in Seremban in 1983, and in Kuala Lumpur in 1988. I gained a lot of experience working in both shops, with my previous employers also showing me the ropes.
“They sent me to attend training courses and in 1994, I earned a full certificate as an optometrist.
“From then on, I was determined to open my own optical shop someday. And finally in 2001, I opened my first shop in Batu Kikir, Jempol. Four years later, another outlet in Bandar Sri Jempol,” she said at the Negri Sembilan International Women’s Day celebrations held here yesterday.
Born in Kuala Pilah, Siti Mariam used her own savings of RM20,000, as well as a RM50,000 loan from Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad to start her business.
Despite facing various challenges including health problems – she suffered a stroke temporarily – she persevered.
Apart from the two optical shops, Siti Mariam owns two business premises which she leases to others.
At the celebrations yesterday, Siti Mariam was presented with the Women Entrepreneur Award by state Women Affairs, Family and Welfare Action Committee chairman Nicole Tan Lee Koon. — Bernama
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