Roslaimi Arifin was ready to give up when his business was making losses for three consecutive years. If he had, he wouldn't be an award-winning entrepreneur today.
Roslaimi kickstarted his company, Mitra Food Industries Sdn. Bhd., on a small-scale basis in 2006. It has been involved in the coffee production business since 2009.
After the first three years of operations, Roslaimi was having second thoughts about continuing his business as he struggled to make ends meet.
The Kelantan-born was frustrated because he was losing a huge amount of money just to keep the business running.
Somehow, he held on to his dreams and tried to revive his business.
He kept on pushing forward until he found a breakthrough that eventually helped him turn his business around
In 2013, he started taking part in the entrepreneur East Coast Economic Region (ECER)-SIRIM programme which targets companies involved in food manufacturing.
The programme offers participants valuable guidance and training in product development, labelling and branding, and halal certification, besides providing financial backing for entrepreneurs to expand the business.
Under the guidance of ECER-SIRIM, Roslaimi opened his own factory in Kota Bharu, Kelantan and obtained the halal certification in 2014.
With the halal status, Mitra was entrusted to produce health-related products for 50 different popular brands from other companies through contract manufacturing.
Soon, Roslaimi's perseverance saw him convert his dying business into a multimillion ringgit one when Mitra successfully penetrated international markets
In 2015, Mitra took the export market in China by storm when it secured a lucrative deal during the China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) held in Nanning, China.
Last year, Mitra repeated its feat and renewed its yearly contract worth RM3 million to supply its popular products — Musang King White Coffee and Brazilian Cappuccino.
Previously the company only had three products, namely cappuccino, white coffee, and ginger drink, but has since expanded to offer 20 different varieties of coffee and health drinks.
Today, Roslaimi can stand proud knowing that his products are popular in China, southern Thailand, and throughout the whole of Malaysia.
Roslaimi's efforts and contributions in building the country's economy were recognised by the government recently
His entrepreneurial journey of transforming his homemade business to become an export-oriented company saw him become one of the 19 esteemed entrepreneurs who were at the Usahawan Gemilang Economic Entrepreneur ECER Awards last month.
Against all odds, Roslaimi was the outstanding individual who bagged the top award that night, beating the rest of the recipients.
Even with all this success, the 48-year-old remains humble and continues to contribute to the local community in Kelantan
Roslaimi constantly surprises many people because of his outgoing personality and humility.
He is active in social work, and would not think twice to give out free food supplies to flood victims, schools, and orphanages in Kelantan.
Building an empire was probably the last thing on his mind but now Roslaimi wants to be the best version of himself and continue his success in the business world.
He revealed that Mitra recorded sales of RM4.2 million last year as its coffee products are expected to be expanded to the China market. This year, he has taken up the challenge to increase the company's annual sales to be more than RM5 million.
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