S03E06: Saliza Abdullah, Managing Director & CEO, BG Capital Holdings Group of Companies, Malaysia

Most of the family-owned businesses in Malaysia would only last up to second or third generation. Our legacy is to continue for many more generations to come. That’s why we benchmark our business with the more successful family business owners from overseas like Zara or Tata.  Most of the companies are family owned businesses in Europe lasting up to eight, nine generations and beyond.

Saliza Abdullah

In this episode, I spoke to Saliza Abdullah who is the Managing Director & CEO, BG Capital Holdings Group of Companies in Malaysia. 

saliza abdullah BG capital berani guard malaysia
“Empathy is the most important element in leadership. It makes you purposeful and guides you to make conscious decisions that transform the lives of others,” says Saliza Abdullah.

The group of companies owns Berani Guard Sdn Bhd which offers physical guarding and security services. As a family business owned by her late mother, Saliza has since expanded the scope of business to include risk management, technology, training and consultancy. 

Saliza has been in the business for a good 20 years since she came back to Malaysia after graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. 

She is most proud that her business is a 100% women-led and family-owned business – one that expanded from 50 employees to 400. As a second-generation owner, she is looking forward to celebrating its 30th anniversary in January 2022. 

She also published a book recently, chronicling the family business and elaborating on the 30 core values and strategies that have worked for them.

Bragging is not to be looked at as a negative thing especially when you are promoting something that is substantial about your products and services. If you yourself as an entrepreneur don’t tell people about what you do and what products and services that you have, who else will do that? Who is going to do that marketing for you, especially when you come from a small business?

Saliza is undoubtedly inspired by her mother. Her other female role model is Indra Nooyi, the former Chief Executive of PepsiCo and one of her favourite reads is Michelle Obama’s Becoming. 

Saliza has won a number of entrepreneurial awards which include: 

  • The National Council of Women Organizations (NCWO) Young Iconic Award in 2015 presented by Her Royal Highness Queen of Malaysia
  • KLSWCO Women of Excellence Award 2019 presented by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
  • AWEN Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Award 2019 presented by Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand in Bangkok
  • The Woman Super Achiever Award 2020 during the 7th World Women Leadership Congress & Award in Mumbai, India
  • The United Nations Women Asia-Pacific Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Awards 2020 in the category of Industry & Community Engagement in December 2020

There’s no point in doing business if you are making losses. But what Sir Richard Branson mentioned too is that in order for a business to be successful, you must not only have a good bottomline, you must also be able to take care of your employees as well as an organization that serves a purpose to the community. 

In this episode, she talks about:

  • Running a fully woman-owned business with her late mother and now with her niece as the upcoming third generation 
  • Restructuring the business into what it is today – revenues are now in the 8 figures
  • Other businesses and diversification strategies that she embarked upon
  • What she considers as real success markers in business
  • Why she is pushing the women’s agenda through her business and how she does it in tandem with her business values
  • Why she believes strongly in the creation of a family constitution
  • Why women shouldn’t be shy about talking about their businesses
  • How she decided she wanted to be a certified crime prevention specialist 
  • Why learning from other women is still needed
  • The importance of the right networks and business associations in her own growth
  • How the pandemic helped entrepreneurs like her to re-think and re-strategize 

Connect with her:
Website: www.bgcapital.com.my
Facebook & Instagram – @bgcapitalholdings

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