The Ordinary Girl
Nancy Bulagang was just like the countless others in this world, making a living for herself in a modern world. She held a normal office job, worked normal office hours, and lived a normal life with her family. Growing up in a large family where the luxuries of life were features of a world far removed from hers, she was perfectly satisfied with her very normal life.
Nancy is the fifth child in a large family with eleven other siblings. She learned from a young age the importance of hard work and grew up into a diligent and responsible member of the family. She worked in the administrative department of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, a large company where she spent many years upon her graduation.
Her life changed one fateful day when she picked up her newspaper and came across an advertisement from the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) that offered to assist those who were interested to start a travel agency with a capital of just RM30,000. Nancy's imagination was captured, and she began to think about building a better life for herself and her family. She had enough savings to take the chance, but her father was worried as she had no experience in doing business. She reassured him by saying that as long as she worked hard, she would be able to build a better life.
She went to the office of TDC to find out more. The meeting gave her all the confidence that she needed to go ahead with her plans. She filled up her application form and with the help of the good people from TDC came up with the proposal that she needed for her application. One month later her application was approved. Nancy was about to take her first step into a new world.
And so Nancy set up her travel agency in Kota Kinabalu in 1992. She was able to overcome her lack of experience due to the excellent business plan that she developed. Following her business plan diligently, she started to build her business from scratch. She went to the major airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific to set up ticketing agency arrangements. She marketed her services to the government agencies. She found a very receptive market and was able to quickly establish her business. Within eight months, business was already doing well. A year after starting business, she was able to open up a branch in Sandakan.
After about six years operating in the travel agency business, Nancy got her second big break. She was given the opportunity to purchase a few acres of land in the beautiful Kundasang Highlands at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia. Nancy recognised this as the perfect opportunity to expand her business horizons. The land was the perfect place to build a holiday resort. She was able to purchase a total of 6 acres of land and immediately began on the development plan for her holiday resort. It was a long four years from the start of planning to drawing up the building plans to the final approvals from the relevant governmental agencies.
It was at this stage that Nancy needed financial assistance. She needed help to build her dream holiday resort. Her first thought was SME Bank as she knew that it was a bank that took that extra step to help entrepreneurs. It was another fruitful decision as she was able to get a total of more than RM10 million in financing from SME Bank. Nancy found her experience in dealing with SME Bank to be very beneficial, as the bank not only provided her with the financing assistance that she needed, it also gave her a very structured way of managing the fund, which ultimately greatly helped her to finish building her resort.
In 2010, her dream resort in the highlands of Kundasang was finally completed and opened for business. The 3-star Dream World Resort boasts panaromic views of Mount Kinabalu and the rolling valleys down below. It is the scene of spectacular sunrise and sunsets; the cool weather and the many scenic tourist spots in Kundasang means that the resort is in the perfect place to take advantage of tourist dollars. Today, the resort is one of the most famous in Kundasang, and her travel agency is ranked amongst the top four travel agency in Sabah with an annual turnover of RM30 million. Nancy has certainly come a long was from her ordinary days and now eagerly awaits the next opportunity that she knows will come calling soon.