Higher Education Ministry recognises enterprising varsities, business owners
THE Higher Education Ministry celebrated the spirit of entrepreneurship by acknowledging learning institutions, entrepreneurial students and staff, as well as business owners, during the Ministry of Higher Education Entrepreneurial Awards (MEA) 2016, held on Thursday here.
Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, who presented the awards, said under the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education), one of the shifts was to develop holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates.
There were four categories for the awards, namely institutional awards, best student enterprise, best social entrepreneurship project and best entrepreneurship mentor.
“Entrepreneurship is important for the nation’s development in its quest to become an entrepreneurial nation. It is also reflected in the student’s Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA), where one of its domains is entrepreneurship.”
To boost entrepreneurship spirit among university students, there is also the CEO @ Faculty Programme where chief executive officers of big companies are invited to share their knowledge with the students.
Idris said the MEA was adapted from “Entrepreneurial University of the Year Award” organised by National Centre For Entrepreneurship in Education under Times Higher Education Awards in United Kingdom.
The most entrepreneurial public university was awarded to Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), winning the university an entrepreneurship grant of RM200,000.
UPM vice-chancellor Professor Datin Paduka Dr Aini Ideris said the university had a long-standing reputation of entrepreneurship culture.
“Students and lecturers are equipped with knowledge on ways to get grants for projects, taught by a special unit in the university,” she said.
Aini said UPM had established
InnoHub for startup companies to commercialise the technology from research and development at the university.
The InnoHub, which was set up
in 2015, successfully commercialised 38 products in the market last year and 34 products previously.
“The companies will pay the royalty and licensing fees to UPM after market validation, upscaling and successfully selling the products,” she said.
For the private university category, the winner was Management & Science University (MSU) which also bagged an entrepreneurship grant of RM200,000.
MSU president Professor Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukri Ab. Yajid said the university had built a comprehensive ecosystem for entrepreneurship that involved students, lecturers and community engagement, across all programmes of study .
“It is compulsory for diploma and degree students, regardless whether they are studying business or medicine. Besides that, we also blend our learning experience with personal enrichment competencies for graduates,” he said.
In the polytechnic category, Kota Baru Polytechnic emerged as winner and received an entrepreneurship grant of RM100,000.
Its director, Noor Azahan Othman, said students were encouraged to have an entrepreneurship mindset.
“Even in the first semester, we ask them to sell anything, and be confident. They should not be shy to sell as this attitude will not help them grow.
“Those with an aptitude to sell will be encouraged to register their company with the Companies Commission of Malaysia,” he said.
The Kuala Langat Community College emerged as winner in the community college category, winning an entrepreneurship grant of RM100,000.
Its director, Gazari Osman, said the college realised the potential of its academic staff and encouraged them to work together with students to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship.
“We received a grant from the ministry under the Public Private Research Network (PPRN) to help the small and medium industries.”
Gazari said, for example, they had developed a machine to shorten the production time for banana crisps sellers and help them boost their income and productivity.
A student enterprise selling an organic hair removal wax was awarded the Best Student Enterprise award.
Norah Beautyline Sdn Bhd founder, Universiti Malaya student Noorain Mohd Said, 25, from Bukit Mertajam in Penang, won a cash prize of RM20,000.
She attributed her win to her team members, friends, the University of Malaya Entrepreneurship Centre and the ministry.
Officially launched in 2013, the company’s revenue in its first year was RM1.2 million and grew to RM3.2 million last year.
At present, it has stockists in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, with more than 800 registered agents.
Noorain said she was inspired to create her product after exchanging ideas with Korean students while
residing in the university’s 10th
“My friend said it was difficult to find a hair removal wax made from organic products, which was safer for the skin. These organic products were only available at salons.”
She said from the initial production at the college, she rented a condominium and later expanded to her first factory in Jelapang, Ipoh, after discussing with her business partner on cost and labour.
“Last August, we shifted to Wisma Norah in Bandar Baru Bangi, which houses the management and production.
“I will use the prize to further expand my business. I hope to produce a range of organic-based beauty products,” she said.
For the Best Social Entrepreneurship Project, the grand winner was Kota Marudu Community College for its Pitas Social Entrepreneurship Project.
Its director Robert @ Kerk Swee Tian said students helped a local resident expand his grocery shop.
With funds received from Yayasan Sejahtera, students upgraded the grocery shop from a wooden shop to a brick structure, and assisted the owner in proper accounting methods and sourcing of grocery supplies at the shop.
For Best Entrepreneurship Mentor, the grand winner was Nik Nurfarah Fareena Auddin, an alumni from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT).
Nurfarah currently works as Koperasi Mahasiswa Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Bhd manager.
“I started a business, an expansion of my bakery project, since I was in university. The bakery was opened in the student centre with support from my parents.
“It was from this bakery that I learnt about business and entre-
preneurism,” she said.
Nurfarah, who graduated in 2012, said she worked in Ernst & Young for a while and then left the job to pursue her interest in business. She now mentors students based on projects given to her.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s entrepreneurship and PPRN unit head Datin Dr Syahira Hamidon said the MEA was organised since 2012 to encourage the entrepreneurship agenda of the Higher Education Ministry to change the mindset of graduates from one of job seeker, to job creator.
“In the future, we are looking to invite industry captains to sponsor the awards for specific categories like best franchise,” she said, adding that the ministry was working with the Irish government to bring experts from Ireland to public universities in the country to further enhance the teaching among lecturers to boost the entrepreneurship spirit.
Present at the event were deputy minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching, secretary-general, Tan Sri Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur and Irish ambassador to Malaysia, Eamon Hickey.