George Town, 22 November 2018 – ORIGINALLY a French word, “entrepreneur” was synonymous with “adventurer” in 1700s Britain. The passion of entrepreneurs championing the new since time immemoria is felt strongly in UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College. All diploma students here have the chance to hone their entrepreneurial instincts. If they have a potentially workable epiphany, the campus will help them find investors.
For diploma students in the department of computing, computer science, engineering or business courses, entrepreneurship is embedded into their studies, according to UOW Malaysia KDU Penang Centre for Research and Innovation head Dr S. Gomesh Nair.
‘They begin in the first semester of their second year. In the first half of the semester, they learn how to innovate a product or service that can befit the public,” he said.
In the second half of the semester, students learn the nitty-gritty of business planning. They assess risks, gauge the competition, analyse the market, work out the financials and deliver a business plan, which can be submitted to angel investors or venture capitahsts.
UOW Malaysia KDU Penang trains students to plan out the taxes, estimate the breakeven point and project human resource requirements, plus ensuing statutory deductions for staff.
They have to make a pro forma five-year financial projection of their plan, just like any true blue entrepreneur. Working in teams of up to four, the students pound out their business plans, which is really their final-year projects, and produce something sellable.
‘Then we bring in potential investors through our annual business plan competition,” Dr Nair said. Entering the competition is optional and this year, three business plans were selected out of 16 as “good stuff.
“The next phase is prototyping. After their business plan holds up against reviews and analysis, we then help the students find angel investors and turn their plan into reality. After the prototype is successful, the final phases are acceleration and scaling. Not every entrepreneur team will go through the last two, but those who do will have a business start-up even before they graduate,” Dr Nair said.
”Since we are dealing with the students’ actual business ideas, we sign non-disclosure agreements with them and potential investors, UOW Malaysia KDU Penang even provides seed capital for students with viable plans and the passion to see them through,” he added.
When UOW Malaysia KDU Penang’s flagship campus in Bandar Cassia in Batu Kawan on mainland Penang opens in 2020, there will be more chances for student entrepreneurship focus.
”Our flagship campus is in the vicinity of Batu Kawan Industrial Estate. Being close to industries will result in greater mutual collaboration projects and we think more entrepreneurial ideas will be born,” Dr Nair said.
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