Entrepreneurship is becoming a more appealing career path not only for seasoned and highly qualified professionals but also for recent university graduates. In line with this, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) made significant attempts to cultivate entrepreneurial abilities in their students’ minds through formal academic programmes as well as extracurricular activities with the goal of cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.
This article will explain the history of alumni success in UTM, the Uni’s initiative in cultivating students with an entrepreneurial mindset and what knowledge they would obtain after joining an entrepreneurship programme.
Multiple platforms and efforts have been set up to encourage and inculcate UTM students with entrepreneurial mindsets and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. The UTM Centre for Student Innovation & Technology (UTM XCITE), a collaborative centre in innovative and entrepreneurial learning was established in 2013 that aims to unleash the spirit of collaborative innovation and entrepreneurship among UTM communities, SMEs and entrepreneurship development agencies. Impactful programmes include Design Thinking, SME Graduates, Business Modelling and Maker Labs that are conducted to transform participants into becoming innovative and entrepreneurial.
UTM XCITE is also working closely with strong local and international partners such as MTDC, MDEC, the US Embassy, and Techstars that provide participants with real-life entrepreneur experience. This collaborative centre offers mentoring services to students involved in innovation and entrepreneurship challenges. The education curriculum in UTM has also included courses like Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Technopreneurship Seminar that introduces the fundamental concepts and principles of entrepreneurship, as well as exposing students to the process of starting a business venture. Students are also allowed to experience real-life entrepreneurial activities through entrepreneurship carnivals and seminars by successful entrepreneurs.
There are many UTM alumni that venture into entrepreneurship during their studies and have become accomplished entrepreneurs. One of them is Arif Tukiman, a UTM School of Computing alumnus. He is the co-founder and CEO of RunCloud which is a centralised control panel to help deploy, configure, manage and monitor cloud servers. Arif started his first startup Cool Code at Media and Game Innovation Centre of Excellence (MaGICX) UTM, and he was a mentor and judge for UTM XCITE programmes such as Startup Weekend JB @UTM (SWJBUTM) and MTDC Business Challenge 2019. He was also listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2020.
Another example of a successful alumnus is Sr. Gs. Mohd Radhie Mohd Salleh, CEO of I Net Spatial Sdn Bhd (I Net) and a PhD student of the Faculty of Built Environment and Survey, UTM. I Net is a start-up that provides effective consultancy services in GIS, IT, Networking, Cartographic, Remote Sensing, Real Estate, Environment and Hydrological fields. Another notable UTM alumnus (2015) is Syed Salleh Syed Sulaiman, CEO of Sulaiman Plantation Sdn Bhd who was the winner of ‘The Entrepreneur’ (TV3 Reality-TV) and former Exco of Entrepreneurship, UTM Student Council (2013-2014). He also holds a Bachelor of Marketing from Azman Hashim International Business School (AHIBS) UTM.
These are testaments that UTM has nurtured its students into having an entrepreneurial mindset which later develops them into successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is the driving force for our country’s economic growth which contributes to the creation of new jobs and businesses, as well as self-employment through the creation of new skills and competencies.
Although UTM is a technology-based university, the opportunity to start a business here is wide open for students through programmes conducted by UTM XCITE. Through all the courses provided by UTM XCITE and compulsory entrepreneurship courses, students can experience starting their own business. By joining entrepreneurship education, it will strengthen analytical, organisational, and interpersonal skills, as well as leadership and networking skills among students. Students will also be given opportunities to fully organise university events such as Convocation Festival, Moon Cake Festival and Entrepreneurship Carnival. These entrepreneurship programmes allow students to have an opportunity to execute entrepreneurship-related tasks such as analysing business feasibility, writing a business plan, and executing their business plan.
These entrepreneurship programmes conducted at UTM has been an eye-opener for students about entrepreneurship and it will boost their confidence and initiate a positive mindset on involving themselves in this field.
*This article is a joint contribution by Nur Husna Binti Azmi, Nurul Ain Binti Shaharudin, Nurul Atiqah Binti Piakong, Nurul Balqesh Binti Mohamed Yaseen and Siti Nabilah Binti Nordin
**The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not reflect that of the editorial board