U-Masterclass to create young entrepreneurs

  • Students from graduating Cohort 3 & 4 have formed 48 ventures
  • The three-month long programme is based on MIT’s entrepreneurship bootcamp

MOF National Strategy Unit senior deputy director Abu Bakar Jambol (third right) presenting certificates to students. Present on stage are Ministry of Entrepreneur Development senior director of digital economy and international relations Arividya Arimuthu (second left), MSU president Professor Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid (third left) and StartupMalaysia.org programme lead and founder Dash Dhakshinamoorthy (second right)

SPECIALLY designed to help university students interested in entrepreneurship turn their ideas into sustainable ventures, the University Entrepreneurship Masterclass (U-Masterclass) programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Finance Malaysia (MOF) and executed by StartupMalaysia.org.

The programme’s Cohort 3 and 4 graduation day was held on Dec 18 at Management and Science University (MSU) with 73 graduating students. Present at the ceremony were the president of MSU, Professor Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid; senior deputy director of National Strategy Unit, MOF, Abu Bakar Jambol; and senior director of digital economy and international relations, Ministry of Entrepreneur Development, Arividya Arimuthu.

In his speech, Abu Bakar shared his hopes for the students to create successful businesses, become employers and provide jobs for other Malaysians.

“The government and the private sector cannot provide jobs for everyone. By becoming an entrepreneur, you can hire people and contribute to the economy.”

The students formed teams and launched 48 ventures in industries ranging from skincare, advertising, food and education. Initiated in 2017, this is the third graduation ceremony of this programme that has seen a total of 189 students from approximately 29 local universities participating via five cohorts.

Out of the 189 students, 156 students went on to form 107 teams and launched 107 ventures within the October 2017 to December 2018 time span.

The U-Masterclass program lead and founder of StartupMalaysia.org, Dash Dhakshinamoorthy said, “We believe that it is not only about creating many entrepreneurs but also about creating an entrepreneurial society. I always say this entrepreneurial efforts can fail but not good entrepreneurs.”

Based on Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) entrepreneurship bootcamp “The Disciplined Entrepreneurship 24 Steps to Building a Startup”, the U-masterclass programme is a three-month, 10-session long experiential programme designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become entrepreneurial.

Before the students received their certificates of completion, a handful of them shared with the audience about how the programme has helped them. Syalini Sridharan, the founder of clothing line Ihana, shared that her business idea came about when designing extra small and plus-sized clothing for her family members.

“This programme has pushed me from just creating bespoke outfits to manufacturing my own clothing line. It has given me confidence to venture into a new business,” she said.

As for the founder of Seven H Burger, Abdul Hadi Abdul Hafiz, the programme has helped him double his sales from 80 burgers per day to about 160 to 200 burgers today. “From solely direct selling, I have now introduced a delivery system making it more convenient for customers.”

Meanwhile, Afiq Asyraf Daud founded Malaysia Rugby Factory upon realising a pain point among rugby enthusiasts.

“Rugby fans in Malaysia face difficulty sourcing rare, unique and original jerseys,” he says, adding that he imports the jerseys directly from the United Kingdom.

The graduating students and their ventures will next undergo a six-week mentoring and will be monitored for a further period of six months as they continue their entrepreneurial journey. The programme is delivered and mentored by experienced entrepreneurs, venture builders and investors and supported by domain experts and led by Dash.

It is targeted at Malaysians above 18 years of age enrolled in any public or private university and is open to undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD and research students. Those interested can visit the website for more information about the programme.

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