PETALING JAYA: The International Islamic University Malaysia’s (IIUM) Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) promotes entrepreneurship through hands-on and practical programmes based on best practices.
EDC works closely with the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) to inculcate an entrepreneurship mindset among its students. Work at the centre began in 2011 at IIUM Gombak before being extended to IIUM’s Kuantan and Pagoh campuses in 2018.
The centre’s entrepreneurship awareness programmes were developed to fulfil the aspirations of the Malaysian Education Development Plan (2015-2025) to create holistic and balanced students. This is expected to lead to more job creators through the cooperation and support of different agencies.
The entrepreneurship programmes at IIUM are also in line with the National Entrepreneurship Policy 2030 which aims to transform Malaysia into an Entrepreneurial country by 2030. This initiative also supports the Entrepreneurship Action Plan for Higher Learning Institutions (2021-2025) that was launched by MoHE last year.
The EDC also initiates:
- Awareness and education programmes to enhance appreciation of entrepreneurship.
- Entrepreneur development programmes, incubators and support services for start-ups and seed funding for IIUM start-ups.
- Partnerships with players within the broader entrepreneurship network in Malaysia.
Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in IIUM
IIUM is a key driver in creating and promoting the country’s economic growth and competitiveness. It is a source of academic knowledge creation, a supplier of well-educated human capital towards growth and innovation as well as a nurturer of entrepreneurial endeavours.
The university has helped foster entrepreneurship by promoting the development of skills and the acquisition of knowledge.
In addition, the university also provides incubators for students to run their businesses and creates specialised mentoring programmes and training.
IIUM has also developed a systematic process where talented students invent, innovate and commercialise their ideas.
The EDC has been playing a significant role through its ecosystem with the aim of making IIUM an “Entrepreneurial University”:
- High-impact educational practice by inculcating entrepreneurial elements across curriculumsand fields of study.
- Implementing a job creator framework.
- Enhancing the ecosystem that supports students’ entrepreneurship activities.
- Strengthening entrepreneurship educators’ competencies.
Currently, entrepreneurship elements are embedded in 84 of the Kulliyah required courses. Students can also obtain entrepreneurship knowledge through co-curricular activities.
Besides training, workshops and activities, IIUM also provides a conducive ecosystem for student entrepreneurs.
Among the facilities provided are pushcarts/kiosks for students to run their businesses at Student’s Mall, K-Shoppe convenience shop and Koperasi Siswa shop.
Students are also required to register their businesses with the Company Commission of Malaysia to ensure that they abide by business conduct and are legally registered.
Additionally, the entrepreneurship educators at IIUM also promote continued reflection and learning.
There are courses as well as training of trainers (ToT) workshops to better equip themselves with entrepreneurship knowledge and skills. This is to enhance the impact of innovation in teaching and learning environments.
Impact and achievements of entrepreneurship in IIUM
Entrepreneurship initiatives in IIUM have had a positive impact on its students and staff. For example, participation has increased through the years and the centre has conducted several high-impact programmes at the university and national levels.
There has also been an increase in networking and smart partnerships through entrepreneurship programmes. The EDC has collaborated with government agencies like the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), MAGIC, the Company Commission of Malaysia and many more.
Memorandums of Understanding have also been forged with Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd and SME Corp. Currently, students incorporate digital marketing and e-commerce in their entrepreneurship activities.
The EDC’s best practices include embedding entrepreneurship initiatives in its curriculum. Several educational co-curricular programmes are currently offered to students with the aim of creating knowledgeable, experienced professionals, who become successful entrepreneurs.
These students will be able to develop value-added innovations that can spur economic growth and continue to impact the quality of life for society. Within the co-curricular activities, EDC incorporates training, workshops, incubators and mentoring programmes.
The EDC has also adopted an integrated approach system instead of a silo approach to put in place interconnected programmes across all settings at the university as well as at the national level.
Training and workshops held every semester provide comprehensive information and knowledge that enables students to cope with suitable change and development interventions.
As a result, the total number of undergraduates involved in entrepreneurship activities during their studies in 2020 was 1,580. In 2021, this number increased to 2,972.
Crucial steps have been taken to enhance entrepreneurship in IIUM. Among them is collaborating with smart partners for entrepreneurship programmes such as training and workshops. Several prominent speakers and certified coaches have also been invited for talks and seminars.
Besides initiatives to upskill the knowledge of staff, the centre also provides a friendly entrepreneurship environment on campus.
Students also have the opportunity to improve their soft skills.
These efforts help to produce students with a balanced and holistic sense of entrepreneurial skills. Having attained a job-creator mindset, they now can create a business model canvas and utilise digital platforms to promote their products and services.
Hence, efforts by EDC are useful in improving students’ entrepreneurial skills through specified programmes.