Karaoke team wins entrepreneur award


BY KAREN CHAPMAN

NOW that the finals are over, Team Epsilon who bagged the Gold Award in the HSBC Young IT Entrepreneur Awards 2003, can kick back their heels and look forward to the next part – a well earned trip to Seattle. 

The trio of second year management students from Multimedia University (MMU) – Edah Chong, Eileen Tey Yee Lin and Soh Lin Che – did not expect to win and were pleasantly surprised when the results were announced on Thursday night. Team leader Edah jumped for joy and reached out for her equally stunned team mates. 

Besides the trip to Seattle, the team also won RM15,000 and a trophy for each team member. 

''I can't believe it,'' Edah said repeatedly, adding that she had spent a sleepless night before the presentation, imagining all sorts of problems cropping up. 

TRIUMPHANT TRIO: Team Epsilon members (from left) Lin Che, Edah and Eileen are all smiles after winning the top prize in the HSBC Young IT Entrepreneur Awards 2003.

''I couldn't sleep as every time I closed my eyes, I would see visions of me being nervous and messing up the presentation,'' said the 22-year-old lass from Labuan. 

The team had worked hard since the competition was launched last August to come up with an idea that is brilliant but not impractical – a satellite karaoke channel. 

''I love singing and find it expensive to rent a karaoke room. So we decided to create an alternative that allows those who like singing to access thousands of songs in various languages in their own homes,'' said Edah. 

She explained that their satellite broadcasting outfit called Kara Channel –short for Karaoke Channel – works along the same lines as pay-per-view movies. 

Earlier in the day, Team Epsilon members impressed the judges with their presentation. They pretended to be in a karaoke room and started singing Oh Carol. Edah even managed to get HSBC Bank Malaysia deputy chairman and chief executive officer, chief judge Zarir J. Cama, to sing a few lines! 

The HSBC Young IT Entrepreneur Awards is a challenging three-round competition that was held for the second consecutive year. It was open to full-time undergraduate degree or diploma students at public or private universities and colleges. 

CONGRATULATIONS: HSBC Bank Malaysia deputy chairman and CEO Zarir J. Cama (right) with Team Palmaris members Priyia and Thuan Ngee who won the Judges' Award for excellent presentation.

Of a total 330 teams who sent in their business plans, 30 were shortlisted for the second round. However, one team dropped out while another was disqualified. Out of the remaining 28, five finalists were chosen. 

Entries were judged for innovation, creativity, commercial viability and application of IT knowledge and skills. 

online bus ticketing 

Team Just Startup, comprising Leong Choon Kong and Tan Cherng Thong from MMU, and Lee Li Yee from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), bagged the second prize. They won RM10,000 and a trophy each. 

The enterprising students have already started their own business - the Express Bus e-ticketing Management System. 

Using a simple model, customers are able to purchase express bus tickets online. Presently, the service is limited to students from MMU, UPM and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten). 

''We hope to expand our business once we graduate,'' said Cherng Thong, a final year marketing student at MMU.  

He added that the team was indebted to university staff who nurtured their technopreneurial spirit. 

Cherng Thong said their idea was inspired by Choon Kong's experience when buying express bus tickets.  

''I am from Ipoh, so everytime I want to go home, I have to go to Puduraya a few days before my departure and go again on the day of travel. It is a hassle to travel all the way twice. But if I buy a ticket on the day of travel, I might not get a seat,'' said Choon Kong. 

Part-time jobs online 

The third prize of RM5,000 was won by Team PTC, comprising Tei Kwan Fei, Gan Show Peng and Beh Kian Chung from MMU. 

''We didn't think we stood a chance as some of the teams were very confident during the presentations,'' said Show Peng. 

The team came up with a plan to provide part-time jobs to students over the Internet. 

Tech-savy docs 

Teams Palmaris and La Demande received the Judges' Award for excellent presentation. Each team received RM3,000. 

Palmaris comprised Universiti Malaya final year medical students Tan Thuan Ngee and Priyia Pusparajah, who came up with a plan to provide a well-integrated medical hardware and software package for Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) to be used by both medical professionals and healthcare institutions. 

''I have been using a PDA for a long time and upon entering the clinical years, I found it easier to carry a PDA around rather than a number of heavy books. It really is an indispensable tool,'' said Thuan Ngee. He and Priyia enjoyed the experience of participating in something non-medical. 

''We got an insight into writing a business plan and presentation skills from the workshops organised. It was fun to do something from a non-medical perspective,'' said Thuan Ngee who hopes to use his share of the prize money to buy more accessories for his PDA, while Priyia is hoping to purchase a PDA. 

Elite concierge service 

Team La Demande, represented by Sin Khai Tzer and Ong Puay Seong from MMU, came up with a plan to provide concierge services which cater only for high-income clients. 

''Clients are connected to concierge services anytime and anywhere. Rich people want to enjoy life and this service is ideally suited to their needs, especially those with tight work schedules,'' said electronics engineering student Khai Tzer. 

HSBC 's Cama praised the teams for their hard work saying everyone is a winner. He said the top prize winner was picked after much deliberation. 

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