Student entrepreneurs stay resilient

Business minded: Byron (far right) spent a week in the United States for the “Future Festival: Chicago 2019”. With him are Sopheavan and Dai Wei Lee (centre).

THE Higher Education Ministry suggested that by the end of 2020,15% of tertiary students will venture into entrepreneurship while still studying, with 5% aiming to become entrepreneurs upon graduating.

With the unexpected Covid-19 outbreak, are student entrepreneurs still able to commit to this vision?

Despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19, aspiring young entrepreneurs remain optimistic, believing that the pandemic has not only helped them realise their potential, but that it will eventually lead to more success, especially with shifting consumer needs.

Just a few months before the movement control order (MCO), Byron Kweh Tze Min, 23, a Bachelor of Computer Science student majoring in Software Engineering at INTI International University, ventured into a food delivery business.

“I joined the company as they needed a tech guy to manage the platform efficiently. I started with a capital of RM11,000 to launch the business and our operations focused on Seremban and Cyberjaya, ” said the operations head for Seremban and the company’s technology head.

He gained his business acumen through experience, reading, and business competitions like the “Maybank Go Ahead Challenge 2019” where he emerged as a global champion.

Upon winning the title, Byron and his team were sponsored by Maybank to participate in the “Future Festival: Chicago 2019” in the United States (US).

While there are major players in the Malaysian food delivery market, he noticed that there were still gaps in the services provided during the MCO.

“For us to remain competitive, we had to position ourselves differently in terms of branding and operations, ” said Byron, who had set up his first business entity when he started university and now manages two businesses concurrently.

The rise of globalisation and digitalisation as well as evolving lifestyles have built an environment that inspires the adoption of entrepreneurship.

Phoenix Yee Mae Fong, 22, converted her theoretical knowledge into practical skills when she started her business selling fashionable eyewear at affordable prices early this year.

“Throughout my studies, I have dabbled in various competitions and worked with a like-minded collegemate, Candice Yap, who eventually became my business partner.

“We believe that fashionable eyewear shouldn’t have to come at high prices, there should always be more options, ” said Phoenix who is in her final year of pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, a 4+0 programme offered by INTI International College Subang in collaboration with Southern New Hampshire University in the US.

With “Ryowear”, the business brand she started with a small capital of RM6,000, Phoenix oversees the production and business operations as well the company’s website.

“So far the business has been progressing well. Though there have been challenges during the MCO, specifically the restrictions on face-to-face activities, I think we can find a solution to everything when we change our mentality.“Always believe in yourself and your vision. As long as you dare to dream and work hard for it, there’s always a way to reach your dreams, ” said Phoenix.

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