KUALA LUMPUR: Two entrepreneurial projects by a group of university students to help uplift communities in Sabah has paid off as they will be representing Malaysia at the Enactus World Cup 2017 in London.
The winning projects were from students of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) who came up with the idea of commercialising mulberry leaves by turning it into a mulberry tea production line and using a device to improve the yield of fish in two areas in Sabah.
The students from UMS, together with students from Universiti Tenaga Nasional Kampus Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu were the top three winners of the 2017 Enactus Malaysia National Competition organised by Yaysan Enactus Malaysia.
Using entrepreneurial skills, the students from UMS educated the villagers in Kampung Tudan on the potential of the mulberry plants that were growing in their village.
They also helped build a 'Morus Dryer' to help dry the mulberry leaves while preserving their nutritional value.
The project, took a period of one year and helped uplift the lives of 300 villagers by increasing their average monthly income from RM514 to RM700.
The second project by UMS was in Sepanggar island where they introduced the 'Payao' device to help the fishermen there increase their catch.
The project helped the creation of a new fishing area with the Payao near the island, allowing better accessibility, compared to before where the fishermen had to travel over 100km for a better catch.
This has helped some 23 artisanal fishermen in Sepanggar increase their monthly income from RM620 to RM2,250.
The students have also helped the fishermen reduce their monthly cost of fuel by 67% with the device.
CIMB group chief executive Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz, who is also the Yayasan Enactus Malaysia chairman said the competition helps students become better as they focus on their social skills as well as their academic qualifications.
"I think doing programmes like this will help them adapt to the real world because it's about leadership, teamwork, execution of ideas and things they have learnt in school into practise," said Zafrul.
"And because this is a competition, they will learn how to win and lose, it gives them a complete education on what to expect when you go into the real world," he added.
Meanwhile, Yayasan Enactus Malaysia royal patron Tunku Besar Seri Mananti Tunku Ali Redhauddin Tuanku Muhriz said he strongly supports the notion to create an Enactus Social Impact Accelerator, with the key objective of accelerating potential Enactus projects into "scalable, sustainable and profitable social enterprises or businesses" as the next natural step in the evolution of those initiatives.
"I sincerely hope that noble efforts undertaken by Enactus students nationwide will not be regarded as just another community project but one that creates sustainable and long lasting change," he said.
The runner up from Universiti Tenaga Nasional Kampus Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah presented their project, which was aimed at elevating the socio-economic levels of communities in Pulau Tioman, Tamparuli, Santubong and Relau through beekeeping and honey production.
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu meanwhile focused on developing and producing variety of cucumber based products such as cucumber pickles and water.
They also helped former drug addicts and ex-juvenile delinquents by helping them get back to society by enhancing their agricultural skills and entrepreneurship knowledge.
The students from UMS will now represent Malaysia at the Enactus World Cup 2017 in London in September.