Forging entrepreneurial mindset in students


Being an entrepreneurial university, Sunway University future-proofs students for the job market.

EDUCATION in Sunway University extends beyond the traditional role of learning and research as the institution takes strategic steps to future-proof students for the job market.

Being an entrepreneurial university, it actively fosters an entrepreneurial mindset, encourages the creation of startups, and facilitates the sharing and transfer of knowledge as well as technology through an open innovation ecosystem.

The ecosystem not only involves students and faculty members but also everyone within the community including universities in Malaysia, industry partners, government agencies, regulators, and the general population.

Through this, and together with Sunway Innovation Labs at Sunway University (iLabs Foundry), the university has set up credit-bearing courses and extra curriculum programmes for students – not limited to the Business School but anyone from different fields from Arts to Technology that will provide the tools, support and network they need to turn their ideas into successful ventures.

Academic programmes such as Startup Foundry elective course offer an avenue for students to learn and contribute innovative ideas to address current issues, as well as venture building to harness entrepreneurial thinking.

The next stage is the LaunchX, the university’s startup accelerator programme that is open to all student entrepreneurs in Malaysia, particularly those who want to enter the world of entrepreneurship – turning their ideas into fundable startups.

Participants will have the opportunity to receive rounds of feedback from mentors and industry thought leaders, attend venture building workshops led by startup founders and investors, get access to Sunway City as the living laboratory or test environment, gain market access through the 13 business units within Sunway Group and its industry partners, explore investment opportunities, and receive support and resources for their startups and talent development.

‘When we create entrepreneurs ... they come back to us and share their experiences, and be mentors to the next generation of students who want to learn entrepreneurship,’ says Sunway University president Prof Sibrandes Poppema.‘When we create entrepreneurs ... they come back to us and share their experiences, and be mentors to the next generation of students who want to learn entrepreneurship,’ says Sunway University president Prof Sibrandes Poppema.

To be bigger and better

Sunway University president Prof Sibrandes Poppema explains that being in the ecosystem means collaborating with others and having the opportunity to create something bigger and better that would benefit everyone greatly.

“It’s either not going to work or it’s going to be small if you’re doing something on your own, and we can only achieve so much at university level.

“When you work with others in the industry, chances are your patent will be applied as opposed to coming up with thousands of patents that look good optics-wise, but are not being used at all,” he says.

Prof Poppema, who had been an entrepreneur himself and experienced the challenges that came with it, adds that “in my time, we were just inventing but now there’s so much knowledge that you can share with people.”

The entrepreneurial programmes are part of iLabs Foundry, established to bridge the gap between academia and those outside of the institution to work closely together, generate sustainable solutions, and stimulate market-driven innovations.

Sustainability experts

Sustainability and planetary health form the core components of these programmes and other initiatives across campus – nurturing impact-driven solutions in line with the university’s aim in addressing key global challenges.

“In this respect, leaders and advocates of sustainability will be created too, thereby increasing students’ employability as companies now are incorporating the environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework into their operations and are looking for experts.

“Additionally, when our graduates are considering a company to work for, they will stop to think for one second if it is making the world a better place or ruining it.

“Or even if they want to start their own company, this will be the question they would ask themselves,” says Prof Poppema.

Just last year, Sunway University entered a public-private collaboration with two of Japan’s leading technology companies, as well as Sarawak Forest Corporation and the University of Technology Sarawak to conserve the mangrove forests in Sarawak.

Led by the head of Sunway University’s Research Centre for Human-Machine Collaboration (HUMAC), School of Engineering and Technology, the project will see the adoption of drone technology and use of artificial intelligence to monitor and analyse the forest before putting in place targeted conservational efforts.

Sunway University’s LaunchX startup accelerator programme is open to all student entrepreneurs in Malaysia, particularly those who want to enter the world of entrepreneurship – turning their ideas into fundable startups.Sunway University’s LaunchX startup accelerator programme is open to all student entrepreneurs in Malaysia, particularly those who want to enter the world of entrepreneurship – turning their ideas into fundable startups.

Nation-building

Prof Poppema hopes that more institutions will also adopt the open innovation ecosystem and at the same time Sunway University welcomes anyone – the public, and students from other institutions who are interested in starting a business – to join them and learn more about entrepreneurship.

“This is a nation-building effort. When we create entrepreneurs, they go out and build their own businesses. This not only contributes to the country’s economic growth but also creates more job opportunities for others.

“Then they come back to us and share their experiences, and be mentors to the next generation of students who want to learn entrepreneurship.

“Everything is holistic. There are many different parts but all leading to the same results – research that is applicable, graduates that are employable, and hopefully will make for a better world,” Prof Poppema concludes.

For more information, go to sunwayuniversity.edu.my

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