MDeC keen to expand just-launched eUsahawan programme
By Lum Ka Kay November 26, 2015
- Wants to reach 200K+ students and micro-entrepreneurs
- eUsahawan has been formally embedded into the curriculum
HAVING achieved “promising results” with its pilot projects, Malaysia’s national ICT custodian Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) wants to extend its eUsahawan curriculum to more technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in 2016.
“By 2020, MDeC hopes that eUsahawan would have been extended to 15 TVET agencies and 463 centres nationwide,” said its chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood (pic).
This would mean “exposing more than 200,000 TVET students and micro-entrepreneurs to digital entrepreneurship,” she told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur prior to the official launch of eUsahawan by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Nov 25.
MDeC describes eUsahawan as “an engagement and education initiative” that integrates a digital entrepreneurship curriculum into major TVET institutions nationwide, also extending the engagement to include micro-entrepreneurs via a short course format.
‘Usahawan’ is Malay for ‘entrepreneur.’
MDeC has been working closely with strategic and industry partners such as the Department of Polytechnic Education, the Department of Community Colleges, Mara (Majlis Amanah Rakyat or the Council of Trust for the People), the Association of Business Executives, Xentral Methods, Celcom, Karangkraf and Lelong.my to develop the initiative.
According to Yasmin, a total of 147 TVET centres nationwide under four TVET agencies – the Department of Polytechnic Education, the Department of Community Colleges, Institusi Kemahiran Mara (IKM) and Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara – have taken part in the eUsahawan pilot project since its launch in July.
She stressed that eUsahawan is not an elective programme for TVET students but has been formally embedded into the curriculum, where three credit hours are allocated for it.
“This means TVET students are spending about three hours a week learning about the digital aspects of entrepreneurship.
“As a result of the eUsahawan initiative, 2,148 of 2,363 students involved have cultivated an online presence, while more than 78% of them are already generating additional income via their online presence,” she claimed.
Yasmin said that 423 lecturers from these TVET centres have also been trained to enhance their understanding of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, so that they can transfer such knowledge to their students.
“Lecturers play a crucial role in this curriculum because they are the ones delivering the knowledge to the students and micro-entrepreneurs.
“Hence, they have been provided practical training – that is, they are allowed to start their own business via eUsahawan,” she said.
Meanwhile, the pilot project introduced earlier in May in Jeli in the state of Kelantan has produced 165 micro-entrepreneurs who have successfully generated an additional income of RM500,000 to date, according to MDeC. [RM1 = US$0.24 at current rates]
Yasmin said that MDeC will be in touch with community leaders to expand the micro-entrepreneur project into more rural areas.
When asked if cash grants would be given to rural folk to start their own business, Yasmin said MDeC does not plan to do so.
“It would not be a sustainable method for them. They should learn to make money on their own, and use the money they earn to reinvest into their business,” she said.
IKM lecturer Muhammad Syukran Jamil, who has undergone eUsahawan training, said the experience has enhanced his knowledge of digital marketing especially.
“I realised wording is really important when it comes to digital marketing. To attract people to read your posts, your message has to be really captivating,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) at the sidelines of the eUsahawan launch.
Syukran is now the admin of a Facebook page for a well-known Malaysian celebrity who also sells tudungs (Muslim veils or headscarves).
He claimed he has helped the celebrity earn RM48,000 in sales via digital marketing in just two weeks.
Syukran admitted that there were challenges when it came to the implementation of the eUsahawan syllabus in the beginning.
“There were lecturers who were not quite certain about the initiative, fearing that it would interrupt the way they teach.
“So I did my best to explain to them the impact of the programme, and now that we have an excellent example, I don’t think there’s much to worry about anymore,” he said.
Syukran’s student Muhd Syahzuan Mohd Sani (pic) runs an air-conditioning repair service company SNI Air Conditioner.
He said he managed to generate RM94,000 of sales in three months by marketing the company’s services online.
MDeC has also worked with private publication house Karangkraf to publish an eUsahawan textbook titled Kuasai Perniagaan Internet (the Power of Internet Business) which will be available in major bookstores from Dec 15 onwards.
The textbook is also available in an interactive e-book version and can be purchased via e-publishing outfit Xentral Methods’ mobile app.
Creating a digital economy
eUsahawan is amongst the many initiatives MDeC has embarked on since it was made the lead agency for the Digital Malaysia programme, which aims to transform the nation into a ‘digital economy’ by 2020.
Digital Malaysia itself was announced in 2012 by Najib, who said that the eUsahawan initiative offers wider market access than traditional marketing channels.
At the eUsahawan launch, Najib said that RM100 million had been allocated under Budget 2016 for two initiatives – eRezeki and eUsahawan – which would benefit some 100,000 people from the Bottom 40 group (the lower 40% of the income pyramid).
“Malaysian youth and micro-entrepreneurs should make use of the economic opportunities provided by digital technologies.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to digital entrepreneurship – we can achieve so much more with our creativity and imagination,” he said.
Meanwhile, Najib said the e-commerce market in Malaysia is expected to grow to RM88 billion in 2016 from RM72 billion this year and RM53 billion in 2014.
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