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Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU)

Kuala Lumpur, WP Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Developing the next generation of entrepreneurs

07 Sep 2021

HONING an entrepreneurial mindset is an important skill set for future professionals to gear up for careers in today's disruptive, globalised world of business and technology.

This skill set can be nurtured from young and universities are taking note.

Asia Pacific University (APU) aims to increase the number of meaningful and sustainable startups amongst students with the formation of the Enterprise@APU programme.

This initiative aims to create entrepreneurial mindsets and anti-fragile characteristics through a series of weekly and monthly webinars and online events that engage entrepreneurs and start-ups to share the real-life experience.

The programme covers three stages of a student entrepreneurial phases – seed, cultivate and nourishing.

Phases to drive entrepreneurial skills gap

First is the seed phase, the university provides an exchange forum for industries, companies, academics to collaborate, share entrepreneurial experiences, the latest practices, ideas, trends, and lately, challenges stemming from the global pandemic crisis, through its Enterprise Wednesdays and CEO/CTO Series.

In the cultivate stage, the Ideas Accelerator programme aims to help founders of early-stage scalable or innovation-driven startups and social enterprises stress test and retest hypotheses, validate or test with basic prototype and gain market acceptance and validation.

In a two-hour a week immersion programme held over eight weeks, founders and their teamwork on their idea using a systematic and methodical approach to take their idea to market.

Finally, under the nourishing phase, a full-blown in-house Venture Building Programme enables students with validated ventures to bring it to the marketplace.

Idea generation is critical to entrepreneurship. APU inspires a culture of creativity and innovation across all academic disciplines.

Bringing industry to APU

With this in mind, APU deputy vice-chancellor and chief innovation officer who is also Enterprise@APU team lead Prof Dr Ir Ts Vinesh Thiruchelvam aims to bring industry real-life experiences to its students via its ongoing Enterprise @ APU series & workshops.

“A key element in the Enterprise@APU initiative is the real-life experience (by industry experts) to inspire students into pursuing their entrepreneurial ambitions by connecting them to a wider ecosystem and the entrepreneurial community at APU.

“Enterprise@APU will empower students to achieve success in an increasingly agile and disruptive business environment once they move into their professional careers or choose to work independently as entrepreneurs.”

Meanwhile, entrepreneur-in-residence Dash Dhakshinamoorthy believes everyone should be entrepreneurial, even if they do not start companies.

“The world is an uncertain place, and the heart of entrepreneurship is uncertainty. Experienced entrepreneurs embrace uncertainty and act swiftly to navigate through challenges in the real world.

“An entrepreneurial skill set combined with an anti-fragile mindset would see them (students) thrive in the competitive and disruptive global business environment.

“We want to stimulate young minds, give them the entrepreneurial boost, equip them with the tools and techniques and mentor them in their entrepreneurial journey,” he said.

Heavy-hitter advice

In the many webinars conducted, some standout entrepreneurs and industry leaders have shared nuggets of wisdom.

In the latest CEO/CTO series titled What Organisations Are Looking For, SP Setia Berhad chief human resources officer Nadiah Tan Abdullah shared that the core behaviours most organisations look for when hiring new talent include passion, versatility, influencing power, bravery, enthusiasm, savviness, resilience, and resourcefulness.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur and Rackspace Technology head of partnerships Peter Tam shares his start-up journey from a coach’s perspective.

“Learn problem-solving skills, and how to break down solutions,” he said, adding that storytelling skills would help convince and gain investor attention.

During an Enterprise Wednesdays session on Venturing Ideas To Market, Fave Group co-founder Yeoh Chen Chow shared: “Connect the dots which are in your control and influence and leave what you cannot do. Whatever you do, bring real value, make it easier, cheaper, better, and faster for your target audience.”

In Getting Started - The How session, Dropee.com co-founder and chief executive operator Lennise Ng shared a piece of advice her uncle gave that she holds dearly and only understood it once she was on her entrepreneurial journey: “It is a habit that can influence a person to become successful.”

She said the smallest habits we practise make us more resilient through difficulties and hardships.

“Adapt fast in this fast-moving world and always get ready to learn new things, unlearn and relearn. Once you slow down, your competitor will overtake you,” she added.

For more information, visit www.apu.edu.my/our-courses/enterprise-apu.

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