While Yau Le Si, a Food Science and Nutrition student, was the first runner-up in the service category for a beauty lotion she developed using natural industrial wastes, such as coconut husks, avocado peel and seeds, another group of Food Science and Nutrition students, was also the first runner-up in the product category. Ngan Kok Yew, Sajid Ahmed and Varinderjit Singh had captivated the judges’ attention with their healthy food kiosk, which provides fast, affordable and fresh takeaway foods. Both first runners-up, who took home RM300, are also in the running for the research grant from CERVIE. The competition was an eye-opener for the students as it involved them developing their business acumen to market and brand their products.
Page: COCOMMUNITY, VOL. XLI NO. 1, 1 January 201118Many science students do not realise that the business aspects of the product are as important as the research. Phui Yan said that the workshops they had attended before the finals were very informative, and had guided them well in developing their proposals and presentations. During the lead-up to the finals, the participants were guided in a series of workshops to coach them in the areas of business, public speaking, writing and communication. Developing their ideas from the start to the end had not been a smooth road for all of them, as they had to go through many trials and errors. This was an opportune moment for their lecturers as their mentors or advisers to spur the students on. Kong Chee Leong, as the adviser for all of the teams under the Faculty of Applied Sciences, says: "I try to guide them by inculcating problem-solving skills in my lessons. Apart from that, it is also important for advisers to motivate and sustain students’ passion towards realising their dreams." All students are encouraged to develop research study skills in their everyday assignments. "With critical thinking and problem-solving skills being the two main criteria for excellent researchers and entrepreneurs, those skills are honed into our students from day one itself," he says. Although ideation is essential in getting a good business proposal off the ground, Kong adds that even more critical is the action one injects into these ideas. "It takes much more for your ideas to crystallise into something concrete. It takes effort, which in the long run, is far more important than any one talent a person could possess." With the event’s success, the BizPlan Competition will become an annual event. Aside from uncovering new talent, the competition is also the university’s avenue towards help budding entrepreneurs kickstart their projects with the funding and training provided by CERVIE. With close to RM7 million worth of scholarships on offer next year, UCSIU is on the lookout for students with outstanding results and stellar extracurricular record. The scholarships are also for the highly-sought degree programmes such as Pharmacy and Medicine.
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