‘Successful entrepreneurs start young’

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

BELAIT

EXPOSING students to competition in real-life market settings at an early age is necessary to create a generation of robust, innovative entrepreneurs.

Mohd Zainur Hj Zainal, organiser of Institute of Brunei Technical Education’s Sultan Bolkiah Vocational School campus’ (IBTE SVSB) 5th entrepreneurial carnival, said yesterday that it was designed to house groups of IBTE students and established private retailers under one roof so that students could learn to compete in an open market setting.

“There is much that they can learn from seeing the service and quality offered by businesses who already have experience. It will force (the students) to step up their game,” said Mohd Zainur.

The carnival, which is being held at the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre, is divided into a food and beverage section with 24 vendors - 13 private and 11 run by students. The other “non-food” retail section has 33 student groups and seven private vendors selling a range of clothing and electronic accessories as well as offering puzzles and games.

A total of 256 students are participating, with 196 from IBTE SVSB and the remaining 60 from IBTE Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering’s campus.

Mohd Zainur said all IBTE courses now carry some business or entrepreneurship component, with carnivals and other practical settings allowing students to try business firsthand made a priority.

Students are required to pay a rental fee of $50 for a booth at the food section and $25 at the non-food section. They are allowed to keep all profits but must raise the capital without the school’s assistance.

“It’s not enough to just learn the theory in the classroom setting. Things like teamwork, interaction with customers and communication with suppliers need to have a practical (learning) component,” he added.

Building Services Engineering students Azari Sabali and Nur Sajidah, who were selling milkshakes and cooked food, said they priced their food much cheaper than the other private sellers to get an edge.

“We kept most of the cooked food, even the milkshakes to a dollar. We also broke down all the tasks; we had one guy tasked with buying ice (periodically throughout the day) so we could continuously do the ice-blended milkshakes because we don’t have any fridges or other appliances to prevent the ice from melting,” said Nur Sajidah.

In the non-food section, HNTec Business and Finance students Seri Dewi Ramlie and Azillah Matsah went for novelty and variety, hooking up with a supplier who provided eight tandem bicycles.

“We met the supplier at a garage sale and fair a couple of months back, where they got the attention of those visiting. We also rented an ice cream box from our school canteen, so once you went for a ride, you could grab yourself ice cream afterwards,” said Seri Dewi.

The group of seven students are receiving 20 per cent from the bicycle rental of $3 for 15 minutes use and 5 per cent of all ice cream sales.

“We have learned a lot already on how to interact with customers, see what they actually want. We also learned the importance of (group) communication,” said Azillah Matsah.

The carnival will run until 6pm this Sunday.

The Brunei Times