APU students won business funding worth RM100,000 at DIYC COVID-19 Business Startup Challenge
In the new era of digital communications, nine out of ten teens age 13-17 are communicating through social media platforms, and most of them (71%) are using more than one platform. This finding indicates that social networking sites have become a popular vehicle for communication among youth. The potential for social media in transforming our societies and lives for generations to come is immense.
To empower youths to create a social media campaign strategy that brings impact to the society, the Diversity and Inclusion Youth Conference (DIYC), a global educational youth movement inaugurated by DYMM Permaisuri Raja Zarith Sofia, the Queen consort of Johore State, had recently organized the “COVID-19 Business Startup Challenge 2021”. Team Blue Star formed by 3 students of the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) obtained the Grand Prize and walked away with an RM100,000 seed funding.
In this challenge, the participating teams were required to pitch a proof of concept for a social media campaign strategy and platform that promotes the DIYC Movement. Team Blue Star has conceptualized a compelling online business model named “Socialzy”, associated with a value proposition that met the criteria of wide outreach, effective delivery and sustainability, to cope with the disruptive global pandemic.
The winning team members, who are currently in their 1st year’s studies – Bryan Matthew Santosa & Hillarius Gilbert Widjaja, Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Business Management with a specialism in e-business programme students; and also Yap Kit Ian, Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and Finance programme student, were introduced to the DIYC COVID-19 Business Startup Challenge 2021 by their lecturer, Ms Noraini Ahmad, who lectures in the “Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship” module.
Driven by curiosity and eagerness to explore the world of entrepreneurship, the trio aspired to test their mettle by putting themselves into this challenge. They pitched their proposal to the judges with a convincing concept for a social media campaign strategy, strongly supported by their ‘Business Plan’ knowledge learnt in their Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship module.
Upon winning this award, the winners will need to begin their startup or actual business plan within 21 days, by fine-tuning their business plan and subsequently drawing up a roadmap for their startup. During this process, they are allowed to draw a fair portion from the prize money in stages to execute their business concept. “For this purpose, we will re-look into the proposal and make some adjustment based on the comments of our DIYC mentor. While we are learning to become future entrepreneurs in the actual business world, we need to be prepared for anything that might come to us, and never give up throughout those challenges,” said Bryan, the team leader.
Besides courage, creativity and innovation portrayed by the trio garnered an endorsement from their lecturer, Ms Noraini Ahmad, as she described, “They are very confident in their innovative and revolutionary business ideas. To be successful, one must be confident and must not give up on whatever he or she is pursuing.”
Rehhahn Tudball, Program Coordinator of COVID-19 Business Startup Challenge reassured, “The DIYC Movement will provide the winning teams with continued access to funding, capacity development opportunities especially training in Blue Ocean Strategy®. Moreover, they will become part of the DIYC’s online community, which will underscore DIYC’s commitment to supporting the winning teams in their entrepreneurial journey.”
About their biggest takeaway on this winning, the trio stated, “We learnt that hard efforts will never betray the results, with support from APU lecturers and mentors. Our victory here taught us to be eager to keep on learning to achieve something spectacular in the future.”