By Azman Zakaria
Photo by Noor Azreen Awang
SERDANG, August 8 – The Agri-Entrepreneur Incubation Programme run by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) since 2012 has so far saw the training of 236 people, with 53 companies successfully set up by participants.
UPM Agri-Entrepreneur Incubation Unit Senior Fellow Consultant, Sahbani Saimin said the companies’ turnover value had increased from RM300,000 in 2013 to RM5 million in 2015, and it is expected to hit RM7 million by the end of this year.
“This programme is, indeed, viable as it helps to produce not only entrepreneurs but it also contributes towards food supply in meeting with increasing demand,” he said.
He added that the programme was formed with the objective of producing graduates with quality agricultural attributes in the related field, encompassing all aspects including production, processing and agri-entrepreneurship. It was first organized in UPM in 2012 and still continues until today.
The eight modules or courses offered are planting of rock melons in fertigation, aquaculture (tilapia fish breeding), hybrid poultry rearing, livestock, biotechnology (bio-compost production), food services management, eco-tourism and trade.
The programme is conducted for six months on a full-time basis from January to June. It is open to qualified graduates with a minimum diploma qualification in the field of agriculture or non-agriculture, and aged less than 30 years.
In the first two months of the programme, participants will be given exposure and knowledge on agri-entrepreneurship in relation to efficient business counselling, business plan development, business report writing as well as other aspects such as motivation and self-identity.
They will also be provided with information on company formation procedures, bank loan procedures and the role of government and its policies in relation to development of entrepreneurs.
In the next four months onwards, participants will be assigned to a real-life field project according to their respective modules. They will be divided into groups and given an interest-free loan of RM10,000 as an advance to start their project.
Participants will be trained to manage the project using the latest project management methods, right from production stage to marketing of the products. This is to help them improve on their technical know-how and knowledge and project management to ensure optimum utilization of resources but maximum project returns. – UPM.
Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia