7 June 2024

Swinburne Sarawak Business Consulting Project students shine in passionfruit commercialisation showcase

KUCHING – In the latest chapter of Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus’ Business Consulting Project, students were empowered to unleash their creativity, unveiling a range of innovative strategies poised to transform the landscape of passionfruit cultivation commercialisation.

Under the guidance of Dr Gabriel Wee Wei En, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, students engaged in this hands-on experience which provided them with invaluable insights into real-world business challenges and honed their skills in problem-solving, collaboration and strategic planning.

Dr Wee is renowned for pioneering the Authentic Entrepreneurship Pedagogy (AEP) in the dynamic field of entrepreneurial education. He underscores the profound importance of endeavours such as this project, which offer students opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings.

Rooted in the pillars of Authentic Learning, Industry Connection and Collaborative Learning, the AEP framework ignites entrepreneurial spirit, fuels student engagement, champions teaching excellence, drives research innovation and propels Swinburne Sarawak towards its “moon shots” under its 2025 Vision.

The business students, in collaboration with SKH Farming Kuching, a local farm dedicated to cultivating passionfruit, embarked on a comprehensive analysis of the supply and demand dynamics of passionfruit in Sarawak.

Immersing themselves in the day-to-day activities of the farm provided them with a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by SKH Farming and passionfruit distribution. The teams were tasked not only with providing recommendations to solve the problems faced by SKH Farming but also with creating a novel product to further commercialise the passionfruit grown at the farm.

This experiential learning opportunity equipped them with practical knowledge of agricultural processes and business dynamics while fostering their growth as future entrepreneurs. Through this collaborative effort, the students were able to generate innovative solutions and translate their initial concepts into tangible and actionable business plans, gaining valuable skills that will serve them well in their future endeavours.

A group photo of the students at SKH Farming.

A group photo of the students at SKH Farming.

The Business Consulting Project with SKH Farming culminated in a final presentation which featured a distinguished panel of judges, each with unique expertise. Mr Joseph Ting, founder of Zoso Music and director of Design Alley, brought extensive experience in business and entrepreneurship. His role as a council member of the Sarawak E-Commerce Association underscored his deep understanding of digital business landscapes, offering invaluable insights into the students’ projects.

Meanwhile, Mr Samuel Wong, Managing Director of Filmco Sdn Bhd, contributed over a decade of expertise in commercial film production, providing critical perspectives on branding and marketing strategies.

Mr Leo Tang, a passionate advocate for Sarawak Coffee and a key member of REBORN and KopiLab, organisations dedicated to promoting responsible tourism and sustainable practices, offered essential guidance on integrating sustainability into business models.

The final presentation was the culmination of the students’ efforts; showcasing their business acumen, resilience and teamwork. The students, divided into five groups, presented a myriad of solutions.

Their innovative proposals ranged from big data correlation matrices to market research surveys and various products to commercialise the passionfruit cultivation while keeping in mind the current trends, such as passionfruit jam, passionfruit boba, syrup, passionfruit honey, gelato and the traditional Sarawak beverage, tuak.

Their solutions were not just limited to food and beverage products but also included skincare items and agrotourism ventures. Further solutions included strategies on how to promote branding and help the collaborative client perform market research.

The students not only presented their products theoretically; they produced tangible examples of their proposed products, staying true to the client by sourcing all passionfruit exclusively from SKH Farming. This hands-on approach provided compelling evidence of the viability of their solutions and showcased their commitment to aligning closely with the client’s resources and vision.

These projects were aligned with the AEP framework, demonstrating the students’ resourcefulness in securing partnerships with home-based businesses and local SMEs such as Beez Gelato for the gelato and Bad Cat Borneo for the tuak.

By maintaining strong industry connections, engaging in authentic learning experiences and collaborating with local enterprises, the students are well-equipped to drive future projects that solve real-world problems and also contribute positively and meaningfully to the local economy and community.

A group photo of the students at SKH Farming.

A group photo of the students at SKH Farming.

Dr Wee expressed his pride in the students’ achievements, noting that the project exemplifies the core values of the AEP framework. “This project not only equips our students with the theoretical knowledge but also immerses them in the practical realities of entrepreneurship. It is a testament to their creativity, determination and ability to collaborate with industry partners.”

The panel also provided extensive positive feedback on the solutions presented by the students, commending their innovation and strategic thinking. Additionally, they offered valuable suggestions on how to further improve the solutions as well as constructive feedback on the presentation skills of the students.

The remarkable success of these teams highlights Swinburne Sarawak’s dedication to nurturing entrepreneurial talent and cultivating impactful solutions that have the potential to propel economic and social advancement within the region.

For more information on Swinburne Sarawak, visit its website, Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram page (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk), TikTok page (@swinburnesarawak) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).

Media Enquiries

Tania Lam
Officer (Communication and Events)

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