The formation of the Malaysian Academy of SME and Entrepreneurship Development (MASMED) consolidated the work of three centres devoted to the nurturing of the entrepreneurial spirit at Universiti Teknologi MARA; namely the Malaysian Entrepreneurship Development Centre (MEDEC), The Tunas Mekar Project and The Entrepreneurship Research and Support Centre (ERSC).
The first move towards establishing entrepreneurship education in UiTM started with the creation of MEDEC, as far back as 1975, at a time when entrepreneurship studies was a rarity, if not a non-entity, in learning centres around the world. The first of its kind in the nation, centre was set up specifically for the purposes of planning and implementing entrepreneurship education, training and research. Throughout its tenure MEDEC has worked hard to establish an entrepreneurial curriculum to inspire an encourage a more enterprising culture amongst our students and the community. Besides, as one of the main drivers of enterprise in the university, MEDEC has assisted aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with business advisory and consultancy services.
During the next decade, smart partnership and pathways were created through a highly practical and enriching apprenticeship programme between graduates and SME entreprenuers with the launching of the Tunas Mekar project in 2005. Initiated by then Prime Minister, Tun Hj. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the project aimed at improving SME performance and to create entrepreneurial awareness and skills amongst graduates. Under a two year programme wherein graduates are placed as apprentices with SME's business owners are provided with the opportunity to learn about new management techniques whilst graduates gain first hand insight about running a business from experts and practitioners in the industry.
Our research and consultancy activities were broadened in the 2000s, augmented significantly by the establishment of the ESRC in 2009. The ESRC focuses on entrepreneurship research in niche areas and a review of promising practices leading to the sharing of findings through a range of international and national seminars, conferences and publications. It actively propagates entrepreneurship-friendly policies. Looking at how to translate theory into practices and sharing what the researchers have learnt, the ESRC provides training and advisory services for solidifying the business strategies of aspiring and continuing entrepreneurs.
Over the years, the range and depth of courses and services provided by these centres have increased significantly to foster business creation and success amongst our students. Today, we are consolidating these efforts in a big way, forging MASMED as a dynamic and solid centre of excellence for scaling the levels of innovation and entrepreneurship in our students and the wider community. This is in no small measure due to the vision of UiTM's founders and the blueprint for MASMED that was launched in the university's infant days.