Graduation Ceremony of SME@HELP University

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The ELM Graduate School at HELP University recently held a Graduation Ceremony for the 2017 SME@HELP University graduates. Twenty-three graduates, all CEOs of their own small and medium business enterprises, proudly walked onto the stage to receive their certificates after successfully completing an intensive 3-month programme at the ELM Graduate School at HELP University. The graduation ceremony held at Sime Darby Convention Centre, Bukit Kiara, was officiated by Datin Dr Wendy Liow, Vice President and Dean of the ELM Graduate School, HELP University.

In her opening speech, Datin Dr Wendy Liow mentioned two very special entrepreneurs in her life who taught her the art and science of business. One whom she has been married to for the last 30 years and the other is, Datuk Dr Paul Chan. Dr Wendy said that being with both entrepreneurs taught her two different things, namely the “scientific part” from her engineer husband who taught her how to be very analytical, structured and rational and the art of business on how to be intuitive and creative, from her boss, Datuk Dr Paul Chan.

Dr Wendy went on to say that while we may find it frustrating and challenging to work with people who are different, it is necessary for our own personal and professional growth. Hence, she said, the next time when you are thinking of going into partnership with someone or hiring a new staff, look for people that complement you and not for people that agree with you because diversity is the key.

Before she closed her speech, Dr Wendy shared three things that she learnt from successful entrepreneurs. Firstly, revenue generation is not a task that can be delegated. Revenue is like water and oxygen and without them, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. Hence, do not delegate such an important responsibility to your marketing and sales people. You may work with them but never delegate to them. Your neck must be the only neck that your shareholders choke if the revenue does not come in.

Secondly, your name, personal brand and network can only bring you so far, it’s what your business does for your customers that will sustain your business. Be clear about the value you bring to the customer and the money will come in. When you call yourself an entrepreneur, you are in for a marathon, not a 100m sprint, you do not sacrifice your long-term goals for short-term gain.

Thirdly, entrepreneurs must be self-nurturing if they want to run the marathon. They must take care of their physical and psychological health so that others can rely on them. Successful entrepreneurs also understand the importance of constantly improving themselves and knowing that every solution breeds a new problem. There is never any eternal solution for any problem, so you must find the best opportunity for the problem that you encounter and brace yourself for new problems. Each problem brings a fresh opportunity to do things differently or creates something new.

Finally, she said that the lessons imparted during the 3-month course stress that every solution creates its own problem and that opportunities come when new problems arise. In the end, she said, only those with the right head-brain-and-mind will be able to run a business successfully.

Datuk Dr Paul Chan, Vice Chancellor of HELP University, took to the podium right after to address the graduates. He stressed about what the underlying mission of the university is and that it is always their goal to give people the opportunity to learn. By learning, only then can one succeed in life as they lead a life of significance through higher education and knowledge.

Datuk Dr Paul also said that entrepreneurs today must have the courage to be a leader and be able to constantly transform oneself in order to be a diverse and engaging problem-solver year-round. Ms Sashikala Devi Gopallan, the Director of SME Development Department, HRDF, also shared her work experiences about the hardships of running a business and being an entrepreneur.

She pointed out that customer loyalty these days is a rare commodity and urged all graduates present to always build their brand name by marketing themselves better. She then shared with us the latest tool offered by HRDF, the MyFuture diagnostic tool, a fully-funded HRDF-based project for SMEs to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their human capital in their business. Ms Sashikala said that companies today only spend about 1% of its revenue to develop their employees’ capabilities. Hence, she stated, in order for SMEs today to become successful, they must constantly want to train their staff as it is just as important to focus on the staff’s growth as well as the business’ products.

Mark Kenny Douglas, one of the SME@HELP University 2017 graduates, was chosen to speak on behalf of his fellow graduates. In his speech, Mr Douglas encouraged all his fellow graduates to implement what they have learnt during the 3-month course into successfully running their own enterprise.

The ceremony then commenced with a video presentation highlighting the 3-month training period and the graduates’ trip to South Korea. It was a proud culmination of recognition of all the graduates’ efforts and hard work as they were presented with their certificates and awards. The graduation ceremony ended with a group photo session followed by a luncheon and a networking session between the graduates.

About the SME@HELP University Programme

The SME@HELP University programme provides a structured learning opportunity to the CEOs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The programme is designed to help CEOs understand what it takes to develop their company into a national, regional and global enterprise. They also learn how to develop and cultivate a positive culture within their company, explore various diagnostic business tools to cope with a dynamic business environment and to refine the business plan of their company.

The programme is based on the SME University of Japan’s hands-on approach, a model for participants to learn what it takes to become a world-class CEO. The duration of this programme is 3 months and the registration fee is RM2,500, which will be refunded upon full completion of the programme*. HELP University is the only private university to receive funding from HRDF and this is the university’s fourth year running the SME@HELP University programme.

*Participants will forfeit their registration fee if they fail the programme or do not complete the full 3-month course.

For further enquiries, kindly contact or email:

Ms Ho Jet Ling
Tel: 03-2716 2259/ 011- 3939 0688

Ms Christy Chong
Tel: 03-2716 2102

Ms Ho Jet Ling
Tel: 03-2716 2259/ 011- 3939 0688

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