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PENANG, 12 June 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Communication recently organised the ‘Digitalization of Penang Entrepreneurs (D.O.P.E)’ programme, as part of the YBP230 Corporate Social Responsibility coursework.

This initiative, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Jamilah Hj Ahmad and Dr. Suriati Saad, was held at the MBPP Makerspace in Balik Pulau, Penang.

D.O.P.E aims to equip small business owners, especially in Penang, with digital knowledge by up-skilling workshops to adapt to the digital era.

The event was launched by Dato’ Seri Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of the Bumiputera Foundation, Penang.

In his opening speech, he emphasised the importance of a deep understanding of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

He further said, "Mastery of these technologies is key to ensuring businesses remain competitive, thereby contributing to the country's continuous and sustainable economic growth."

The event continued with business digitalization sharing sessions by Tan Gaik Tong and Chu Boon, whom were invited by Digital Penang to give the talk.

There were also activities focused on brand positioning entitled “Positioning for Success,” personally conducted by USM students. This session focused on online branding to help these small business owners refine their brand identities, set strategic goals, and develop content suited to their target audiences.

Several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) joined in the programme, namely Saji Warisan Enterprise, Body Secret Home SPA, Kick Coffee, M.E.N.U Tomyam, Gerak Dinamik Enterprise, and Spin Chicken Rice USM.

“I had a great time sharing our stories and picking up new knowledge. I look forward to participate in more programmes by USM in the future,” said Saliyana Shuhaidah from M.E.N.U Tomyam.

According to Jamilah, the programme was held to allow students to connect with the community and the industry, by understanding the needs and provide benefits that will be sustainable in nature for the target audience.

“Additionally, the CSR course has the objective of equipping students with the ability to relate the social needs of the community or target public with that of the organisation (Corporate or NGO),” she said.  

In conducting CSR effectively, the D.O.P.E event highlighted the importance of community efforts to support local businesses and promote economic growth through digital innovation.

By helping entrepreneurs with digital skills, USM students are hoping to create a stronger business environment among the SMEs in Penang.

Source text & photo: Dr. Suriati Saad, School of Communication, USM/Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin

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