The Brunei-Wakayama Prefecture partnership began in 2013 with the very first Wakayama-Brunei Students Cultural Exchange Programme. A year later, Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) Secondary School was once again invited to participate in the first students’ forum for High Schools of Asian and Oceanian countries. Now, seven years later, Yayasan Secondary was granted a great opportunity with a special invitation to be part of a new programme: The Global Technology Entrepreneur (GTE) Innovation Challenge 2019.
It was a privilege as YSHHB Secondary School was the only school from Brunei this year. During the programme from July 27 to August 4, Muiz Hakeem bin Firdaus (9 Arts) and Muhammad Salahuddin Al-Hakim bin Haji Hairol (9 Science) along with their supervising teacher, Nur Afiqah binti Haji Sahminan, represented the school. In this programme, students were offered to learn on how to set up business plans and attended workshops on entrepreneurship and communication skills delivered by the world’s top instructor, Juston Glass.
The pre-preparation for the contest was a challenging one. The preparation alone took months of research and pitching-practice before flying out to attend international programme. According to our participants, the common challenge they faced was finishing their group presentations in a short amount of time. Despite not winning the overall contest, Hakim was awarded with an Outstanding Performance Award. “Although I was the quiet person in my group,” he explained. “I made sure to be involved and contribute. The award was unexpected as I was just doing my best to help my group with our presentation.”
Apart from being in the competition, the participants also had the opportunities to experience the Japanese culture by taking part in the Wakayama Summer Festival. They learnt a traditional dance called Yosakoi. The overall experiences were invaluable, according to the two students. “After joining the contest, I was motivated to start my own business someday,” Hakim expressed. It was indeed a good opportunity to allow the students to grow as an individual and develop their interest in entrepreneurship. After coming home, the participants had a sharing session with their peers on their experiences.