Wish comes true for ‘Swish’

Lyna Mohammad

HNTec business and finance students of the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Business Campus launched Swish, a ready-to-drink product recently.

The idea of producing the drink was hatched through the method of authentic learning, where, instead of teaching students through lectures, IBTE Senior Technical Instructor Fujiminori Darwis led them to Sabli factory to create the product.

The students observed the manufacturing process and, following the production, were required to come up with an entrepreneur sales strategy. They sold to school canteens and retailer shops.

Fujiminori explained that the students were supervised by their instructors and Sabli Food Industries (B) Sdn Bhd factory employees during the manufacturing process. This is part of collaboration activities between the IBTE Entrepreneur Club and Sabli Group of Companies.

Mohd Faiz Afifuddin bin Md Jaffar Sahah is the Head of the IBTE Entrepreneurial Club – under the Entrepreneur Creativity and Innovation Module – and is responsible for the planning, organising and control of the 120 students for the business activities of Semester 1.

A shopper waits to sample the Swish product.

The authentic learning covered the manufacturing process, sales and marketing, follow-up with the sales team and updating social media to communicate with customers, delivering and doing sales.

“Our products come in lemon tea, orange, mango and blackcurrant flavours. We were taught the techniques and marketing, selling and distribution procedures as well as delivery of Swish to retail shops and school canteens with the cooperation of Sabli Food Industries (B) Sdn Bhd. We also had the opportunity to sell the product during the Bandarku Ceria event,” said Mohd Faiz.

After three months, their efforts have been fruitful, with 60,000 bottles sold. Faiz attributes this to Fujiminori’s guidance and to students’ hard work.

Fujiminori discussed the IBTE Innovative Project, with reference to the Entrepreneurial Creativity and Innovation module.

He said 21 booths were set up at the event following the official product launch. Students were required to come with Swish-based innovations, allowing them to strengthen their creativity and innovativeness.

Keeping in mind that a business needs to be worked on full-time (and not merely as a semester project), under the IBTE Entrepreneur Club, they have graduates selling and distributing while waiting for a job.

“They gain valuable knowledge on sales, marketing and distribution of product. Some graduates are skilled in cooking or repairing cars, but have no marketing skills. Our role here is to give them exposure to this knowledge, and once they are experts, they can resign and venture into their own entrepreneurship,” said Fujiminori.

One of the graduates, May, said there was a lot of things learnt outside the classroom. These included sales targets, discipline, dealing with customers and attitudes, closing deals, how to be self-motivated in dealing with non-supportive customers, as well as valuable exposure on finance-related fields.

“Some retailers are not supportive. However, most school canteens support locals. They fully support Swish, and that gives me strength to provide a good service,” said May.

The IBTE Entrepreneur Club was established to provide students taking the Entrepreneurial Creativity and Innovation module the avenue to learn the process of manufacturing, sales and distribution. This is part of IBTE Business Campus’ efforts to provide an authentic learning environment for the students to be exposed to the industry’s operational ecosystem, while the existing Youth Enterprise Services (YES) Centre focusses on retail business operations.

The club was formed in July 2019 with the support of IBTE Business Campus management team, the Principal, Head of School, Operation Manager, Academic Manager and Fujiminori (as club manager).

The club also hires and provides work experience to graduates of IBTE Business Campus. The initiative is supported by Legislative Council member and Chairman of Sabli Group of Companies Yang Berhormat Haji Abdul Hamid @ Sabli bin Haji Arshad.

“We encourage the public to support Swish, a locally made brand. It is 100 per cent Bruneian, delivered and sold by Bruneians (our students) but the activity will be meaningless if retailers do not support our brand,” Fujiminori said.

Adding on, Mohd Faiz shared that the club also conducts a programme called Mari Bersedekah where those who want to participate by donating Swish fruit drinks to mosques can do so by contacting them directly or by following them on Instagram.