ERASMUS + FAB (Masters Programme in Family Business Management), UiTM Cawangan Sarawak

Universiti Teknologi MARA Sarawak is hosting a Steering Committee Meeting for the Consortium of  ERASMUS+ FAB (Masters Programme in Family Business Management) on the 30 – 31 January 2024 in its campus in Kota Samarahan. A total of 48 project members are convening to reflect on the tasks achieved and update the progress on the roadmap to the completion of the project.  It also aims to develop plans on the exploitation and sustainability plan and network with international family businesses.

The transnational consortium is made up of 4 universities from 3 European Union countries, namely Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece, and 15 universities from 6 Asian countries, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.  Three other organisations, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports from Cambodia, the Centre for Social Innovation from Cyprus and Readlab from Greece form the 22-members consortium.

The FAB project is co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE), part of the European Union programme which supports international cooperation projects based on multilateral partnerships between organisations active in higher education.  It addresses the unique challenges that family businesses face toward critical success, and sustainability lies with effective succession.  However, new successors may not share a business vision like their forefathers. On this note, there is a need to understand further the entrepreneurial inclination of those managing family-owned businesses in addressing the issue of sustainability and their ability to contribute effectively to the country’s economic growth.

The four-year project, which started on 15 November 2020 and ended on 14 November 2024, developed a curriculum for a new master’s degree in Family Business Management supported by a VET professional training course and centers of excellence that promote cooperation, innovation, and career development. A Virtual Learning Environment consisting of an Academic Space, a Virtual Library, and Massive Online Open Courses were also established. The tasks were achieved by transferring knowledge from leading 4 EU research-intensive universities to 15 Asian universities. A training workshop was held in Cambodia hosted by the Royal University of Phnom Penh on 1 – 3 June 2022, followed by the Philippines hosted by Ateneo De Manila University on 29 June – 1 July 2022, and  2 study visits to the University of Aveiro, Portugal and the University of Nicosia in June 2023.

UiTM will offer the Master of Business Administration concentrating on Family Business in the coming Semester of 2024. This is to provide entrepreneurship education and family-business-specific management training and research into family-business-specific topics ensured by the size of the Consortium and the different expertise of partners in these fields.

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak has secured 7 ERASMUS+ projects since 2015.  UiTM Sarawak’s first ERASMUS+ project was Blended Learning for Teacher Educators in Asia and Europe (BLTeae), awarded in 2016 and completed in 2019. Eleven partners from higher institutions in 4 EU and 4 Asian countries made up the consortium. Subsequent projects are projects on Food Processing and Innovation (2018-2022), Industry 4.0 (2019-2023), Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics (2019-2023), Family Business Management (2020 – 2024), and Portable Video Conferencing Toolkits and Online Applications for Engaging Learning Experience Design in Higher Education Classroom (2022-2025). The most recent is on Smart City ASEAN Learning Network (SCALe), an innovative ecosystem that started in July 2023.  UiTM Sarawak manages the ERASMUS+ Industry 4.0 project while being partners in the others. The total grant is RM24,876,144.

On a broader perspective, the seven consortiums consist of 85 institutions from EU and Asian countries with Memorandums of Understanding for the sustainability of these projects beyond the three-year lifetime. A total of 30 UiTM lecturers are the principal researchers in all the projects. The consortiums foster cooperation across different regions worldwide, spearheading UiTM towards the vision of a Globally Renowned University in Science, Technology, Humanities, and Entrepreneurship.