|19 Jul 2023
|2023 Finalists Global Student Prize
As a bakery and pastry student who is also a self-sufficient and independent entrepreneur, Nurul is determined to fight the public misconception that vocational education is an inferior type of learning. In her country, baking is viewed as providing limited career prospects, and Nurul seeks to disprove this assumption by demonstrating how valuable her education choice has been to herself, her peers and her community.
With the skills that Nurul has gained, she successfully started her own business called “Tiaa Cookie” in 2022 while still a school student. Since its launch, she has been constantly improving her business strategy, for example by switching packaging to sustainable paper bags and doing a promotional sale of cookies with personalized positive messages during student mental health week. This has allowed her to self-fund her own expenses and invite her classmates into the business as partners. Her presence selling cookies at public events also led to a visit by the Malaysian Minister of Innovation, who sampled Nurul’s cookies and was photographed with her as an endorsement.
Beyond establishing the self-sufficiency and quality of her business, Nurul has also sought to engage with and support her community through her work. In an effort to raise public understanding of vocational education, she has led many live demonstrations, exhibitions and outreach activities at schools, education events and a national carnival in Malaysia. In addition, she has visited several schools in the interior region of Sabah to promote her industry with live demonstrations of cake decoration. With the help of some teachers, she has also mobilized her peers to start a baking class for single mothers and women from low-income backgrounds. Together they have trained over 120 single and low-income mothers (from the 40 per cent of the population that earns less than the average income) in baking and entrepreneurship, so that they can use these new skills to make their living.
Nurul is the recipient of a number of awards, including the silver medal at the Research and Innovation Poster Competition (RIPC) 2023 and the bronze medal at the Indonesia Inventors' Day 2022. If she wins the Global Student Prize, she will use the funds to expand her business and transform it to a social enterprise by combining it with community workshops and public outreach to train more women to kickstart their own businesses. She would also produce more recipe books based on the diverse ethnic cultures of Sabah so that the region can preserve its cultural heritage through its traditional foods. Some funds would go towards getting new recipes tested in established labs to obtain the necessary certificates and accreditations to market her products more widely. Finally, Nurul would fund a bachelor’s degree in tourism, which would perfectly complement her vision of using food to boost the local economy and make it self-sufficient.