I find it odd when a group of so-called 'entrepreneurs' are still dependent on and are expecting government help in their businesses...
Inaugural Bumiputra Entrepreneurs Assembly forward six resolutions to PM
According to Wikipedia, 'The term entrepreneur is a loanword from French, and is commonly used to describe an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so. The term was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon as the person who pays a certain price for a product to resell it at an uncertain price, thereby making decisions about obtaining and using the resources while consequently admitting the risk of enterprise. The term first appeared in the French Dictionary "Dictionnaire Universel de Commerce" of Jacques des Bruslons published in 1723....'
Other definitions mentioned which I find relevant:
1934: Schumpeter: Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services.
1964: Peter Drucker: An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource.
1975: Albert Shapero: Entrepreneurs take initiative, accept risk of failure and have an internal locus of control.
1985: W.B. Gartner: Entrepreneur is a person who started a new business where there was none before.
Koon Yew Yin is a very successful Malaysian entrepreneur, with years of experience, particularly in the competitive building construction business. He had on several occasions given his invaluable advice on how to produce competitive Bumiputra contractors. But his advice seemed to have landed on deaf ears of those entrusted with the powers to change things (mainly because of political expediency)...
"I recently published an article with the title, “Room for Competitive Bumiputera Companies - A Wasteful National Mission”. My intention was to support Petronas Chairman Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas who is under fire from the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) for allegedly marginalizing Bumiputera companies and favouring more competitive foreign companies.
In fact MTEM has conveniently forgotten that in 2010 and 2011 alone, Petronas awarded a huge sum of about Rm 74 billion worth of contracts to Bumiputera controlled companies. Apparently this is not enough for MTEM which has called for Tan Sri Shamsul and the board members of Petronas to resign. MTEM expects to get most of the contracts irrespective of whether they are competent to undertake the contracts.
This politicking against Petronas - a national company with all Malaysians as stakeholders - is certainly not good for our economy. I wish to emphasize that Petronas is not a Malay company and Malay cronies of UMNO should not expect hand outs and contracts as if we are still living in the NEP era.
It is time that all Malay business enterprises and individuals grow up and realize they have to become competitive if they wish to survive in the business world. Nowhere in the real world is there preferential treatment for Bumiputera or any other ‘putera’!
Continuously giving out contracts to Bumiputeras as MTEM is calling for - without competitive tenders - will make them more inefficient and result in poor quality work. At the end of the day, it will be all Malaysians who will have to bear the collapse of a crony-driven and Malay-oriented Petronas if it loses its standing in the global market.
Giving out contracts without a full tender process is akin to corruption. Why a closed tender or Bumiputra favouring policy has to be pursued by Petronas needs to be openly justified by MTEM rather than swept under the carpet and hidden by the veil of threats..."
The best way to produce competitive Bumiputera contractors
Even with my past dealings with small-time Chinese building contractors, I could observe the following:
1. The successful ones were those who had learnt at least one of the trades, if not actually knowing how to do the work, at least understood fully what it involved with 'hands-on' experience. Eg. He started as a carpenter, bricklayer or tiler; if not, he had experience as a clerk-of-works; as contruction contracts became bigger, he would have employed qualified quantity surveyors, engineers, and building managers to oversee them.
2. Besides long hours of hard work in ensuring completion of projects within time schedules (at the risk of heavy penalties for late delivery), they needed strict discipline in controlling their finances. Many contractors failed because they got carried away with their success and got into frequenting expensive restaurants and other entertainment places in the name of entertaining clients, business associates and government officials. When they received progress payments for work done, they did not realise that if 10% was the overall profit margin, they should only spend for themselves up to 10% of each cheque received. The rest should be reserved for paying the material suppliers, salaries of workers and other costs of construction. Some contractors on their way to failure were actually relying on cash-flows from new contracts to cover costs of earlier projects!
3. The best way to get more contracts was the track record of a successfully completed project.