Fostering Digital Entrepreneurship Capabilities at Rural Schools: A Malaysian Case Study

Syukrina Alini Mat Ali, Erne Suzila Kassim, Melissa Shahrom, Norshima Humaidi, Norol Hamiza Zamzuri
Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA


Malaysia is gearing towards becoming a digital nation. As such, many aspects have been transformed to implement digitisation, including entrepreneurship. However, studies on digital entrepreneurship are limited, especially in rural areas in which a promising potential can be seen to market local products and services. Entrepreneurship is a common activity in Malaysian secondary schools through cooperatives (co-op) and it serves as a starting point of nurturing the younger generation’s knowledge in business; therefore, it would be meaningful to understand how information technology (IT) is accepted as part of the driver to digital entrepreneurship and cooperative competence. To explore the state of readiness in accepting digital entrepreneurship and the potential barriers, the study was conducted in the setting of rural school. Qualitative research was then conducted to answer the question of how digital entrepreneurship could be nurtured at rural schools. The corresponding results were drawn from semi-structured interviews with the school administration, co-op advisor, and co-op members, in addition to observations made on the co-op shop and the school surroundings. Therefore, the findings suggested four main themes playing important roles in nurturing the innovative digital entrepreneurship capabilities, namely school administration, technology capabilities, environment, and student factor. It is recommended that schools should be more innovative in simplifying the internal co-op policy while working together with other systems, as well as work on motivating the school children for their involvement in the entrepreneurship and digital business.

Keywords: Digital entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Teaching entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship in Malaysia, Innovation and information technology, Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0, Digital divide