IZZAT MD ISMAIL AZMI NAWI
Izzat is a man with lots of passion and creativity. He is consistently looking for innovative ways to diversify his products and services. Upon facing with obstacles, he will diligently look for ways to overcome it. Due to his deep interest in multimedia, Izzat always remains passionate for his work.
EDN has been in the business of producing interactive multimedia CD-ROMs for learning Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) based on the Singapore primary and secondary school syllabus since 1998. Over the years, EDN has evolved and diversified its products and services. Currently, the company has expanded their services to Inbound & Outbound Educational Tours, E-LEARNING, and enrichment programmes.
Izzat is very approachable and sincere. Through my interaction with him, I can feel that he is sensitive to feedback and responsive to market changes. Izzat takes his customers and employees feedback seriously and is always looking for ways to improve.
- What is the nature of your business?
EDN has been in the business of producing interactive multimedia CD-ROMs for learning Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) based on the Singapore primary and secondary school syllabus since 1998. In the year 2000, it started to transform the CD-ROM contents to E-learning and it was well received by the schools in Singapore.
Since the early years, EDN has evolved and diversified its products and services. Currently, the company has been conducting and organizing creative writings, literature and educational based cultural camps in schools (primary, secondary and junior colleges) to complement its product and service range.
Furthermore, the Company has even expanded their wings in doing National Education Tours with using IPOD and also overseas Educational Tours
EDN believes its new dimensional program equipped with highly innovative features will provide students a comprehensive and stimulating learning structure.
They have been active in publishing children magazines targeting primary school students in Singapore. They also assist local writers in publishing books, promoting Singapore's writers and their works in Singapore and overseas.
- When and why did you decide to become an entrepreneur / take over your family business?
Back in 1998, Izzat and his business partner discovered there was a demand in interactive multimedia CD-ROMs for Malay language learning. Because Izzat comes from a multimedia background, his strong passion in multimedia drove him to create interactive software to make education more interactive and fun. Izzat is the first in his family to start a business.
- What are your reasons for choosing to do business in this particular industry?
Izzat chose this industry mainly due to 2 reasons. First, his passion in multimedia industry. Second, he felt that there was a market in educational CD-ROMs for Malay language learning. Back in 1998, most educational CD-ROMs are restricted to English and Mathematic learning, and they were mainly designed and produced overseas. Izzat believed he can create similar product for Malay language learning (Behasa Melayu).
- How did you put together all the resources needed to start your business? For example: getting the start-up capital, hiring staff, doing sales and marketing, advertising, etc.
Izzat and his partner started EDN together. Izzat's partner was handling the marketing and Izzat was tasked to design and create the educational CD-ROMs. Izzat did not have much to start with. His most valuable resources were his innovation and creativity.
- What is your company vision and mission?
EDN vision: "EDN Media Pte Ltd aims to be the most creative software developer providing specialised IT-based educational materials, workshops and camps."
Their mission: "To provide excellent service to schools, individuals and the needs of the community through the best educational training delivery methods, most effective training of teachers & students as well as prompt action to satisfy customer needs."
- What are some of the challenges you faced when you first went into business?
Izzat and his business partner did a lot of initial research before they started EDN. Hence, everything works out to their initial expectations. However, as technology advances, they have to consistently come out with new ideas to make their educational industry up-to-date and attractive with new innovations like introducing iPads to their tours. This is the biggest challenge EDN is facing and will continue to face.
- How did you overcome these challenges? Please share some specific examples of the action you took to overcome the challenges.
Izzat and his team have to be sensitive to the latest multimedia updates and try to supplement it into the existing product. Technology has always been revolving from CD-ROMs of being obsolete to transform them to applications. This is the only way to ensure our Bahasa Melayu content remains relevant and sought after.
- Can you remember your worst day in business or a time when you felt like giving up? What happened that made you feel that way and how did you triumph over it?
Izzat believes obstacles are there for us to overcome. There is no worst day in business, everyday is a challenge. Izzat always remain positive in any situation he was in.
- Can you share some of the lessons you learnt from overcoming your own business challenges that you think will help other businesses?
Do not give up your ideas easily. Think of ways to go around it, instead of giving up without serious trying.
- When was the moment you realised the business would work and support you?
Due to the amount of effort placed into planning before the business was launched, EDN was doing well within 3 to 5 months and everything was going according to plan.
- What are some of your proudest business achievements to date? And why are they so important and meaningful to you?
Izzat proudest business achievement is to have seen EDN grow from year to year. EDN has diversified its product and services over the years. From designing and producing CD-ROMs, to e-LEARNING, Enrichment programmes and also Educational Tours. EDN has also created an iPad application for students to use, while going on cultural camps/trips. This interactive way of learning will arouse student's interest on our local culture, making learning fun!
- How do you differentiate your business from your competitors? Please provide specific examples.
Izzat strongly believes in value-add. He is consistently exploring ways to add to his existing products and services, making the whole experience more exclusive. For example, he gives out free related CD-ROMs to student at the end of each trip/camps for reference. Offers iPad application, instead of print-outs while students go on tour. This iPad application is not just informative and engaging but also encourages teamwork within students, something that print-outs could not offer.
- What are some business ideas you have implemented that created great results in your business?
The introduction of iPad application eventually replaced the traditional print-outs, which students used to carry around during the tour. Izzat intentionally designed the application to be interactive and promotes teamwork. This has made learning more enjoyable for students.
- Where or who do you get your business ideas from?
Izzat came out with this business idea together with his business partner. They feel that print-outs are not eco-friendly and also not as interactive. Students have to carry pens and print-outs with them throughout the trip which were usually misplaced during the trip. By providing an iPad and creating an application, they managed to resolve all the problems previously faced. On top of that, it adds so much more fun to the student while learning.
- How have these business ideas impacted your Company or business?
This business idea has brought in more sales. In addition, feedback from both teachers and students were also very positive.
- What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
"Dare to be different!"
- What are some entrepreneurship qualities that you have which has helped you come this far?
Having the courage to make your dream a reality. Be dedicated to your role. Always remain positive even when you are faced with obstacles.
- In your opinion, what other qualities does a person need in order to be successful in business? And why? (eg. Educational qualification, work experience, family influence, attitude, etc)
In order to be successful in business, it is important to have knowledge to assist in making your idea a reality. Work experience is also essential to increase the chance of your company success. Positive mindset will help when you encounter difficult situations.
- In your opinion, what does it mean to have the 'spirit of enterprise'?
"Never try, never know."
- Who or what motivates and inspires you?
My Parents! Especially Izzat's Father. His father has always taught him not to give up his idea easily and persevere when he faces obstacles. My wife plays an important role to motivating me and be there during my ups and downs.
- What are some of your business values and what would you like to pass down to others, particularly the younger generation?
Business is risky, but with proper marketing research, this risk can be significantly reduced. Younger generation should be reminded that initial setup plays a major part to the future of the company. Be dedicated and passionate to your work.
- With the changes in the market today, do you think it has become harder or easier to succeed in business? Why do you say so?
Business is a risk. Izzat believes the playing field is always the same. You must dare be different with others in order to succeed. With detailed initial research and set-ups, anyone can succeed in business.
- What advice would you give young people who want to start their own business?
Don't be afraid to dream. Anyone has the ability to make their dream a reality. Be responsive to changes around you and adapt to it.