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How an IFTM degree helped entrepreneur Jacob Wong prepare for launch

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFTM alumnus Mr. Jacob Wong appears to be a young man in a big hurry. After helping his family launch the successful Élysée Bakery chain in 2014, and graduating from IFTM in 2017, he is now busy with a venture to bring smart technology to vending machines.

Mr. Wong is an entrepreneur who likes to launch new lines of business, and he says the knowledge and skills gained from his education at the Institute have helped him immensely.

He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Retail and Marketing Management. While he has always enjoyed an entrepreneurial mindset, the formal training at the Institute in fields such as marketing gave him the tools to put business ideas into practice.

He first applied that know-how in launching Élysée Bakery Co. Ltd. “I went on an exchange in the Netherlands in my second year at IFTM. At the same time, my family visited France for business research,” Mr. Wong says. “After that, we decided to open a specialty, French-style bakery.”

The idea to position the Élysée Bakery brand as a seller of French-style products was first proposed by Mr. Wong, who took on the marketing function. He remains deeply involved in the management of Élysée Bakery to this day.

“We invited a person from France to work with us,” he says. The person worked as a baker and pastry chef. “We use French-style furnishing. We play French music in the shops. We make our products according to French recipes.”

The strategy has been so successful that many in Macao think Élysée Bakery is French-owned, a misconception that pleases the owners.

Shortly after he graduated from IFTM, Mr. Wong decided to venture out on his own and into the field of highly engineered vending machines. The inspiration came during a visit to Hong Kong in 2018 to help his family set up an Élysée Bakery branch. “I saw some cashierless stores, which was something that utterly did not exist in Macao at that time,” he says.

His company, IM Technology Ltd, is much more than just a trader in vending machines, Mr. Wong says. IM Technology offers a key-in-hand service.

“It is more like a package,” he says. “We write the code for the machine’s operating system. We can customise the appearance of the machine. We can offer mobile advertising.” The company also helps enterprises develop sales and marketing strategies.

IM Technology offers 2 types of vending machine: one for retail sales, and another dispensing freshly brewed coffee and other hot or cold drinks.

The business has helped draw Mr. Wong back to his alma mater. He is currently working with IFTM to create a vending machine that is tailor-made for the Institute. The machine will use cloud technology, allowing IFTM to use it for posting announcements and to publicise special activities.

Value-added education

Mr. Wong says what he learned at IFTM has helped him greatly in his youthful career as an entrepreneur. “Many IFTM students might say that there are large amounts of group projects at the Institute,” he says. “In fact, this builds team spirit. I’ve learned how to communicate with others through these projects.”

The Institute’s group projects offer students opportunities to work with real companies, for instance on developing marketing plans, Mr. Wong says. “In the end, these companies give us feedback accordingly, to let us understand whether our ideas are feasible. This is something that is very valuable.”

Mr. Wong is full of praise for the range of exchange programmes available at IFTM, and for the requirement that all students pursuing bachelor’s degrees complete an internship in Year 3. He says these features of an IFTM education have helped him formulate an outlook on entrepreneurship.

“Macao is too small. Going on exchange to the Netherlands broadened my horizons,” he says. “I got the chance to explore the world and I did learn a lot.”

His curricular internship at the Galaxy Macau integrated resort made another big contribution to his vocational development. “During those 6 months I helped write the standard operating procedures for the retail department,” he says. “There were things I was able to understand through this work, things that I could never learn from textbooks.”

President’s Corner

A special place

IFTM’s unique positioning means students have access to a deep pool of exclusive opportunities, including exchange and internship programmes outside Macao, allowing them to be exposed to new ideas, and to broaden their horizons. Read More