Summer springboard to new start-up ideas

The participants at The Hangar at NUS Enterprise

Students from ASEAN gained new ideas and perspectives on entrepreneurship, as well as networked with experts at the 14th run of the NUS Enterprise Summer Programme on Entrepreneurship. The programme, held from 15 to 26 July, also saw strong bonds formed between the participants — close to 200 students from 50 universities across 20 countries. The number is almost doubled from last year and is by far the largest cohort.

Over the two weeks, participants were exposed to a wide range of learning activities, including specially curated panel discussions and sharing sessions where a diverse group of entrepreneurs gave engaging narratives of their start-up journeys. They also visited incubation spaces such as The Hangar by NUS Enterprise and BLOCK71 to learn how start-ups take off from an initial idea, and social enterprises like Mangrove Learning to find out how start-ups addressed social issues. Participants also discovered how innovation and intrapreneurship are incorporated into organisations from tech companies such as Google and ShopBack.

I’ve probably become more selfless in my decisions in entrepreneurship because at the end of the day, it is not about me but the customer. We are creating a future for them, not us.

“One thing I admire about the Singapore start-up scene is how the government supports start-ups with young founders that have good ideas. They help to build on it, guide them through failures, and support them with technologies, materials and funding. It really is a country that strives for continuous improvement,” said a participant, Vanessa Eunice Scully, a student at Malaysia’s University of Malaya.

A highlight this year was a focus on entrepreneurial opportunities in Southeast Asia, one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Students had the chance to participate in a panel discussion on “Start-up & Innovation Ecosystem and Opportunities in ASEAN”. The panel speakers included ASEAN Ambassadors to Singapore from Cambodia, Philippines and Thailand, as well as a representative from the Embassy of Indonesia in Singapore.

During the programme, the participants were also exposed to various languages and cultures from the ASEAN region through immersive hands-on activities. They tried out Balinese dance, played and harmonised the Angklung — a musical instrument from Indonesia, and learned Tinikling — a traditional Philippine folk dance. They also tried their hands at batik making.

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Participants had the opportunity to learn the Angklung

In the first week, participants formed teams and developed innovative start-up ideas to be pitched to investors by the end of the programme. Armed with what they learnt during the lectures and pitching workshop, the teams then presented their solutions to a panel of industry experts and investors at a private pitching session on the last day.

Vincent Lukito, a student from Indonesia’s Institut Teknologi Bandung, shared that after going through the programme, his mindset has definitely changed and he is able to think more critically. “One major takeaway from the various lectures we had was that it is always about the customer. I’ve probably become more selfless in my decisions in entrepreneurship because at the end of the day, it is not about me but the customer. We are creating a future for them, not us,” he said.

By NUS Enterprise