Doing good in pragmatic Singapore
This is my third year joining Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium (YES) and I am fervently impressed. From the way the registration started to the awe-inspiring panel of entrepreneurs, it is incredible how the organizing team took note of the little things – such as the welfare of the participants. Already in its ninth year, I am proud to say that YES has scaled to greater heights.
Something that was new this year was the dialogue sessions that took place across the 3.5-day symposium. Grouping together a panel of entrepreneurs that are in a similar industry allow participants to ask the judges bewildering questions and learn from their past experiences and mistakes. One particularly personal anecdote that etched a mark in my memory was Mr Ethen Ong.
Previously an ex-convict, he made a pact to provide for his mother before embarking on this 7-year entrepreneurial journey. Filled with hardships and obstacles, he managed to overcome all to become a millionaire overnight. Despite so, he strives to do-good every time and contributes back to society, sticking to his initial dream of helping youth-at-risks to attain a better future. Whilst inspiring, he mentioned that he is not a philanthropist, earning a keep is still one of his priorities.
Such raw and candid truths remain important to me, because being pragmatic in such an entrepreneurial landscape in Singapore is vital. Singapore may have been dubbed an “entrepreneurial hub” with the ease of accessibility of resources but being sustainable is still a constant challenge for all entrepreneurs. Many individuals nowadays tend to incline towards the flexibility aspect of being an entrepreneur, but they fail to understand how difficult it is to strike it out on their own. Hence, such practical advice is important so as to prevent individuals from jumping onto the bandwagon without thinking twice. Don't get me wrong, entrepreneurship still provides a great alternative to the conventional "get-a-degree-and-work" route. We just need to be clear of what we are doing and have the vision of a sustainable future.
Next year marks a decade of history for YES, a significant milestone for not just nEbOians but also many of the previous organizing committee members. I’m excited to see how this new chapter will unfold and if it will surpass the high expectations that are already put in place. Till then! :)
Posted by Jolyn Moh on 3 Aug 2016, 6:21 am
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Chief Operating Officer, Organising Committee of YES 2014
National University of Singapore