Annual Youth Entrepreneurship Event Boosts Focus of Social Entrepreneurship Sector
â€˜Making money while doing goodâ€™, that is the aspiration of more and more
youths today as they look to pursue their passions, while giving
something back to the community. To cater to this growing interest among
youths, social enterprises have been included on the list of companies
for industry visits at nEbOâ€™s Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium (YES)
2012. Youths will visit actual company sites to be introduced to their
back-end operations and observe the real work of entrepreneurs. Into its
fifth year, this symposium is the only 3-day entrepreneurship event
that caters to students in the junior colleges and begins from today
till Friday 8 June 2012 at the National University of Singapore. The
Guest-of-Honour is Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister of State for Defence and
â€œIncreasingly, we see more youths taking the unconventional route. They are starting their own social ventures, creating business models that benefit the community and bringing about a change in society. As one of the leading entrepreneurship events for budding entrepreneurs in the junior colleges, YES is a good platform for these youths to find out more about social entrepreneurship. We hope this symposium will serve as a springboard to their own innovative ventures, triggering questions and ideas in their minds, which leads to them creating remarkable business proposals and developing the courage and determination to pursue their dreams,â€ said Mr Lim Eng Lee, Alignment Director (nEbO), NTUC.
About 400 students from the junior colleges across Singapore are participating in this three-day symposium. Themed â€˜Fostering the Spiritâ€™, it aims to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset among youths and equip them with the relevant skills to be Work-Ready. It also allows for greater interaction between members of the various entrepreneurship clubs in the colleges, while providing an avenue for youths to network and be inspired by success stories.
Ms Chua Cai Bei, 21 years old, is one such youth whose first encounter with entrepreneurship was in 2008 when she participated in YES. After meeting with many successful entrepreneurs at the event, she was motivated to think about her future as one. In 2009, she started on her first project - a shoe design business with friends at the young age of 18. The short stint cemented her desire to pursue her passion in design and fashion. Still actively involved in the nEbO community, she has just started a new online blogshop providing affordable, chic fashions.
â€œBefore I participated in YES 2008, I had not given much thought to my future and did not think I had it in me to build a business. But I was really inspired by the guest speakers, one of whom was a student entrepreneur, David Tay, and nEbO alumni member. It got me thinking and believing that I could start out on my own, doing what I love,â€ said Ms Chua.
A youth-led initiative organised by junior college students, YES was started in 2008 to promote and encourage entrepreneurship. A testament to the eventâ€™s popularity, the one-day symposium was expanded to a three-day event in 2010, following feedback from participants who felt they could learn more in an extended, comprehensive programme that offers dialogue sessions with established entrepreneurs, industry visits to start-ups, practical workshops and a competition to pitch business ideas. Till today it remains as the only entrepreneurship event catered for students in the junior colleges. Five years on, participation has also grown fivefold from just 80 in 2008.
Highlights of YES 2012
The opening of YES 2012 will feature a keynote dialogue with three prominent entrepreneurs â€“ Mr Nicky Teo, founder of Funeral Solutions and winner of the Spirit of Enterprise Award in 2009; Mr Stuart Tan, co-founder of Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group; and Mr Douglas Foo, Chairman, CEO and founder of Apex-Pal International Ltd. In this mass dialogue session, they will share about their own experience and the challenges faced while starting their own companies, serving as an inspiration to the youths.
On Day 1, participants will choose one out of six industries for their tour,to interact with and gain first-hand knowledge of the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs. A total of 30 start-ups are on the list. Some of the companies include social enterprise Bizlink, dance club The Butter Factory, integrated resort Marina Bay Sands, corporate venture capital fund SingTel Innov8, and fashion boutique Hide & Seek.
Sharing sessions with young entrepreneurs
Numerous talks withyoung entrepreneurs have also been scheduled. Notable names include Hew Joon Yeng, co-founder of mobile conference app Pigeonhole Live; Alvin Tan, founder of board game cafÃ© Mind CafÃ©; and Alan Phua, founder of frozen soymilk dessert chain Soyato. The topics addressed range from Public Speaking, Financial Literacy, Branding and Public Relations, Market Analysis and Research and Internet Marketing.
Taking part in an educational game where youths will role play as retailers and consumers in a simulated market environment, they will get to experience and understand the real challenges of running a business.
Talk by Small Medium Business Association
The Small Medium Business Association Singapore will be giving a talk on business opportunities and the support and resources that start-ups can leverage on to compete and thrive on the world stage.
3-Minute Quick Pitch Challenge
A competition where participants will have to sell their business ideas in just 3 minutes to a panel of judges, this will test the guts and eloquence of aspiring entrepreneurs.
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