13 Jun 2016

350 Aspiring Youth Entrepreneurs Take an Insider’s Look into Singapore’s Start-Up Scene at nEbO’s YES 2016

350 aspiring youths entrepreneurs aged 17 to 25 from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) had an insider look into the local start-up scene at nEbO’s ninth annual Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium (YES) 2016. Held at National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, this iconic symposium is one of the key initiatives from nEbO’s Entrepreneurship Community to get youths to be Work-Ready and to promote an entrepreneurial mindset among youths in Singapore.

Also present at the opening of YES was special guest, Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry who encouraged youths to pursue their interests and develop their entrepreneurial potential in her opening speech, “Everyone has great potential for entrepreneurship, and many are not short of ideas on how to start a business. I believe that beyond just elevating their support for youth entrepreneurship, to make it easier for young people to start a new business or a social venture, nEbO has created an interactive learning platform to train young aspiring entrepreneurs. YES has become an incubation center where business ideas are nurtured to their full potential by inculcating a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship in youths.”

Organised by 15 students from seven different IHLs in Singapore, YES is a youth initiated project by nEbO, the junior membership arm of National Trade Union Congress (NTUC). Since its launch in 2007, more than 2,000 youth entrepreneurs-to-be have been a part of YES. Into its ninth year, this year’s YES aims to equip and enable all 350 aspiring entrepreneurs-to-be to start their very own entrepreneurial journey.

A dedicated platform for students to explore their entrepreneurial potential

Themed “Start-up Gateway”, each day of the symposium has a specific topic in place – Starting a Start-up, Building a Start-up and Thinking Global. Participants will be attending a total of seven keynote sessions, three dialogue sessions, an insights and discussion session, four hands-on workshops before the highlight of the symposium – the Quick Pitch Challenge. Each year, students in teams of two to five, continues to exceed all expectations during the Quick Pitch Challenge, where teams come head to head before a panel of judges for three minutes. The top three teams stand to receive a coveted three-month mentorship from successful start-up entrepreneurs to build on their ideas developed during the Quick Pitch Challenge.

“Through YES, young aspiring entrepreneurs have the opportunity to engage in a personal and meaningful way with local entrepreneurs, and potential future mentors. It is an invaluable educational experience that has left an impact on each and every student for the past nine years. As the community for youths in the Labour Movement, nEbO takes pride in grooming leaders to become community leaders who in turn will plan such events, impart advice and guide their peers and the next generation. nEbO will continue to do more to build a sustainable pool of resources for our young aspiring entrepreneurs in the Entrepreneurship Community to tap on and be a part of,” said Mr Lim Eng Lee, NTUC Alignment Director (nEbO).

An opportunity for students to network and be inspired by success stories

Over the three-day symposium, keynote speakers will touch on wide-ranging topics such as ‘Traits of an Entrepreneur’, ‘Knowing Your Roles within a Start-up’ and ‘Business Model and Idea Generation’. Notable speakers at this year’s industrial sharing session include Co-founder of Love, Bonito, Ms Rachel Lim, Chief Culture Officer of Greendot, Mr Justin Chou, Marketing Team Lead of Shopee, Ms Ruoshan Tao, and Head of Relations of CIO Academy Asia, Mr David Chin. The industrial sharing will further see the speakers touching on prevailing market trends in their specific industries – Retail, Food & Beverages, E-Commerce and Education – followed by each speaker sharing their analysis and projections of the upcoming trends, the consumer behaviour and competitors within their industry, as well as tips for aspiring youth entrepreneurs. 

Mr Teo Wei Hong, President of YES Organising Committee 2016 said, “Having attended last year’s YES 2015, I found the experience to be very inspiring. The youths at the symposium want to make an impact. They are driven by passion and conviction, and they want to contribute back to society. I am definitely interested in learning how to build my very own entrepreneurship journey, and how we can stay relevant in today’s landscape. YES allows me to hear different views from speakers and other thought leaders in the start-up scene, which allows me to reflect what I’ve done and also challenge my ideas and assumptions.”

The 18-year-old joined nEbO’s YES in 2015 as a participant and soon after, he became a part of the Entrepreneurship Community in nEbO where members are provided with a platform to develop and exhibit their entrepreneurship skills.

On the final day of YES 2016, participants will get the chance to get up close and personal with more than 70 successful founders and entrepreneurs in the start-up scene at the exclusive networking dinner, with representatives from Start-up Academy and Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE). This networking dinner will also serve as a platform to introduce students to the working world of entrepreneurship as some of these organisations have already expressed interest in hiring YES participants with the enterprising spirit for internships.

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