Gone are the days when the sole aim for any student on the cusp of finishing school was in securing a stable, salaried job, learning the ropes and eventually climbing the ranks.
Fueled by a sense of curiosity and adventure, some of them are heading to startups or going ahead to run their own businesses.
She might have always dreamed about starting her own business, but a fascination and curiosity with the way entrepreneurs live, think and start their businesses led 21-year-old Republic Polytechnic final-year student Imrenjeet Kaur (pictured) to find out more about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
“Until I find the right idea, I’m looking at building up the necessary skills that can help me. Entrepreneurship will consist of a difficult life because when you start out, especially with an idea that is disruptive, it will be completely new and you have to create it on your own. That will be a real challenge and with no books on it, you will have to learn on your own, or consult others,” said Imrenjeet.
On the topic of skills, Imrenjeet cited leadership, networking and communication as the areas she hopes to develop for herself.
“I’m interested in disruptive business models because that is the way to go now, especially in Singapore. There are start-ups based on human resource solutions, such as consultancy firms. Those are areas that I would want to go into for my future business or career and help improve the human resource practices here,” she said.
Taking Chances and Discovering New Opportunities
Carving out a career as an entrepreneur was not been something that 25-year-old David Chin (pictured) had planned for.
“The opportunity to start my own business came when I saw that there was a problem amongst creative designers who really wanted to get their artwork out to the market or to merchandisers but had no capital. I became the crowdfunding and crowdsourcing marketing partner to helped them list their handicrafts. This was back when I was just 18,” said David.
That first idea, sparked by his experience with YES in 2012, marked the Singapore Management University student’s entrepreneurship journey.
When asked about the experience, David said: “It’s lonely starting a business, because you have to find people who share the same passion in solving the same problems. But the journey is one that teaches you a lot every day. There will be new learning experiences where you meet someone new and do something different.
“I now go through every day with my eyes wide open. Not because I am afraid of making mistakes or failing but to keep my eyes open to learn where the failures are and how to improve myself as a leader, and pass on the skills I’ve gathered to the team that works with me.”
David eventually sold off his first business after running it for two years and is now part of the pioneering team behind tech startup CIO Academy Asia.
“Entrepreneurship can take many forms, whether I am a founder or part of a business’ pioneering team. It can take many forms as a career, but what matters is the mindset of finding out new ways to value add to my customers, new ways of solving business problems and how to grow the business further. This is the mindset that will stay with me,” said David.
Curiosity Sparked The Interest
When 23-year-old Carlos Andres (pictured) got his first taste of entrepreneurship, it was back in Temasek Polytechnic where he was applying for a grant to kick off a start-up with his school.
“I was pretty raw in entrepreneurship, with only a street-level understanding of how businesses worked. I didn’t really know about all the concepts that involved planning, strategising and marketing,” said Carlos.
It was only when he got more exposed to entrepreneurship events and got to know more people that he picked up valuable skills and values such as problem solving, overcoming adversity and perseverance, and was able to apply it his life.
The opportunity to meet and network with like-minded individuals also proved to be a rich source of knowledge and experience, which Carlos said has been very useful to him.
“In the short term, I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur yet, but I want to equip myself with various skills such as event organisation, management and the technical know-hows required in running a business,” he added.
As for the key takeaway that he has picked up, Carlos shared: “Failures will always come. But as you remember the good times, you must always remember your lows. And when you’re in your lows, remember your highs – this is what will keep driving you on.”