More university students with start-up ambitions
Enterprise Singapore and varsities see keen interest in their venture capital, entrepreneurship programmes
University students are taking a shine to start-ups, with more joining entrepreneurship and venture capital programmes.
An Enterprise Singapore spokesman said as at the end of last month, more than 680 people have taken part in its venture building programme which trains aspiring entrepreneurs with no business experience to launch their start-up.
Fresh graduates make up 20 per cent of the participants in the programme, which was introduced last August.
More young people have expressed an interest in launching or working at a start-up with a strong potential for growth.
Travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have not dampened interest in the NUS Overseas Colleges programme, which counts the co-founders of Carousell and ShopBack among its alumni.
The programme typically involved spending up to a year in cities such as Shanghai and New York, where students could take classes in entrepreneurship, or intern at start-ups.
Even without the possibility of travel since last year, the programme's take-up rate is about 70 per cent of pre-Covid figures, said Professor Chee Yeow Meng, associate vice-president of innovation and enterprise at NUS.
Student clubs with a focus on venture capital and angel investing are buzzing with applications to join.
NUS Alumni Ventures said there are eight times as many students vying for investment analyst roles within the organisation as they have vacancies.
Founded last year, it is South-east Asia's first student-run angel investment network, with 78 angel investors.
The Singapore Management University said Protege Ventures, its student-run venture fund and programme, saw a 60 per cent increase in applications last year over 2019.
Universities have also pumped in more resources for students to learn about or build their start-ups.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design has added two more incubation centres on campus over the past year.
Professor Wong Poh Kam from the NUS Business School noted that with such resources available, the biggest challenge is not starting up, but expanding internationally.
The strategy and policy professor said: "Scaling up often means being able to hire key people who have prior experience in leading and managing growth.
"I would encourage young entrepreneurs to seek out experienced entrepreneurs for advice, and be prepared to bring some of these professionals with scale-up experience into their team."
Mr Durwin Ho, chief executive of innovation consultancy StartupX, which works closely with angel investors and venture capital firms, advised young founders to find a problem worth solving and a co-founder they can rely on.
He added: "For early-stage start-ups, angel investors are not exactly focusing on the financials but how well the team understands the problem they want to solve and how they work together."