News Details | 26-Aug-2009

Inaugural Business Challenge kicks off

Young aspiring entrepreneurs now have a unique platform to turn their innovative ideas into business ventures.

Today, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and SPRING Singapore have launched the Business Challenge to spur them on. is a unique competition that brings together a powerful combination of funding support and expert mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs. It goes beyond a typical business plan competition to encompass the development and commercialisation of the innovative business ideas.  Teams that make it through the first round will be awarded up to $15,000 to build prototypes and explore the commercial feasibility of their product or service ideas. Furthermore, they will also have the benefit of being mentored by a select group of Singapore-based entrepreneurs, NTU professors and alumni, and industry partners.  Finalist teams will be eligible for additional funding of up to $50,000 under SPRING’s Young Entrepreneurs Scheme for Startups (YES! Startups). is part of the strategy undertaken by SPRING Singapore to promote and nurture youth entrepreneurship in Singapore.  It complements the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme for Schools (YES! Schools) and YES! Startups launched in October and November 2008, respectively, to enhance the commercialisation of innovative ideas into youth enterprises. 

The Business Challenge was launched by Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Manpower, and Minister in charge of Entrepreneurship at NTU earlier today. The competition, which runs from August 2009 to July 2010, is jointly organised by NTU’s Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre (NTC) and SPRING. This is the first time that the University is putting together such a competition on a national scale.

Associate Professor Raymond Abelin, the interim Director of NTC says, “ is the first nation-wide effort on our part to reach out to as many young people as possible, to get them involved and excited about their new business ideas. By giving these potential entrepreneurs, who may not have any business training, early-stage capital and professional advice, speeds up the transformation of new products and services from idea to market.  Our ultimate goal is to foster a pool of talented market-savvy youths and innovative new businesses in Singapore with strong competitive advantage and long-term sustainability.” 

As part of the competition, NTC is also organising a series of workshops that will feature subject matter experts and business leaders who will coach participants on a wide variety of relevant topics for developing ideas into businesses. The budding entrepreneurs competing for the cash prizes to fund their businesses are encouraged to attend these workshops, to ensure that their plans include everything which potential investors require.

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset and cultivating a spirit of enterprise among the youth is a key focus of SPRING’s entrepreneurship development strategy. will provide a platform for our youth to turn their innovative ideas into viable business ventures by giving them the opportunity to prototype, test and market their products/services.  We hope that many youth will come forward and participate in – making use of the seed money available through YES! Startups and mentorship opportunities to start their businesses,” said Ms Chew Mok Lee, Group Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, SPRING Singapore. 

Young entrepreneurs who have tapped on YES! Startups to start their business had this to say about

“I think that this is an excellent competition. This would actually entice more youths to be interested in entrepreneurship and encourage them to give it a shot. Also, this gives them an additional opportunity to pitch their business ideas to professionals for further deliberation,” said Ms Elfaine Tan, Director, Fr3b Pte Ltd.

Added Ms Fan Shufen and Ms You Jun, Co-founders of E-Thermnity, “The Business Challenge sounds like a really good way to incubate new startups, as it provides almost everything we've been looking for in the past months! It encourages those with brilliant innovations to step out and take this challenge, while at the same time not worrying about the lack of business knowledge as mentors will be there to guide them.”

The Business Challenge was launched in conjunction with NTU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Festival, which runs through Friday, 28 August 2009.  The festival aims to educate and inspire students about entrepreneurship. Various platforms and sessions are being held at the NTU campus over four days, to inspire students to build business ventures that are not just profitable, but are also fulfilling on a personal level.  For example, tracks on social entrepreneurship have been introduced this year to highlight how new enterprises can potentially change lives for the better.

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Media contact

Feisal Abdul Rahman, Senior Assistant Director, Corporate Communications Office

Tel: 6790 6687; Email:


Marion Abraham, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, SPRING Singapore

Tel: 6279 3617; Email:


About Nanyang Technological University 


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