NTU and ACE to host top entrepreneurship advocates at World Entrepreneurship Forum 2011
Junior forum concludes with youths calling for entrepreneurship to start from young
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Action Community for Entrepreneurship Singapore (ACE) today announced that the world’s leading advocates of global entrepreneurship will be addressing the World Entrepreneurship Forum in Singapore this November.
A not-for-profit organisation, the World Entrepreneurship Forum is a platform for the world's top business leaders, politicians and academics to exchange ideas and success stories to foster a greater spirit of entrepreneurship. It will be the first time that the global forum is held in Asia.
Members of the World Entrepreneurship Forum from 70 countries – mainly entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs – will convene at Shangri-La Singapore from November 2 to 5, to come up with fresh ideas and action plans based on the theme "Entrepreneurship - A Driver for Innovation & Technology".
The speakers include: Dr Al Hammond of Ashoka, the global association of the world's leading social entrepreneurs; Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman of leading hospitality brand Banyan Tree Holdings; Ms Anneli Hulthen, Mayor of Gothenburg, Sweden; and Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In addition, Mr Mikhael Kopeikin, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank); Mr Peter Lau, Chairman of fashion retailer Giordano; Mr Liu Chuan Zhi, Chairman of computer technology corporation Lenovo; Ms Olivia Lum, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of environmental solutions firm Hyflux; and Mr Michael Peters, Managing Director of international television channel EuroNews are slated to speak at a public forum on November 4, held in conjunction with the main conference.
This year’s World Entrepreneurship Forum aims to provide a central platform for entrepreneurial business leaders and captains of industry to exchange views on how to better seize opportunities and tackle challenges by leveraging innovation and technology, as the world’s entrepreneurship community gears itself for growth through 2050.
After being held in France for the past three years, the forum is brought to Asia for the first time as the region is increasingly seen as influencing global business, innovation and technology trends. With Singapore as host, the conference will see the world’s leading entrepreneurs and business leaders turn their eyes towards the nation.
ACE and NTU today also announced that some 20 institutions have come forward in support of the World Entrepreneurship Forum in Singapore. They include:
• Founding members: EMLYON Business School, KPMG S.A., the Action Community for Entrepreneurship, Nanyang Technological University, and the City of Lyon, France;
• Official Partners: École Centrale Lyon and the Mayor of Lyon’s Office;
• Partners: Hong Leong Finance, Hyflux, Save Our Planet and Société Générale;
• Supporting Partners: Canon, Gifts Association Singapore, Microsoft, Singapore Tourism Board; and
• Media Partners: Les Echos, Euronews, Le Devoir, Radio RCF, Les Affaires, Télé Lyon Métropole, Bref Rhône-Alpes and Le Journal des Entreprises.
Junior entrepreneurship forum concludes with rallying call for action
As a prelude to the November forum, Singapore held its own Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum attended by some 200 youths from Singapore’s polytechnics and public universities.
This was the first time that students from all three main universities and five polytechnics in Singapore participated in the forum.
These young people’s recommendations and insights are expected to help shape the direction of the main World Entrepreneurship Forum. Singapore youths were among those from across the globe that the forum is reaching out to, in a bid to engage and inspire the younger generation to take up entrepreneurship as a way to create jobs and improve society.
The overwhelming message that came out from the four-day gathering at NTU from July 25 to 28 was that entrepreneurship should start from young. And more incentives and programmes should be introduced to help youths start their businesses early on.
The students had a jam-packed week of discussions with renowned business leaders − such as thumb drive inventor Mr Henn Tan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Trek 2000 and venture capitalist Ms Hauw Soo Hoon, Operating Partner of iGlobe Partners − to discover more about entrepreneurship and how to build up successful innovative enterprises.
Students also discussed the key traits of cities renowned for nurturing entrepreneurship, and how to empower entrepreneurs in less developed countries. For the first time this year, workshops and discussion sessions were also held at Temasek Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
On the final day of the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum, eight teams from Singapore’s polytechnics and universities competed to make the best recommendations on how to make it easier for youths to start a business of their own.
Winning ideas by youths
To groom Singapore’s next generation of entrepreneurs, the winning team, REActor, comprising Khairul Rusydi and Joel Foo, both 22, from NTU's Minor in Entrepreneurship programme suggested, for instance, that Year 4 students at Raffles Institution's next year, be given the chance to embark on entrepreneurship-related activities. This may include research attachments and overseas service learning expeditions from July to December. As these students undergo the Integrated Programme, they would have completed their syllabus by June.
REActor is presently an online incubator and collaboration space for current Raffles Institution (RI) Year 5 and 6 students. An acronym for the Raffles Entrepreneurship Academy, REActor aims to get entrepreneurs to “connect, create and contribute”. By 2015, its founders hope to establish a physical building housing small start-up spaces with agile, plug-and-play facilities to spark new ideas and collaborations.
Singapore Polytechnic's Lim Chee Yong, Toh Roy, Teo Chia Liang highlighted that changing parents’ mindsets were another challenge. The students also called for more widespread entrepreneurship education and internship opportunities in junior colleges, central institutes and schools, so that students will be better equipped with skills such as leadership, problem solving and critical thinking, which increasingly are seen as keys to success in today's global, knowledge-based economy.
To further engage the younger generation, another NTU team comprising Mun Le Xuan, Saw Hui Min, Lenzo Enkizen and Tan Hui Xin, suggested that virtual 3D games could be introduced as a novel way for teenagers and young adults to learn and apply entrepreneurship principles, and network at the same time.
As teachers are fundamental in building young people's entrepreneurial mindset, the students stressed it is vital to also engage teachers in entrepreneurship education. Teachers should also be equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge, while recognising their varying needs at different school stages.
Mr Tan Ming Hui, a final-year student at NTU's School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who led the organising committee, said, “The Junior Forum was entirely organised by students for students. One of the major challenges was scheduling our meetings, and some were in the midst of their exams. So we had to put in extra time while concentrating on our studies and other commitments. It was a lot of hard work, but it clearly paid off.”
Commenting on the value of the junior forum, Mr Khairul Rusydi said, “The last few days have been very intensive, but this forum was a marvellous way for me to meet like-minded youths and business leaders. Besides bouncing our ideas off of each other, many have also personally offered to help me in my project. You can’t get this experience anywhere else.”
Associate Professor Hooi Den Huan, Director of the Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre, which facilitated the event, said, "It was great to see so many young people getting so fired up and passionate about entrepreneurship. Even as teenagers, they're hungry to learn the skills it takes to start and grow a business. Learning to be an entrepreneur is an important skill set that students can develop over time to control their own destiny and set their own career path.”
To know more about the World Entrepreneurship Forum, visit:
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Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
Ms Marion Abraham
ACE Secretariat and
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
DID: 6279 3617
About Action Community for Entrepreneurship
The Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) is a movement that involves both the private and public sectors to create a more entrepreneurial Singapore. ACE works with partners to enhance our pro-enterprise environment; fosters an entrepreneurial culture and mindset; and facilitates networking and learning among entrepreneurs.
For more information, visit www.ace.sg
About Nanyang Technological University
About NTU’s Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre
The Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) was established in January 2001 as a joint venture between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Economic Development Board (EDB), Singapore.
As a multi-disciplinary university-level centre, NTC serves as the focal point of technology entrepreneurship development within the University and the region, where creativity and entrepreneurship will thrive, leading to the creation of new business ventures that will provide the new engine of growth for Singapore.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg/ntc