Issue 131, February 2014
Turning entrepreneurial dreams into reality
Participants at the 27th Distinguished Alumni Forum learn from successful entrepreneurs’ experiences

Held on 18 February, the forum session featured alumni who were successful entrepreneurs sharing their experiences. The forum titled 'Pursue Your Entrepreneurial Dreams' held at NTU's one-north campus received good response from close to 150 participants, some of whom were prepared with interesting questions for the speakers.

Forum Chairperson Associate Professor Hooi Den Huan, Director of NTU’s Nanyang Technopreneurship Center and the author of two best-selling books, started the session with his informative sharing on the Spirit of Entrepreneurship and the Essence of Enterpreneurship. He shared that to become an entrepreneur, one does not simply chase the economic prospect. He emphasised on the importance of giving back to the family unit and community when one has a successful business.

Prof Hooi then went on to introduce the 4Ps of which he opines that an entrepreneur needs, in order to run a successful business: Purpose, Passion, Perseverance and Principles. He also highlighted the 'Value' aspect of creating a business, which places a more social approach to business rather than just economically. He also shared strategies such as 'The STV-Triangle', 'Differentiation: Content, Context and Infrastructure Differentiation' and the 'Positioning-Differentiation-Brand Triangle'.

Following up on Prof Hooi’s presentation, alumnus Mr Patrick Lim (NBS/2001), Deputy Director of Infrastructure & Partner Management of SPRING Singapore, provided information on the government’s perspective on developing entrepreneurship in Singapore. He spoke about what the government has planned to support local entrepreneurs and explained on what has already been done. For example, he listed Block 71 at Ayer Rajah as one of the thriving spots for start-up companies. With Mr Lim’s sharing, the attendees were assured that the entrepreneurship scene in Singapore is optimistic, given the many supportive initiatives from the government.

Mr Marcus Cheng (SCE/2005), Chief Executive Officer of Acclivis Technologies & Solution Pte Ltd, shared his experience in climbing the corporate ladder and then plunging into the uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. He highlighted that sales and marketing are the most important aspects to concentrate on when running a successful business. He also shared the same sentiments as Prof Hooi regarding the qualities one should have in order to be a prolific entrepreneur. One of which is the ability to adapt to various environments.

The presentations were wrapped up by final speaker Mr Sam Kang Li (WKWSCI/2009), Director of Little Red Ants Creative Studio who gave an entertaining presentation of his personal journey in the creative industry as well as the challenges he faced. He stated that there were other unconventional ways to success rather than the textbook route.

The forum was then opened to the floor for the question and answer session. The audience actively participated and inquisitively enquired regarding the entrepreneurship industry. The discussion revolved around challenges faced by the speakers such as difficulties in managing and retaining talent.

The issue of building a positive repertoire with clients was also acknowledged by Mr Sam, as he advised the participants that the customer should never be treated as the enemy. All speakers also spoke of the importance of having a good mentor who would be able to guide entrepreneurs-to-be in their journeys.

It was an informative evening for the attendees as they were illuminated with knowledge from distinguished alumni with the appropriate know-hows of the entrepreneurship industry.

“I learnt what it takes to be an entrepreneur and the different options that are available for me as well as the different support available that I was unaware of. I also learnt about the qualities of being an entrepreneur. I am interested in entrepreneurship and I have no background in it hence I came to the talk to learn more,” said alumna Ms Priscilla Oh (SBS/2013).

© Alumni Affairs Office