It is without a doubt that schooling days are the best time for young entrepreneurs to explore their passion and see if they have what it takes to make it big. From side hustles to pursuing their start-up dreams, an increasing number of youths in Singapore are developing entrepreneurial ambitions. While the road to success is not easy, we believe there are 3 key opportunities every student entrepreneur should seize.
- Make use of all the resources
The age of the internet has brought us free and easy access to information; with hundreds of courses just a click away, learning has never been easier. Yet, specialised and personalised courses — such as mentorship programmes or consultations with experts – often come at a high price.
Luckily, many tertiary institutions provide these services for free! Search up Career Services/Counselling under your institution’s website to find an extensive list of services provided by industry professionals. Some services you may find to be useful are career consultations, resume critique, mock interviews and even networking advisory! Another good alternative is to join clubs/ccas in your school that may boost your resume. Clubs such as an Entrepreneurship club or a Marketing club are a good way to expand your industry knowledge as they hold different types of events such as Masterclasses and Networking sessions.
- Network and form connections
“Know where you want to go and make sure the right people know about it” – Meredith Mahoney .
Many aspiring entrepreneurs tend to underestimate the power of networking, and don’t put in enough time or effort to increase their connections. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those whose over enthusiasm may be off-putting for the other party. We believe the key is to match their level of enthusiasm and be genuine.
Imagine yourself in their shoes: Would you want someone coming up to you for the first time with the intention of wanting a favour from you? Building connections purely for your own gain is a sure-fire way to make potential connections shy away from you. One way to avoid this is to consistently engage with professionals in the field that you wish to venture into. Thanks to LinkedIn, building long-term relationships with such professionals have become much easier. You can simply follow their account, react and comment your thoughts/personal experiences on their posts frequently and you’re sure to leave a lasting impression on them.
Connecting with alumni you’ve met through networking sessions hosted by your university are also important. It is a good habit to add them to your networking circle on LinkedIn, and always remember to follow up after you’ve connected with them!
- Join competitions
The best thing any aspiring entrepreneur can do in school is to join competitions – more specifically, competitions that allow you to pitch your business ideas to a panel of industry leaders. It’s killing not 2, but 3 birds with 1 stone!
Firstly, you can get free consultations from mentors on your ideation process. At the same time, you get invaluable advice on how to be a better entrepreneur from the top dogs themselves. Often times, these competitions are a good chance build a more personal relationship with them. Before you approach them, do your homework and make sure to personalise your introduction and questions to their area of expertise. By doing so, you will get the most out of the experience. Not only that, you will also stand out from the crowd, making you a more memorable individual.
Secondly, competitions are the best place to form meaningful connections. Chances are, everyone else competing also are deeply passionate about entrepreneurship just like you, which already gives you a common topic to chat about. You’ll also get the avenue to learn from your peers and overcome any challenges together.
Lastly, if your idea gets through to the finals, you get funding opportunities to turn your dream a reality! And even if you don’t win in your first one, there are many university-wide competitions for you to try again. For instance, Singapore Management University’s SMU Eagles is holding their annual PAK Challenge. As South-East Asia’s largest student-let startup competition, why not seize this opportunity to challenge yourself and sign up?
Elon Musk once said “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough”. After reading through this article, we hope you’re more inspired to step up to the plate, and let your business ideas take flight – starting with the PAK Challenge 2021! Applications are open from now till 1st of August, so hurry and sign up here: https://www.smueaglesinc.com/pak-challenge-2021/
Best of luck!