SINGAPORE: The Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) will spend a total of S$15 million over three years to implement a more structured programme for entrepreneurship learning among students.
This is supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
ACE hopes to impact more than 1000 students and support 750 student ideas over the next three years.
Chairman of ACE, Teo Ser Luck, who announced this at the opening of the ACE Entrepreneurship Week, said the aim is to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among students.
Mr Teo, who is also the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said entrepreneurship is a key driver of Singapore’s economy.
Mr Teo said while ACE has been helping aspiring entrepreneurs start up, he said more can be done by nurturing entrepreneurs from young.
ACE has come up with recommendations to do just that.
Nine secondary schools have been identified to pilot the Entrepreneurship Programme, which is expected to roll out in six to nine months’ time.
The pilot schools are Broadrick Secondary School, Hwa Chong Institution, Northbrooks Secondary School, Outram Secondary School, School of Science and Technology, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, Woodgrove Secondary School, Yuying Secondary School, and Zhonghua Secondary School.
Each school will be given up to S$20,000 a year and will have to match 10 per cent of the grant.
ACE hopes to support 30 schools through the Entrepreneurship Programme over the next three years.
The Entrepreneurship Programme comprises learning modules, workshops and competitions that will be developed to help students gain hands—on experience and get exposure to the real world of business.
The projected budget requirement is S$2 million over three years. ACE says it is looking for a training provider that would be tasked to develop the specifics of the Entrepreneurship Programme.
To help students apply what they have learnt through the curriculum, the pilot schools will be "adopted" by local enterprises and entrepreneurships under an "Entrepreneur—Adopt—a—School" initiative.
At least one entrepreneur will be attached to each school. The entrepreneurs will guide students and provide opportunities for students to be exposed to the real world of business.
Some local enterprises like Ya Kun International, Sakae Holdings, and Goodrich Global, as well as start—ups like KooBits, Soyato, and Red Tin Bot have indicated their interest to "adopt" a school.
ACE will also reach out to students from the polytechnics and ITE colleges. Some S$13 million has been budgeted over three years.
This group of students will have internship opportunities with entrepreneurial companies. ACE says 75 internships will be supported per year.
A "small project fund" will be set up to encourage students to test and validate their business ideas. Each student can get up to S$10,000 in funding by matching 15 per cent of the grant. ACE hopes to fund up to 200 student projects a year.
A "start—up launch pad" will be set up to help students learn how to pitch their ideas through workshops and boot camps, with guidance from mentors through the process. ACE hopes to support 50 teams a year.
Incubators will be set up in all five polytechnics and three ITE colleges to give further support to students who have started up their enterprises.
The incubators will provide their student and alumni access to resources such as work space, mentoring, support services, events and workshops.
An "Educators’ Network" will also be set up. It will be an informal network for educators, incubation managers, and entrepreneurs to interact and exchange best practices on entrepreneurship learning.
Educators will be able to build up their entrepreneurship knowledge and hone their pedagogy skills in entrepreneurship education.
ACE says there will be a joint ACE—MOE Secretariat to oversee the implementation of these recommendations over three years.
"I think the Singaporean SME sector needs that regeneration of new business. We need more ideas as well. If we can start them young, no matter what as an individual or for the nation or for the organisation, they will benefit with someone who’s more enterprising," said Mr Teo.
"We need Singaporeans to be enterprising because that will show the character of the nation. We are made of Singaporeans who dare to take risk, Singaporeans who can invent new things, (and) have a lot of passion."
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