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Entrepreneurs Dialogue 2020

Entrepreneurship; refers to the concept of developing and managing a business venture in order to gain profit by taking several risks in the corporate world.

But where do I even begin?

Fret not, SIM YEN has had the honour to collaborate with Open Circles to carry out the Entrepreneurs Dialogue Panel Discussion on 30th November 2020 through the Zoom platform.

We are pleased to inform that four exceptional speakers were on board to discuss entrepreneurial topics such as the strategies, idea pitching and self-awareness. Additionally, all of them shared their personal experiences which we were able to learn and educate from.

Panellist Profile:

Mr Zhou Wentong obtained a Bachelor of Business Degree sponsored by the Ministry of Defence (Singapore). He is also the Principal of International Business School, the Dean of Jewish Business School, and the Founder of Singapore’s largest business network platform – Singapore Business Network. He is a well sought-after speaker in investment and has been featured on Taiwan’s national TV.

Mr Willy Tan co-founded Mirage Labs, an augmented reality digital transformational business. Additionally, when he came across the concept of SG50; where people celebrated the successful aspect of this idea. Mr Willy then gathered his business partners, friends and clients and they set up what’s known as the SG100, a foundation that values youthful entrepreneurs.

Mr Carl Thong has been in the business industry for over 30 years. He has since invested in two types of business. Firstly, the traditional business where he owns and operate and secondly, new economy businesses when he owns and operated from earlier on to help the business grow fruitfully.

Mr Joshua Yap received his Bachelor of Psychology from National University of Singapore and subsequently, founded Open Circles. He believes that youths are the champion and would like to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. He trusts that he would be able to guide youths in avoiding the same mistakes that he had so that they are to become better entrepreneurs.

Firstly, are entrepreneurs born or made? Are they of nature or are they nurtured?

Oftentimes, most entrepreneurs do not have a strong entrepreneurial background, sometimes none at all. As mentioned by Mr Willy Tan, business ideas may be of accidental occurrence. A particular person may come across a thought which could be a trajectory into the future. So, how are powerful entrepreneurs made?

Mr Willy Tan explained the power of Faith; an intangible source which cannot be seen or heard; but poses as a powerful emotional fragment. Entrepreneurship can be a painstakingly slow and lonely journey for some. When going through tough times, you realise that not everyone would be by your side and what’s disheartening is that one would not what the future holds. Therefore, it’s necessary to believe in something. For instance, Elon Musk and SpaceX. When he first introduced the idea, plenty of people were poking fun at his idea. But, without his strong faith and believe, he would not have surpassed as the second richest man in the world.

Mr Zhou Wentong explored on the concept of Sincerity; also an emotional fragment but this comes with the heart. He believes that an influential businessman should be genuine and since to not only himself, but his clients and consumers as well. On a similar note, one should always improve and build themselves no matter the circumstances to be better than who they were in the beginning.

Mr Carl Thong then tied everything together and elaborated on having a positive Mindset. The theology of having optimism in everything you do is important. Having the right mindset and attitude would set you with impressive future prospects.

These three terms encompasses on having proper discipline, a firm resilience, an agile adaptability, a distinguished character and finally, pragmatic mindset – one would definitely be a powerful entrepreneur.

Secondly, a journey of a thousand steps always begins with a firm first step.

As aspiring entrepreneurs, we always need to know what consumer want; whether it would cut down on their usage of time or whether it would allow them to achieve their goals quicker and in an efficient way. Therefore, we always need to make the first step in order to secure yourself in the entrepreneurial journey. For anyone who came about this accidentally occurrence and would like to begin their entrepreneurial journey, Singapore is a wonderful place to begin. Singapore is known to be an international hub with huge capital and immense amount of wealth for an individual to start. There are start-up schemes and grants for those wanting to start their own business – Start-up SG, Enterprise SG & Capabilities Development Grant (CDG) to name a few. Mr Carl Thong also remarked that any initial investment should be taken from either your family members or friends so to avoid any predicaments in the future. Nonetheless, with Singapore’s strong brand name, potent capital and significant trustworthiness, we can be assured that it’s a safe place for fair dealing.

Thirdly, you don’t necessarily need to be a leader to have a team.

Mr Carl Thong added that by having great mentors, those that are open-minded and willing to share are the most crucial in anyone’s journey. Mr Willy Tan clarified that these mentors are not easy to find but with perseverance and with a sincere, good friends and a good network, you may just stumble upon a kind soul that would guide you from the start to finish. At any point of time in your journey, you would have to take a step back and think to yourself; how many people in this world are willing to see you succeed? How many are willing to help and support you to the fullest? A few questions to ponder about when on the halfway mark.

Lastly, youth is your power, time is your resource.

If you feel that your business idea is not working out or is slowly declining, it’s time for you to pivot. Hence, always remember to gain feedback from your clients and keep track of your cash flow. Financially, ensure that you are collecting different revenue in cash, check on how much of a debt you are taking and how much of an equity you are receiving. Looking at Theranos, a Biotechnology start-up scam; when you feel that you are losing touch of reality, it’s a red light to take a step back and regroup. Instead of selling yourself the idea that it will work no matter what. Eventually, you will only cause a great deal of stress and problems upon yourself. Time is of essence and shouldn’t be rushed, always take your time and start off slowly to be on top.

Remember, failure is necessary for one to be resilient. Do not be discouraged or disheartened by multiple failures. This would allow you to build on your core competency and to bounce back even stronger. Only then, would you have the quality and mindset to take a leap of faith into the beginnings of Entrepreneurship.

For those who have attended our panel discussion, we thank you for the support and hope you found it useful! We hope that the invaluable insights provided by the panellist has enabled you to begin your first step towards entrepreneurship.

Stay tuned for our upcoming events!

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Zainab Khodabandehloo Binte Abolfazl (Zai)

Year 2 student

SIM - University of Stirling

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