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Student Entrepreneur Network Panel Discussion

In conjunction with this event, please save the date for our upcoming event: Emergence in Female Entrepreneurship on 24th September 2019! Venue and speakers list will be announced soon!


Being a full-time student can be tough at times, but it is definitely manageable. Same goes for starting a business. However, to commit to studies and to manage a startup at the same time is surely challenging.



Held on 19th August, Student Entrepreneur Network was YEN's first panel discussion of the work year! We invited speakers such as Nicholas Lim (Outside), Vera Sun (KpopKart), Benjamin Boey (Partners Inc.), and Alexander Lim (Cudy) to share their entrepreneurship journey and experiences with YEN.


Our Vice President of Ambs/Marketing (Welson) and President (Zi Wei) welcoming the guests!

Before the panel, members were welcomed to enjoy the sumptuous dinner that was prepared by the Operations Team. Some of the members and subcommittees also had the chance to network with each other while enjoying their dinner.


Yummy buffet dinner ready to be served!


To mark the start of the event, Bryan from Ambassadors introduced the speakers to our beloved members. Although it was his first year in SIMYEN, he managed to pull off the MC / Moderator role fascinatingly!


Bryan (Ambs Subcomm), moderator of the panel discussion

So, what ventures are they running?


For Nicholas, Outside is a community tasking app that allows us to post and do tasks in order to help each other running daily errands and inconveniences. You can help other people during your free time while earning some rewards!


Meanwhile, Vera's KpopKart is dedicated to Kpop lovers out there. Her team provides a platform to buy or sell Kpop merchandise. Even though it started operating on February 2019, they are now shipping to over 50 countries worldwide.


Benjamin might sound familiar to some of you, since he is the Ex-President of YEN (2018/2019). He is now involved in Partners Inc, which is a platform to find co-founders, investors and key stakeholders, so that entrepreneurs can reach their true potentials.


Last but not least, for all of you who are struggling with studies, this is for you! Alexander and the team created an online marketplace for real-time online classes by connecting students and teachers through their website, Cudy.




Some answers from the speakers that we thought were quite noteworthy! ^^



  • Vera regarding Co-Founder:


Taking a person to work (co-founder) is like entering a marriage. You have to see the flaws, correct it and accept each other. Personal friendship and heart to heart talk within partners are needed to keep going. When there's a conflict, you have to listen to them and work on it and move on.


  • Benjamin regarding funds:


Investor will think of ROI, market shares, and expected growth when it comes to investing in a startup. For tech company, the term usually lasts for 4-5 years. When a team is able to present their ideas in a clear way, investor is willing to invest because of the entrepreneur personality. Investor needs to make sure that the team knows how to manage the money well.




Here are some of the highlighted questions from the the Q&A Session.

  • Q: When do you know you have to pivot an idea, not to give up and idea, and when to give up & move on to the next idea?


Vera: A good way to measure is as long as there’s a 5-7% user growth every week, it means its a good indicator of market demand.


Benjamin: From investment side, there are 2 types of entrepreneurs. First one is the ones who is passionate about their business and wants to grow it big. Second one is the ones who want to make it big to sell to other companies, like an acquisition. For the first type, you've to look at the market and how can you expand the line of products. For the second type, you need to be very strategic and have some companies in mind that you want to sell it to. After that you can work towards the direction by coming up with the right products and business model.


Nicholas: Don't worry too much about it, sell different product line and let go of the line with lowest profit.



  • Q: Would you rather recruit a talented person or get someone to train ordinary person (build them up? - Nature or Nurture


Alexander: Nature. Hire someone talented that are suitable for the team, depending on the roles. For technical roles, I prefer to hire someone based on (technical) skills. For business development roles, I prefer to hire someone based on attitude, someone with people skill.

Nicholas: Nurture. None of my team came from a computing background and we learned from free coding lessons. Character and critical thinking is more important, and always search for people who are hungry to learn new stuff. It's okay to teach people cause the more you teach, the more you learn too.


  • Q: Great mentors ask equity. For a startup, what is the best strategy to get a mentor onboard?


Vera: Convince them of the idea, what products are you creating. If you can’t have one person to believe in your idea, you need to work as a salesperson before starting a business.

Benjamin: I disagree with the statement. Grow connections on LinkedIn, network your way, ask them our for coffee and pitch your idea. If the idea is good, they wouldn't mind being a mentor without asking for equity.

Alexander: There are difference between mentors and advisors. Mentors who are ahead in their entrepreneurship journey don't usually ask for equity because they are usually on a personal journey with the founder itself.




We ended our panel discussion by taking pictures together and more networking session. We look forward to see you on our next event! :)



Thank you all for coming! See you on next events!



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