by Lim Wei Zhong (Singapore)
One slimming company advertises that a lady can ‘shape up to desirable curves’ in 2 weeks; one fitness club claims that one can ‘get a new self’ in 4 weeks while one event company promises that one can get into ‘the secret psychology of wealth’ and venture into the ‘millionaire’s mind’ in just 3 days!
But what can I achieve in 13 weeks? What do I hope to achieve in 13 weeks?
I started attending the Technological Entrepreneurship module with apprehension and was skeptical that one can start a business and gain online presence in just one term. I must admit that I am not entrepreneurial and have never thought of starting my own business before. However, I was bought into the notion that this is not a typical ‘read and practice past year questions’ module but a module that promotes a ‘hands-on’, ‘getting your hands dirty’ approach. Furthermore, the course instructor – Professor Pamela Lim has promised that she will be handholding all her students to our entrepreneurial success. I was convinced and hopeful!
After the first lesson, I read a few of the articles posted by the instructor. One of the articles ‘10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job’ by Steve Pavlina claimed a few laughs from me but it did get me into a reflective mood. I find myself nodding and agreeing to some of the points made by the author — You only get paid when you work but don’t you think that it is better to be paid even when you are not? Is getting a job akin to enrolling in a human domestication program? Is getting a job the most secure way to generate an income or a more secure way to risk getting fired if something goes awry? These and other questions from Steve convinced me further that I should step out of my comfort zone and give entrepreneurship a chance. And I am not looking back since.
One of my motivations is because being an entrepreneur means I can be my own boss! I can do what I want, and when I want! I can ask my team to do things that I do not want to do! And to quote Pussycat Dolls, ‘I can see the world! And drive nice car!’ … Ok maybe NOT!!!(Sometimes its good to do wishful thinking.) Its possible in future, but not at this period as being an entrepreneur is not a bed of roses. Behind each successful entrepreneur, there are probably many others who tried and failed. Similarly, I faced several challenges in my debut venture but I was not dented and kept striving on. My spirit just has to keep going on and never can it waver! My teammates also made it so much easier. We constantly try, learn and create innovative solutions to issues we faced.
After 13 weeks, I am glad that I took the plunge and followed through the entire course. I get to learn the essentials of being an entrepreneur; gain insights from experienced entrepreneurs like Professor Pamela and MP Inderjit Singh; laugh at classmates’ ridiculous ideas and antics; bond and gel well with my teammates; learn more about Singapore’s food industry and the ‘ugly truth’ behind it; improve my Mandarin as this is main language used by the people in the manufactured food industry; not to be shy and ask everyone, anyone and leverage on contacts, and many other experiences that I am glad to have gone through.
This is just the beginning. The journey does not end in 13 weeks. In fact, it takes 13 weeks for the business to be fully incepted. I am looking forward to FoodEx gaining a foothold in the marketplace because I genuinely think it can succeed. However, there is so much to be done still. We need to finalize our software developer, secure more manufacturers to consistently supply goods on our website, improve our marketing efforts to inform and introduce this innovative product, resolve our delivery issues etc and the list goes on. But like what President Obama said in his victory speech ‘I have never been more hopeful’, I am equally hopeful for the future of FoodEx, as he is hopeful for the future of America.
To my team: The road will be long. The climb will be steep. We may not get there in six months or even in one year. But, I have never been more hopeful. Because, slowly but surely, FoodEx will get there!
Finally, I would like to thank God for His blessings, grace and wisdom, Professor Pamela for her sincere concerns, handholding, mentoring and advice; my classmates for their comments and suggestions and my teammates for making my debut venture so memorable and valuable. Thank you Marco, Andrea, David, Jasmine, Grace, Ben, Ck and Zaria!
FoodEx is my first entrepreneurial venture but definitely not my last.
Let’s all be hopeful! Yes, we can!