by Leonard (Singapore)
Pop Art Inc was something I bore a passion for when I first moved house back in November 2009. I had noticed a lack of affordable but attractive paintings that I wanted to beautify my room walls with. My quest bore to fruitlessness as I was unable to find nice paintings other than the mounted canvas prints in Ikea.
Then I heard about Ho Chi Minh City. A friend informed me that there were countless street side art galleries that sold what I wanted at a very affordable price. I was tempted to go over and get a few however I felt that merely flying all the way to Ho Chi Minh just to purchase one painting was not a useful utilization of resources. So I wondered to myself,
“If I am looking for paintings like these, surely there would be others like me?”
After asking around a little, I found my assumptions to be true and it was then I made up my mind that I would create a mini-business out of this. Not only would it benefit me, but it would benefit other low-level connoisseurs like me who want affordable but attractive paintings.
A little known fact about me was that I was already intending to do this before the advent of this course. The only thing holding me back was the hesitation I faced to take six months off to pursue something like this, and the certain fact that I would be doing this alone. This course however, was my dream factory. It gave me the opportunity and validation I needed to find an excuse to people around me to go up to Vietnam, and do what I wanted to do this term. It also introduced me to the right people whom I could count on to be passionate for this cause as I was. And finally, this cause brought me the discipline and structure I needed to transform this into a functioning business.
Yes, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried my hand at entrepreneurship. I’ve set up a business before, most notably one that organizes Tactical Team sports like Laser Tag and Paintball for events, birthdays and corporate alike. The challenges the team and myself faced were not new to me. However, what this course did was to crystallize what I had learnt before and made me see that the science of business and entrepreneurship was just as important as the art and intuition behind it.
My first attempt at it was a haphazard, grope-in-the-dark experience that bore more brickbats than bouquets at first. This one received immense amounts of support from both the class and my peers. My take was that this was because this business was set up in a non-discriminatory environment and people don’t tend to judge you in the same way as you would when you are pitching to outsiders asking ‘what’s in it for me?’
This second attempt was structured, organized and less a journey of improvisation as before. And unlike my first experience, this course has also provided me avenues I can turn to for help should I need entrepreneurship assistance. If anything, that is probably the main reason why I would recommend this course as compulsory for any aspiring entrepreneur.