It’s not just another course
by Talal Alghunaim
I bid for this course only because the course time was convenient. But now, I’m glad that I did and had this opportunity to learn from a successful experienced entrepreneur.
Though I am not going to continue with Frood, but working with my group mates with Pamela’s supervision is a valuable experience. I have learned how to structure thoughts and focus on what is important to run a business. I think many business ideas do not launch because of the unclear vision and purpose.
It is not only professor Pamela business experience that makes this course a success. The way the course is conducted with facilitation of discussions and opinion sharing with classmates only makes our business plans better.
I already miss this class and friends that were privileged to take this course. All our business plans are well thought of and have a great potential of success. Now, we have to do our part which is to implement and improve our business ideas.
It is not just another project that was required by school. I hope that people who take this course understand that this chance of running our own businesses could be our permanent life job as well as a source of income.
Now, I know that this is not just another course but a tool to help us find what we want to do after earning our degrees.
From virtual to real life journey
by Ton Ho Thanh Van
My entrepreneurship journey began quite eventfully at the age of 18. I found this online virtual platform called Second Life, created by the Linden Lab.
The slogan on their website caught my eye:”Second Life” a virtual world created and owned by its residents. Already geared with the love for digital graphic, 3D models and gaming, and a passion for creativity and owning my own business, I decided to join. It was around July 2006.
Second Life’s world at the time I just joined, was already promising and vibrant. The possibilities are unlimited. You can be anything that you want, from a multi-millionaire wannabe, to a flying squirrel. The residents create objects, furniture, houses, buildings, own and rent land to stay or open business. The currency ($L) can be exchanged for real currency at a rate of approximately L$270 per USD.
I started out small and penniless, my first store was built on the smallest parcel possible in a Linden-owned mall called the Luna Oaks. The funny thing is, this parcel was also won from a lottery organized by Linden Lab on their blogs.
After earning a little money from camping, I started uploading images to be used as in-world clothing and mapped to 3D accessories. The most amazing thing is, in my opinion, is the uncanny resemblance of this virtual world to the real world. I had to take care of some common steps involved in creating a real business. I made my own products, came up with a pricing and differentiating strategy to gain an edge towards competitors, built my own stores, did advertising by paying for classified ads and liaised with owners of popular locations to place my ads there. Due to the quality and the uniqueness of my products, profits kept streaming in and before I knew it, I became rich.
In fact, I never imagined that the business that I started could become one of the top earning businesses in Second Life around August 2007. Second Life kept growing at a faster rate into 2008 and still growing 2009. It was really thrilling. Even though I now own my own land, have my own main store and 11 outlets with a stable income, I could never forget the excitement of receiving real money for something I created for the first time in my life, especially when I was only an amateur back then.
After becoming successful in the virtual world, my love and the passion for doing business online led me to join Technological Entrepreneurship class in SMU.
Even though I have had experience in virtual business, before this class, I had little idea on how to start up a real one. There are actually so many steps involved in planning and getting your business to work. You start from brainstorming an idea, then sketch a rough picture of what need to be done, learn the legal and external procedures surrounding start-ups, funding and financing, come up with a viable strategy, and finally make the business plan and get the approval for start-ups.
During the course of this term, I’ve got the chance to interact with very fun and talented people, some of them left big impressions on the way I think about business and teamwork. They were all very responsible and practical, in the sense that they actually managed to turn ideas into the real thing.
From that point, it’s worth noting that it’s not always possible for an end product to resemble the original idea exactly. In fact, most of the time it’s better that there are some variations. Ideas could be improved on by asking questions and learning from mistakes. Alternatively, the original idea could be non-workable, due to the fact that reality differs from what we conjured up. For example, there may be resource and funding constraints, and also in capabilities and competency limitations.
Having said all that, ideas are really not the deciding factors. Ideas can be bought. It’s the team – The people – the expertise that an entrepreneur should look for.
TE gave us the environment to work on our own ideas and also an opportunity to put what we have learned into practice. The breakout sessions are engaging and provide us with interactive and knowledge-sharing experience. Not only that, they helped us to become more confident speaking and presenting ourselves professionally, which is a must for successful entrepreneurs.
Lastly I’d like to thank our professor and team members for making this short time an unforgettable experience. I’m looking forward to working with you guys again.
All we need is just a little patience
I came to this class simply because I needed to clear my T & E requirement, and I had to do in during summer term, as I could not bear the thought of doing a management module over 13 weeks.
In retrospect, I am thankful I made that choice. After 5 weeks of class, I did leave with some key messages. I will now proceed to elaborate.
1) You have to dare yourself to move, but move with a plan
I will be the first to admit that I am a horribly risk-adverse person. It will then come as no surprise that I tend to think too much. I’d really like to believe that I think before I act, but after seeing some of your friends make headway in their own aspirations, be it musically or commercially, I feel that it is statistically probable that I tend to think to the point of not acting.
Most of my peers, in my biased sample population, are of the view that you should seize the day and follow your dreams. As we learnt in class, a dream is a good thing to have, but a dream isn’t all you need. You can’t just afford to go on by following your heart. The brain has to come in and bring in a logical focus into the picture.
Granted, the plan almost always changes, but the whole point for having a plan is to set the direction that we are all heading towards. This way, when different events or changes happen, we are better prepared to sieve out the good ideas / opportunities from the bad ones.
In this respect, I have to commend our course instructor, as she really guides and aids us along the way (sometimes to the point of hand-holding in my opinion), with her extensive contact base and practical advice ranging from ways to expand our business and getting us to think really big. In my case, we were actually planning to start small and expand, while our course instructor was suggesting that we expand our business to the US as well.
In sum, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, but don’t plan too much till you fail to move.
2) Patience pays, both literally and figuratively
Without a doubt, patience was a virtue that I had to practice the most in this class. My partner, Uday and I had to constantly repeat the same old (well, essentially the same, but with improvements) business plan to the same old people, in which a group of them, for some reason, seem to have developed an affinity of asking the same old questions, which were already answered before, on the same three days of the week WHILE keeping up the same level of enthusiasm throughout the course.
As you can probably tell, I found myself feeling irritated most of the time in class; I felt that things were going a little too slow and shallow for my liking. Furthermore, we kept going around in circles for a number of class discussions. It really did not help that opening your mouth and saying something counts as class participation.
What got me to try to change my attitude towards the whole process was something Uday said to me after all a presentation in class, “You are going to get in situations like these with similar kinds of people in future, and you can’t lose your cool.”
Granted, I’ve heard this countless times before, but for some reason, this time it really struck a chord. In the end, that’s what starting your own business boils down to, patience.
It’s the ability to muster all this strength, will, dogged determination, foresight, stupidity, call it what you will to simply keep going on with your idea; you just have to sit it out while planning your plan, and work while waiting for that one opportunity that is there for you to seize. It gets irritating, time consuming and downright frustrating at times, but in the event that my business takes off, I will definitely have more people to answer to, not just for grades, but for real monetary reasons. So what better time to start practicing patience than now when I’ve got a year more of studies left to go?
Edison once said “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” I prefer not to disagree with geniuses.
I really hate to sound cliché, but you have to find the answer on your own.
I don’t know if the path I’m taking now is the best or worst for me. I have no real answers, will probably never find them.
But so what? I like searching.
I wish you, the reader, all the best in your future endeavors.
Learning Journey of Entrepreneurship
by Zhu Chao
Recalling the 5 weeks learning experience of technological entrepreneurship, I have to say that it’s really a great and imaginative course I have ever took.. Along the way, Professor Pamela Lim introduced and shared her idea and experiences of initiating a business, encouraged us to do entrepreneurship on-hand instead of just learning the theory from textbook, guarded us to make sure we are on the right track. More than that, Pamela even helped us to settle a meeting with our potential supplier by her own networking.
During this 5 weeks learning journey, among all kinds of knowledge and experiences that I gained, I have three things to share here. And I believe that those three are the most crucial factors to the success of entrepreneurship. Firstly, a common character that all entrepreneurs have, Initiative. Nobody can be a successful entrepreneur if he cannot even take the first step out. To be initiative, one must be eager and willing to start up one’s business. Among all the friends around us, we can easily find out that there are some people that are always able to initiate activities, and some others always follow them. To be a successful entrepreneur, it’s notable that one should try initiate things rather than just follow in daily lives. Secondly, Braveness. One must be brave enough to take the risk and sacrifice. Lots of people create their own businesses but end up with a failure not because their business idea is bad. On the contrary, they do have a great business idea but they are not faithful to it and not brave to make sacrifices. This leads to the failure in the end. Lastly, interpersonal relationship. Nowadays, the determinants of one’s success are more than one’s personal achievements, people around the one will also be counted in. To be an entrepreneur, especially a start up one, networking is very important. Having a well constructed networking and right friends will make the start up business much easier by the information from friends with experience.
Five weeks is a really short time and I believe my learning journey of entrepreneurship did not end with this course. To become a entrepreneur, I still have a long way to go and mass things to learn. Having faith and faithfulness, I will keep on striving, with happiness and suffering.
Looking back and ahead all at the same time
by Jasmin Choo
When asked in class what our childhood ambitions were, I immediately remembered what mine was, or to be more accurate, were. I remembered driving my parents crazy with my daily changing declaration of what I wanted to be when I grow up. Despite the years, I am still as clueless as I was back then about what I want to be, what I want out of life.
I suppose then that taking this course fitted perfectly into this web of chaos, even though it was compulsory for me to take it. If I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, then why should I limit my options and not consider working for, well, myself.
I cannot confidently say that after taking this course I am terribly inspired to be my own boss. I appear to be lacking the crucial passion and drive that are needed for success. The things that have been taught in these 5 weeks will undoubtedly be left in cold storage. However, maybe one day I will find something to be passionate and driven about. When that time comes, I am sure I will remember this course and try to remember what were the applicable things taught.
Fun of being a street vendor……….!!!!!
by Hoang My Hanh, Beti
Let me tell u a story, not really tips for entrepreneurship, but first time in my life I experience how difficult it is to earn money by my self.
Back to 3 years ago,around the time near Lunar New Year Celebration, I was a third-year student in University of Economics in Vietnam. Once I came home from school, I was very surprised how come my house was full of clothes….my mom said there was a big sale in somewhere oversea, at the end they gave free all remaining goods to customers…..wahhhh….I wondered how my relatives was so good that they manage to collect every things and share to my family.
That was good news, but bad news was….none of those could be used because they were either too old or too small or even….too big….but it would be very wasteful if throw them all….so I decided to wash them,iron and fold them nicely, put in a big bag and borrow a big plastic table cloth from my neighbor to begin my journey tomorrow.
8am next day, I woke up and went around to find an ideal place for my business. Not far from my house, I found an empty place at the pavement near a fruit vendor. Luckily, I always bought fruits from her everyday, so she was very happy to let me stay next to her to sell my clothes.
Everyday after class, I rode bicycle with a big bag of clothes behind there,stretched the plastic cloth, displayed my clothes neatly and put the price as 10.000VND for each (around 1 SGD).I was really surprised that my business went on much better than I thought. Maybe because I was willing to lower price if they bought large quantity or for charity purpose. Whenever I met poor customers who wanted to buy some clothes for their children to celebrate new year, I gave them free. I also marketed to my customers that the fruits next to me is very good in both quality and price. Therefore, I was able to help the fruit vendor sell lots of fruits as well.
It was really fun, but I was scared that if my parents saw me, they would punish me, so I closed my business after 5 days and managed to get a profit of 900.000VND(around 90SGD). The remaining clothes I gave to charity.
I was really happy during that time because I can earn money by my self and helped a lot of people who have reduced circumstances. Even though after that time, my face was destroyed by pimples and sun burn, the lessons that I learned in entrepreneurship is worth.
The first lesson is to take the right thing at the right time; because in my country usually people will buy lots of clothes and food when Lunar New Year coming; especially cheap price will attract them more.
Secondly, make use of the network. If I don’t have good relationship with the fruit vendor, I might not able to find the place so easily and so near my house.
Lastly, good results always come in either ways if you treat others nicely. My business might go bad if I was not flexible in price negotiation and willing to give free to poor people.
I know that words of mouth is powerful, so I try to make use of this business to extend my network and build up my reputation rather than earn money. That’s why until now, whenever I go back to my country, my customers, the fruit vendor still remember me and greet me whenever I pass by.
Just a piece of my happy memory, I think you also find it fun and meaningful whenever you do somethings that bring happiness to you and people around right?(^__^)
5 weeks of enriching entrepreneural studies
It’s summer in SMU! With nothing to do for 2 months, I decided to take a summer course. I browse through the available courses and found a course with an interesting name; Technological Entrepreneurship. My first impression of this course was that this course would revolve around online businesses. Since I never knew much about technology except for social networking sites such as Facebook and I always wonder how people can make huge money out of the internet, I bidded for this course with some of my first-year friends.
After the first class ended, my friends decided to drop the course because they think that the course is too demanding and too hard for them. I half-agree with them since 90% of my classmates are year 2s and year 3s. However at that time I felt that if I gave up, I wouldn’t be able to be a good entrepreneur. The important criteria of being an entrepreneur, or basically everything in life is to never give up. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs and if I gave up now, I would just disappoint them. Therefore I chose to carry on and help my team with the little knowledge I have when compared to theirs.
The result? I never regretted my decision. I was very thankful to have been taught by Prof. Pamela Lim because she taught me the steps to set up a business and things I never knew about entrepreneurship. Who said that entrepreneurship cannot be taught?
At first I thought I know a lot about entrepreneurship because I know some aspects of my parents’ business. However after a few courses, I realized that I know nothing. There are a lot of things to cover when setting up a new business that I never know of such as the methods to valuate a company, the market analysis needed and the ways to find funding for a company.
I have to admit that we will have to experience firsthand to really learn entrepreneurship, but if some things can be taught before you plunge into the business world, why would people say that entrepreneurship cannot be taught? Moreover, Prof. Pamela Lim saw the importance of getting the firsthand experience of setting up a business, therefore she asked all of us to set up a real business. I think this is a very good concept of teaching not just entrepreneurship but almost every other subjects.
Since the first week of the course, my passion for entrepreneurship has fired up considerably and I have been constantly looking for business ideas to set up a business in my home country, Indonesia. With this course, I have observed a few business ideas that are feasible to set up in my hometown such as the concept of Ideal Meals and Frood. Not only business ideas inside the classroom, but also the business ideas that are available in Singapore which is not available yet in my hometown. I have never been more passionate about setting up a business before this course.
Although my journey will have to be taken in baby steps since I still have a few more years before I end my studies, this course has been a very enriching course for me and it also serves as a wake-up call to be more observant to Singapore’s businesses which can be transferred to my hometown/home country which has a bigger population, thus a bigger market.
To Be, or Not to Be (an Entrepreneur)
by Yee Kai
With the widely publicized success stories of Google and Facebook, an entrepreneur has suddenly become a “sexy” profession (possibly up there with an investment banker). However, we all know that being an entrepreneur is not a bed of roses – it is about slogging your ass off for minimal pay because of your (blind?) faith in a business idea. Entrepreneurs must be sado-masochists. How else do you explain their intense passion for ideas that, more often than not, cause them disappointments, loss of wealth and even personal relationships?
Well, I am one of those silly souls who are willing to embark on this pursuit of my dreams. In the past, I have had several business ideas but I never knew what was the next step that had to be taken: was it to find a team with the same ideals or to approach someone to fund my business idea? I lacked the confidence of taking my ideas to the next stage due to a fear of failure. Hence I guess the biggest takeaway I have gained from TE is the steps that should be taken to make dream into reality.
One of the most inspiring episodes in TE came from the guest speaker whom the Professor invited on the last day. I remember what he said about pursuing a dream, “It begins with you and it also ends with you.” Now, this sentence might seem simple enough, but it resonated with me. Whether the business idea will bear fruit or not depends on how much effort we are willing to put into making it a success; if you are half-hearted then do not even proceed beyond the idea.
The success and setback that an entrepreneur faces throughout his journey are his rewards (yes, setbacks). Needless to say, success motivates us to strive on further; but without setbacks, how would we ever know the sweet taste of success? Besides, the lessons that an entrepreneur picks up are invaluable because each defeat brings about a new perspective and will aid him in every subsequent attempt he makes.
At the end of the day, all businesses begin with little steps and I have just taken my own. I am under no illusion that my own journey will be fraught with difficulties and disappointments. Friends who started this journey with me might leave, I might not be able to raise sufficient funds or my business idea might fail; yet I know there are other entrepreneurs who have treaded this path and been through worse, so there is no reason for me to quit at the first sign of trouble. After all, the phrase “Fortune comes to the brave” must be familiar to all entrepreneurs.
Nobody knows the way its going to be
by Uday Rao
(Body in Singapore. Mind all over.)
Never give up. If he can do it. Why cant you?
WOW! 5 weeks finished just like that! Gone really fast and I am truly happy with our groups efforts. In the 5 weeks Joel and I have learnt so much from developing ideas of a business (from the big to the small). There are so many moving parts one has to learn how to deal with. One thing i have learnt from the class is there will always be detractors. There will always be a bunch of individuals who will not like the idea and will try to find holes in it. It is this group i feel if we can persuade them to change their mind, we are halfway there to succeed. Sometimes we can’t change their mind and must move on. More often than not, it does get to me. But hey there are 6 billion in the world. At least a billion use microsoft product. Probably 800 mln don’t like the product but at the end of the day the business sells and is profitable.
What else have I learnt. Yes!. Its good to start it right away. . Starting the business letting it hit the ground running is important regardless of how small the set up is. One has to start somewhere. Which leads to , “Dont over think”. I suffered from this. But thanks to Professor Pamela Lim and her class, she taught me how important it is to hit the ground runnning. There is nothing to lose. Sometimes this fear is what stops us from starting a business or not pursuing with it. We have to overcome the fear.
In Asia more than anything “lose face” mentality is prominent. If you can overcome that you can overcome anything. I must admit i have made some of the biggest mistakes in my life (which i still regret even though it has been 8 years) because to save face. Pls i encourage all of you, for those who haven’t, to go over and beyond it. With the help of a strong family friends and colleagues i’m sure all can get over it.
As for myself this was my last course in a forgettable environment, time which i will never get back (BIG mistake no. 2 Coming to SMU). But being an entrepreneur and starting a couple of things has buffered the depression. I feel this class was one of those classes that makes coming to SMU not too shabby. The fact that pamela makes us “DO” than “Think” is an endearing quality i hope she can share with other students.
As mentioned I have been involved in some entrepreneur activities. My big one was an investment in a tech firm i made with my dad. They do tech solutions and i’m quite proud of them. I have been actively selling my business to some (sorry guys for the sales pitches) in class. I hope you don’t mind. I’m selling sensible technology not a revenue stream for myself. Do check it out www.krawlernetworks.com & www.krawlerx.com. The summer has seen me also set up a closed end fund of roughly $5mln. I’m quite active in the VC/PE area hence if any good ideas with funding give a shout out on my email. I am looking to set up some exciting ideas. One of which is with DJ! Hope it works. We even got our first intern application! ahah Thanks KUMAR! Lols.
Don’t lose the fire to succeed. Stand up every time you get punched. Never give up. Do look to American football to inspiration, if you lack any. Tom Brady, the best player in NFL today, was drafter no.199 out of 265. He was told by scouts by clubs, when at college, he was too slow and he had a weak arm. That did not stop him to where he is today. James Harrisson was not even drafted! He was a journey man for 5 years. TOday he is the best player. I want to say is you have the qualities to succeed. Just put your mind to it and chisel away. If it doesnt work out in singapore, try your luck overseas (PS i know many idiots form my high school who were academically challenged, today they work for firms i dream of being at). Never give up. The day you give up is the day you lose.
I do wish all classmates all the best. To answer the age old question. Those with high grades will say GPA is not important but those with low gpa will say gpa is important. 2 cents worth.
All i want to end off is that the future is unknown. Uncertain. For some it will be good. For some it will get better. For some it will go downhill. For some it will be a time of being lost. For all i hope it goes to plan. Like the great band of the 90’s , Oasis, did say “Nobody knows the way its going to be, Live forever”.
Keep in touch.
Every Liu Bei needs his Zhu Ge Liang
by Sun Feiyi
The T&E course is really an impressive module to me.Here I want to share some of my thoughts through the Romance of Three Kingdoms stories. In this Chinese classical noveL, The King of Country Shu Liu Bei, along with his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei had sworn allegiance to the Han Dynasty and pledged to do their best to serve the emperor and the common people. However, their goals and ambitions had not been realized until the later part of the novel.
Liu Bei, ever since he had successfully quelled the Yellow Turban Rebellion, was not recognized for his efforts and was made only the magistrate of a small county. Later, Liu Bei was forced to join forces with Cao Cao and they defeated Dong Zhuo, the biggest political giant at that time. It was until Dong Zhuo was executed and Liu Bei became officially recognized as the Emperor?s Uncle. Liu Bei plotted with some officials to kill Cao Cao as Cao Cao wielded far too much power and had the intention of usurping the throne. Liu Bei failed to kill Cao Cao as the plot was exposed and in next few decades, with Country Wu got more and more stronger under emperor Sun Quan, those three countries did non-stop fighting with each other. It is said that Shu would never be so strong enough to fight with the rest of two kingdoms without Zhu Ge Liang (aka Kong Ming).
Zhu ge Liang assisted Liu Bei and helped him through many difficult situations. Following Zhuge Liang’s strategies, Liu Bei made an alliance with Sun Quan’s group and defeated Cao Cao?s troops in the Battle of Red Cliffs. Later, Liu Bei successfully captured Jingzhou, Yizhou and Hanzhong. With Zhuge Liang’s assistance, Liu Bei appointed himself emperor in 221 and Zhuge Liang was appointed as Cheng Xiang to preside over political affairs. In 223 when Liu Bei died, Zhuge Liang was entrusted with Liu Bei’s son, Liu Shan.
In my view, Liu Bei is like an entrepreneur during that time and he would never be so successful in his “business” without Zhu Ge Liang. It raises my thoughts of today’s entrepreneurs’ relationships with their partners and employees in business areas. Although leadership, charisma, and management skills can be learn from textbook and theories, some entrepreneurs just cannot run his organization and manage his internal and external teams very well. It would be very pity if those who are real leaders like Liu Bei to miss talents like Zhu Ge Liang in his business.
From Prof Lim’s T&E class, with her guide, we form different groups to carry on our projects. From all those team works, I have learned how to see and understand varieties of advantages from different people that can contribute to the same goal and ambition of our business. Therefore I think this could be quite helpful to be a smart, efficient, and successful entrepreneur in future.
Getting down and dirty with entrepreneurship
This course-MGMT324 Technological Entrepreneurship: Opportunity Identification is really about roll-up-your-sleeves, get-your-hands-dirty, get-your-feet-wet entrepreneurship.
Although we did go through the essential theories and concepts such as “bear hug”, “hostile takeover”, “greenmail provision”, “business angel” and “bootstrapping”, I feel that the course is more practical than theory-based. We went through the same process that an entrepreneur will go through when he is starting up a business.
At the beginning, we brainstormed for ideas for our business. Innovative ideas which are different from everything else out in the market. This marked the start of my entrepreneurship journey. Coming up with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) was a pain. Yet, I finally understood why majority of startups fail. A main reason is because they had no USP and there were low barriers to entry. I am reminded of the proliferation of bubble tea shops in Singapore several years ago. The low barriers to entry led to bubble tea shops mushrooming everywhere until the industry was overheated. The bubble in the bubble tea finally burst. Bubble tea shops went bust. The lesson here is that if a business does not have a USP, the fate that will await it is the same as the bubble tea industry.
Besides the USP, we had to ensure that our business is profitable. Our initial business idea was a food delivery business. However, we realized that operational costs would make the business unprofitable. Hence, we changed our business into an online t-shirt design and print community. Personally, I am more interested in food than t-shirts or design. However, when you realize that your business is not viable, you have to change your business, whether you like it or not. This is another lesson.
I was in charge of web development. However, I am not trained in IT/IS and neither am I inclined towards that. This presented a problem for me. Fortunately, our groupmates who had more aptitude for IT handled the technicalities. I learnt that for a business to succeed, you have to get the person best suited for the job ie. an expert in that area. We would have hired an IT professional as our webmaster if not for budget constraint.
Getting suppliers was another problem we faced. However, we managed to overcome it. All of us went all out to look for suppliers. With all our inputs, we eventually found one which gave us good value for money.
Apart from the hands-on things we did-writing a business plan, applying for government funding, finding suppliers-one very important help we had was from prof. Prof has been very encouraging from the start. In all the facilitation sessions, prof had been giving suggestions on how we can improve our business, how to make it more profitable, how to meet requirements for funding. Without such a mentor, I think that my entrepreneurial journey will be bleak right from the start. Mentors really help in their advice having been there and done that. The real-life experiences of prof and her invited speakers also gave me insights into an entrepreneur’s journey, the problems faced by entrepreneurs and how to overcome them.
Tipping point to be entrepreneur
by Myat Noe Aye
After taking TWC, this is the second course about technology. First of all, I was not sure to take this course because I am not IS student and I was wondering whether I can establish website or not which is in course outline. But I am curious about T&E: opportunity identification. That sounded interesting to me. I am interested in Technological firms although I am not IS student. Currently in this world, everything is related with technology. Therefore, not being IS student, I wanted to get chance to explore Technological firm and entrepreneurship concept.
During these 13 Weeks, I learn a lot of entrepreneurship which is I have never learned before. Prof facilitated the students how to start up company, process of forming the company, preparing the business plan, ownership, dilution, negotiation and valuation. Moreover, she taught about source of fund, IPO process on SGX and the countries. Last but not least, I have learned about Mergers & Acquisition: hostile & friendly takeover. To be entrepreneur, there is to be personality traits. But, there are some other factors which effect to be entrepreneur. There are situational and environmental factors. I learned about the ways to brainstorm to spot good opportunities. So that, we can find out good business ideas. Our business ideas are cheap. But we have to select a best business idea by two considerations: personal and business. After all, we can start write business plan by doing power point presentation and writing down business plan. There are a lot details about writing business plan.
Additionally, I learned not only from lecture but also from outside classroom like Guest speaker section, sharing experience from entrepreneurs and learning from peers which is other groups’ business plans. I was inspired by Guest speakers. They did the great jobs and shared their pain and their success.
I am not majoring in Management and Entrepreneur. So, I really don’t know about being entrepreneurship. What I was thinking is to work in big corporation after graduate. However, this course inspires me to become entrepreneur. Passion can make us to be entrepreneurs. Besides, there is mentorship which can be from Books, from other’s experience and from our mentor.
All in all, I love this course. I believe that this course will be tipping point for us who are going to be entrepreneurs now or future. Be entrepreneur, make money and enjoy by yourself.
A Different Module, A Different U.
For anyone who thinks that entrepreneurship just entails starting a business, think twice. If still in doubt, then take this module. Not to sound intimidating, but really, throughout my 4 years in SMU and reflecting on all the modules I’ve taken, be it technical-intensive courses, or soft-skills-relevant ones, Technological Entrepreneurship course sums up a good conclusion for my 4 years of knowledge accumulated: creating pro-forma financial statements from your finance classes, implementing marketing strategies from your marketing ones, devising new ways of executing your business idea from your creative thinking classes, learning to work cohesively within your management team from your LTB course ; the list just goes on.
Perhaps one drawback of doing a summer module which demands speed and efficiency is the inadequate time to polish up your prospective business, but from on a different light, an accelerated course pushes you to stretch your potential in successfully launching your business and thinking out of the box to get things done faster. Prior to taking this course, all I assumed was that this course is not any different as any other courses. But now, on hindsight, this is one which challenges you intellectually, technically, and also puts you to the test of both independency and interdependency when you’re out starting up your business. Very often than not, the abundance of academic knowledge you have accumulated cannot guarantee you the ways to deal with your business and that is exactly what excites me. Many times, you just have to get things done without any prior knowledge/experience.
I strongly recommend budding students with an entrepreneurial spirit to join Prof Pamela Lim in embarking on this enterprise journey (warning: it’s not gonna be easy) because this course offers you the opportunity to stretch your own capabilities and put your potentials into actual business practice. Do bear in mind, you may possess all the textbooks answers, but when it comes to dealing with situations, you may not know how to execute it at all. If you want to challenge yourself, then this is the course for you.
Kudos to Prof, my business partner Syaz and the class for an entertaining, enriching and exciting 5 weeks that I’ve enjoyed with you all. Believe in yourself and the spirit of enterprise will scale you to greater heights in life.
Never afraid to make mistake,
by Vendra Soh
In the earlier part of the course, i though to be an entrepreneur is a bluff and dare not believe myself to have the money to set up a business(to be an entrepreneur). Till, prof Pamela actually explain to the whole class how affordable yet adventurous it is to be an entrepreneur. I learn that to be an entrepreneur , i can bootstrap on the available business idea and even use available facility for free such as the school internet to market my product. And an entrepreneur can also obtain fund from government and various organization that promote entrepreneurship. I finally understand that it is not expensive at all for one to start a business and be an entrepreneur.
My learning journey for technical entrepreneurship
by Chow Chee Loong Jonathan
Before this course, I was sold on the course objective because of the opportunity to setup a business and have an experienced mentor guiding you on this journey. To me, this was a priceless experience because Prof. Pamela being a successful entrepreneur, is devoting her time to groom and advise your business. Many SMU students would like to start up a business however they do not do so because of fear, lack of knowledge or lack of commitment. In my mind, I was telling myself that with Prof. Pamela guidance, I will have no excuse not to setup one as I am lazy when there is nothing to push me.
Just the Beginning..
by Harshita Sultania
When I first bid for this class, I was very sceptical about managing the course as I was only a first year student and the course outline scared the wits out of me. I also emailed Terence to ask if it was manageable by a first year student. On getting a positive response from him, I agreed to carry on with it.
Entrepreneurship is only for hungry people
by Victor Zeng
Keep on running
Entrepreneurs are created out of hunger. You don’t have to be poor to be hungry. As long as you’ve an immense desire to achieve something that you’re willingly to give up everything, you’re on the right track towards entrepreneurship.
Honestly I take this module on Technological Entrepreneurship is to clear my SMU modules. I didn’t expect to create a business out of it since I’m already running two businesses, one is real estate the other is an autopilot business, www.sgbusinsslaw.com, . However after I joined the course, I realized that there’s a lot more to learn in this module, e.g. strategies in mergers and acquisitions and listing your company on stock exchange, which could be implemented in future. Secondly, you get to know several entrepreneur-minded individuals. As far as I know, there’s no module in SMU that allowed you to know so many like-minded individuals in a classroom setting.
My first journey with entrepreneurship started when I was serving National Service in commando battalion. The camp upholds a very strict discipline culture; allowing us to book out mostly on Saturdays before booking in on Sunday night. Thus every second out of camp is very precious to us. Most guys will spend every second of their book-out time with their girlfriends, while I took advantage of this limited time by searching for the best and cheapest flowers to offer to these guys, since they won’t have time to search for such stuff. To market the product, I placed posters on every company. Apart from that, I designed online flowers banners to flowers companies to attract customers to their websites. Overall I earn a neat profit, to top of my NS allowance.
After I left National Service, I went on to work on sales and marketing. The toughest time is doing door-to-door sales on HDB promoting Starhub services. It is a physically, mentally and emotionally draining work. Carrying a digital-box, I started knocking every single unit from the top floor to the last unit at the bottom. At times I went back home with nothing. Nevertheless, that learning journey provides a wonderful platform to interact with various types of people. Subsequently I moved on to telemarketing, which is closing sales purely through the phone. The most memorable sale is on my 23rd birthday, when I close three sales through the phone at the comfort of my home. The best part is the lan line which I used to call is free. Earning money with zero capital is absolutely possible. The application of this skill is far beyond imagination. I’ve used this skill to gain perks, offers, dates etc.
As I’m hungry for challenges, I moved on to real estate. Throughout my life I stay in a HDB flat and I seldom get to see private and landed properites. Venturing into real estate is really an eye-opener. It allowed me to see lots of beautiful houses which I never thought possible. The level of difficulty in negotiating is definitely higher since I’m dealing with products that worth millions of dollars. Over the years, I’ve clinched a fair number of sales and it motivated me to learn more about finance.
This motivation leads me to apply for SMU. During the first year, together with two friends, we started offering flowers for SMU students and corporate on Valentine’s Day via the website, http://dandytraits.com/. Although the profits isn’t a lot, it was great fun taking orders and storing all flowers in a GSR as a pick-up point for delivery. Apart from that I also offer real estate rental services to foreign students via http://www.univantage.com.sg/uv/lifestyle/realtorhub/ . The earnings from the latter business covered my living expenses in school. Upon finishing a compulsory course in Business Law, I converted all my notes into an ebook and offered it back to school via www.sgbusinesslaw.com.
In Pamela Lim‘s class, together with a bunch of interesting friends, we worked on SMU Co-operative.
The only reason for doing all these is hunger. I’m so hungry for success, that I’m willing to go to the extreme to achieve it. Along the way I’ve met lots of people, from extreme poor to the extreme rich. It amazes me that the richest people and the poorest people share a common characteristic: being humble. The only difference between these two groups of people is the rich is constantly looking for ways to be better. My only advice for new entrepreneurs are:
1. Stay hungry
2. Take action today, no matter how small that action is. A journey of a thousand miles start with a single step. Keep changing your action plan till you succeed.
3. Enroll Pamela Lim’s class.
My first time
by Zhan Xiang
I had my first taste of making money when i was 10. to me, it wasn’t anything about being entrepreneurial. In fact, I obviously didn’t know what entrepreneurial meant. I just loved the feeling of “growing” money.
Those days, there was a craze amongst the kids which was to buy and exchange trading cards, be them celebrity photo cards or power ranger cards. Basically these trading cards all came in packs of 5s and they cost about $2 per pack.
Being young primary school kids, with meager allowances, it meant that most kids would not be able to buy a full pack themselves. and even if they co-shared with their friends, there would be a problem sharing (i.e. there might be “better/more valuable” cards in the pack).
I obviously didn’t have the money too. However, when Chinese New Year came, i found out that i could get funding from my ang pows! Though i was strictly warned no to take any money out of the ang pows, I secretly siphoned a note or two every time someone gave me a generous one.
I bought the packs of trading cards, and packed them into packs of 1 or 2 cards, and selling them for 50cents or a dollar each, making a good 20% profit. Business was so good that i roped in another partner to help in the buying and repackaging of my cards.
Soon after, we expanded into the business of selling erasers. Remember the erasers with the different national flags on it? Yup, a box of it would only carry one of each type of flag. However, the most popular one would be the Singapore flag. We managed to source and buy boxes of Singapore flags and sold it at an unbelievable premium of 100%. it would cost us about 1 cents for an eraser and the Singapore flag ones could sell for 30cents or more.
Eraser or “Rubber Fighting” as it was affectionately known then was the in thing. And fighting and winning with a Singapore rubber was just priceless.
However, the teachers soon found out that i was selling trading cards and erasers to my school mates and called my parents to school. Luckily for me, my parents were cool. My dad is a businessman, and he laughed when he found out what i did. The only trouble was that i couldn’t explain my source of funds and was even accused for stealing.
My business soon ended there and with my proceeds I proudly bought myself a Casio G-shock watch, the first thing that i bought for myself with my own money.
Even 15 years later, it still feels good to reminisce about what happened before. As I graduate and start working for my family business, I still long for the day that i can finally start something on my own again.
With a goal, a right attitude and mindset and of course pure hard work, nothing is impossible and if you are lucky and blessed, you might even get someone who might just be the catalyst to your success.
All the best in your journey!
Content-ed.com: A Practical Experience in Realizing a Dream
(Singapore Management University, Singapore)
By Lenz Wong, Content-ed.com CEO
Learning entrepreneurship from Professor Pamela Lim in the past 5 weeks has been amazingly rewarding. Within a limited time frame, she has taught me the most critical skills in transforming my ideas into money making systems. Instead of preaching textbook principles which would be boring and useless to implement in the real world, she inspired me with sufficient skills and knowledge about what is really important to be aware of out there in the real world, supported strongly by her personal experiences, such as the importance of networking and knowing the laws that you can use and those which can be used against you.
An example of the culmination of what I have learnt is the creation of Content-ed.com. Click here to see how Content-ed.com was created and alk the work that went into it in just 5 weeks.
Leveraging on the current economic trends and our youthful preference in working with technology, my group created an idea to bridge together two huge markets to serve. In realizing the project to fruition is an accomplishment by itself, as countless obstacles had to be overcome and many seemingly unimportant issues made aware. Although none of my teammates are progressing to the next stage, it would be a mistake in saying we have not learnt anything as the skill sets that we have possessed can be used repeatedly to harness the power of our ideas into making money! I hope to keep in touch with Professor Lim after I graduate as I plan on being a full-fledged entrepreneur in crafting my own destiny. I know that her advice, contacts and experience will be priceless in shortening my learning curve and helping me make costly mistakes.
Being out of my element
by Benjamin Tan Rui Wen
Since a child, I loved math, debating statistical outliers and probabilities. I loved the point where I could tell a person that you don’t really know what could happen!
I’m ingrained through and through a statistician.
Needless to say, that makes me a highly risk adverse person. I believe that in the business of business, my aim is to make money, and I have an obligation to my team, myself and any potential investor to explore all possible options and possibilities with good plans to exploit the market for all it’s worth!
I’ve done business before, but never with my own money. For example, I used to sell ‘Magic Cards’ in school. People sold single cards to others, I decided that I should sell winning combinations of cards and charge a premium. However, I was caught and my answer to my allegation of selling these ‘contraband cards’ was I could make money, so why not!
Well, I’m not going to walk away from this class thinking I can go sell contraband items. However, what I learnt from this class is probably the priceless lesson of needing to plan less and act more.
I’m not saying I don’t plan anymore, I’m just saying I need to act more. Many times, my mind gets the better of me. I worry about the possibility of failures, I worry about what if our assumptions are wrong, what if what we planned doesn’t work. BUT, I learnt that the best way to find out? Is to ACT.
So we acted, my group went out and we found out information. So much information that we were overwhelmed by how wrong we actually started out. I learnt to incorporate new information, and to try again.
Entrepreneurship isn’t about success I think, its about process. Its about taking every thing I learn each time I find myself failing and not failing in the same way again. Eventually I’ll succeed by not making the same mistakes again and again.
In sum, I cannot fear failing. I need to keep moving, keep planning on where to go, and well get moving. Little point in having my journey on paper but not taking a single step.
I’d like to believe I’m awesome at taking an idea, toying with it in my head for 5 minutes and giving a billion possibilities and planning for perhaps the most probable negative outcomes. But seriously, I’ve learn that this intellect isn’t enough, I simply need to work. Get going. Start doing something.
So my eventual take away after this long winded essay of mine is that, I learnt more than just to plan, but to execute that plan. To embrace failure, and to just consistently move forward to my dream of not working for anyone and starting something I can call my own.
The Art of Business
by Daniel Yu
Yet another summer term has come to a close. To me, this has been one of the more fruitful and gratifying modules, one that I won’t soon forget. While entrepreneurship courses are almost a dime a dozen, this one, spearheaded by Prof. Pamela Lim, challenged us to dive head first into starting up an online business that harnessed both managerial and technical expertise in the mere span of 5 weeks. With the need to incorporate such a wide scope of business know-how, it was definitely a demanding feat in itself. Nevertheless, it was through adversity, turmoil and not to mention countless meetings and break out sessions that we bonded as a class and learnt a great deal. Perhaps one of the more prominent takeaways for me is that each individual has his/her own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only through working around these imperfections that we can channel our personal capabilities to our advantage. Each group member took charge of areas in our project that they excelled at; be it programming, web interface designing, financial analysis, marketing or even having a keen desire to learn something new. Ultimately, it was through this process that we learnt from each other and progressed as a team. Although each of us had a vision of how the Content-ed website would turn out, we maintained a realistic mindset and worked within our means. I was certainly inspired by my member’s perseverance and desire to succeed in the face of adversity, and the many doubts that sprouted along the way were largely resolved through a great deal of research and discussion.
To sum up the wealth of knowledge that I gained through this journey in a mere journal entry would simply not do this course justice; even condensing a full 13-week module into a 5-week one was a little bit of a stretch. But making do with what time we had, I feel that we were all pushed to perform and at the same time guided by an entourage of capable and experienced individuals. Prof Lim, with her seemingly infinite list of credentials, both inspired and gave us confidence in being under her tutelage. And who could forget the various students and fresh-graduates who took the time to share with us their success stories, along with the accompanying trials and tribulations that are inevitable in any business venture. Having them around helped me realize that age and inexperience are never factors in the equation to success, but rather, will and determination are. And of course there were my classmates too, who were always ready and willing (be it knowingly or otherwise) to teach whilst in the process of being taught.
What I value most about this course is that it helped me to affirm and strengthen the belief that even the most unlikely of forays could turn out to be a viable business, one that you might be able to make a living out of. Pursuing an activity that brings you satisfaction and being able to forge a career out of it just makes perfect sense to me; it sure beats the monotony of an office job. I have always had a soft spot for the arts and have hopes of becoming an artist myself. While many have asked what I’m doing in a business school, I’m a firm believer that by learning the art of business, there are much more perspectives and insights to be gained that will eventually help me to cultivate the proper psyche to survive in the business of art. (Cheesy eh!)
With any luck, and if the constellations are perfectly aligned, all it would take is a teaspoon of proper direction, a tinge of fortitude and a dollop of sacrifice in order for the pursuit of a dream to eventually become a reality.
Joshua Loke – Tips for Entrepreneurs
by Joshua Loke
I believe that an entrepreneur needs to have passion for what he or she does- and this has to go beyond a profit driven motive. This is because, as Professor Pamela Lim mentioned in class, most owners of start-ups do not get paid especially in the first 2 years of business activity, and if one isn’t passionate about what one does, one may not be able to have the energy and concentration needed to plough through those difficult years.
I feel that an entrepreneur needs to have good people skills- and this goes beyond textbook type of stakeholder management as being able to relate with people, being able to fundamentally understand human psychology in business and good relationship management skills are important; to that end, I would like to suggest two very good books: Dale Carniegie’s “how to win friends and influence people” as well as “the psychology of persuasion: influence” by Robert Cialdini. These two books are very good in my humble opinion, and they provide a good basis for the average Singaporean undergraduate. Dale Carnegie’s book has been in print for 40 over years, and has a proven track record in people management skills: things like ‘sincerely appreciating others’, and asking ‘what’s in it for’ the other party can be used universally by businessmen all over the world.
Lastly, I believe that entrepreneurs need good multi-tasking, memory and organisation skills. Being able to juggle multiple tasks such as remembering important dates for different events as well as remember individual names, and each one of your client’s preference and unique personality. This helps in building a good working relationship with your
To conclude, I believe that entrepreneurs need to be “foolish” and “hungry” as Steve Jobs mentioned, because sometimes being too calculated and risk-adverse means that one is too scared to put one’s plans into action, and HUNGER separates the mediocre from the excellent- drive and ambition requires one to go the extra mile and complete his tasks to perfection. Occasionally being foolish means that one has the guts to try seemingly impossible tasks, and abandon one’s comfort zone. This is extremely important for Singaporeans, as sometimes I feel that we want too much stability( study hard, get good grades, go to University and then get a good paying job that is stable)- ergo, stability seems to be deeply integrated into the roots of every Singaporean’s psyche.
A Challenge to Fellow Young Entrepreneurs! – DJ
by Hong Dijun, DJ
Enjoy the challenge!
To fellow young entrepreneurs out there, have you ever thought that entrepreneurship courses out there are simply a waste of time especially when you have already set up several businesses before?! If that’s the case (which was exactly what I had thought), then I am formally issuing you a challenge. Take this course and tell me what you think afterwards. Trust me…this course will certainly challenge you to the limit while leaving you with the most enriching experience of your life at the end of the grueling 5 weeks!
Coming from a humble background, I have tried doing all sorts of small businesses since young to support myself and I certainly believe that I am one of the most entrepreneurial guys of my age. With that belief and a bit of arrogance, I certainly thought that this course will be a breeze and there wouldn’t be anything to learn. However, just few days into the course and that was what I need to completely change my mindset and be ready for the greatest adventure of my entire SMU life!
I had always wanted to venture into internet businesses but the technical know how required had always being my stumbling block. It just seems impossible for me to learn how to make such geeky stuff works. However, with the push and guidance from Prof Pamela Lim (and her famous “JUST DO IT!” attitude), I actually surprised myself and managed to learn website programming and create a rather well website within a day! It makes me realize that technical issue is never a showstopper and all you need is to ask the right person and be willing to try! Nothing is more important than getting your hands dirty and humbly seeking advices from those around you!
Of course, the challenge didn’t stop there. The course also pushes me and my team to the limit with me conjuring up a valuation model within 24 hours and the team launching a fully functional website supporting our business within a short 5 weeks! Needless to say, all these were on top of the super-refined business plan and presentation (presented and refined at least 3 times) which our team is proud and confident of!
The greatness of the course wasn’t just about the challenging time limit. It also wasn’t just about a caring mentor who was always there to guide you, but also the many great fellow course mates who were there to share their experiences and help you refine your plans. The exchange of ideas and the maturity displayed by fellow course mates have certainly humbled me and made me realized how much there are to be learnt and gained simply by interacting and listening to your peers.
Before I lose the reader with the lengthy post, I will like to take this chance to thank the many people who have helped me throughout this course and provided me with the chance to better understand the true spirit of entrepreneurship. Most importantly, I hope that the bond and friendship forged throughout this course will be there to stay and let’s meet up for more beer sessions! (and yes guys, stop forcing me to drink! =P )
To the rest of the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, don’t hesitate and I urge you to sign up for this course now! The guidance will shorten your learning curve and friendship forged will make your entrepreneurship journey whole lot more fun and enjoyable!
All the best!!!
Just do it……Keep on Going
by Niko Alfred
SUCCESS: JUST DO IT….Keep on Going…..
I am just another average Joe out there just like everyone else out there. Always dream to strike rich one day. Imagining how would I be at those moment. However, nothing really changes after all it is only a dream. It can never materialize since I have not taken any action.
Just like many other people, I am brought up with the teaching of “study hard so you can get a good job”. That is why I have always focused my energy on studying. I am already 21 and to be honest I have never tried to even get a taste of opening a business or even working. Yes, if my studies turn out well, I get a merit for my diploma in polytechnic. However, I realized that doing so can’t get me far. I will just be another average Joe, working for others and always complaining of how small my pay is.
This is why I chose to go to a business school rather than continuing my studies in engineering which I excelled in poly. I have always believed that I am meant for more, also seeing my parents’ effort in sending me a broad for education make my stand firmly that I am meant for big things so I can return and make them proud.
However, university life taught me that you can never learn to be an entrepreneur from textbooks and schools. Now I believed that one can pick up entrepreneurship best from try and error.
Currently, now I am participating in many different CCA organizing event and run a small time business. I would say that from these I have learn much more then what I learn back in my poly days. So the only thing I have to recommend to others who wants to be their own boss is just a simple phrase of “Just does it and keep on going”.
I don’t know whether this is true or not but in my opinion we Asians are generally too afraid of taking risk and especially with money matters. Even though I think all people have dreams of making a name for themselves. Only a handful will go the extra step to go for it. People always have the thinking that I am not ready to go for it just yet. Always keep delaying the day to actually take action. It is always “next time”.
When these people missed their opportunities, they always blamed others rather than themselves. Whether is it not enough money, not being born into a rich family and many others. On the other hand in reality this not so. People like Bill Gates, Donald Trump and other multi billionaires came from a normal background. It is their positive attitude to making things happens that make them a successful individual. Bill Gates have the impossible vision of a PC in every house came true because he take action of making his dream and believe in his dream strongly. Donald Trump preserve through bankruptcy a make multibillion Dollars.
So in short, from my experience and proven famous stories shows that success in entrepreneurship is just do it and keep on going.
Joshua’s Learning Journey in Technology Entrepreneurship
by Joshua Thio
I waded through SMU thinking that the way to success would be to get a prestigious degree and find a high paying job to set me for life. It was during early year three of my university life that the Credit crunch struck with such fury that even a fresh graduate got retrenched the minute they step into the company that hired them. It was then I realized that entrepreneurship is a way to be protected from such unfortunate instances of the economy.
I stepped into the seminar room thinking the module would be just another academic subject which I chose so as to clear my management module. I found the module taught by Prof Pamela was different from other professors who taught in SMU. By bringing real life examples in entrepreneurship into the classroom, I found out that starting a business was not as hard as I thought prior to taking up this course.
Prof Pamela guided us through the process of forming a business. It was difficult to understand the type of businesses that one can set up but I gradually grown to become accustomed to them. I was fortunate that my stock trading background made the learning journey easier. It was around middle of the first week that the plan to take over a previous group of an SMU Co-Op was adopted and we have been running with the idea and modifying its mode of operation ever since.
Over the coming weeks, I saw how the Co-Op was created and refined through the efforts of our group. As it was a summer five week course, the pace of learning was fast. I got the opportunity to experience learning form other group’s business. I was particularly amazed at how different businesses can actually work together flexibly without the bureaucracy of a large corporation. This not only will bring ease of adaption but also value adds & compliments both businesses.
The ideas shared by other groups brought fresh perspectives and the “bouncing” of ideas session was useful to refine the business plans each individual group wrote. The skills and knowledge acquired during the course was practically hands on and less based on theory which I have found to be a refreshing change to academia. Towards the end of the course, Prof Pamela taught us how to defend the company from unwanted takeovers which I found to be useful should I decided to create a profitable business.
In this new and uncharted crisis hit economy, entrepreneurship is an indispensable skill that every graduate should be equipped with. The class has pushed for this module to become a two credit course. In doing this, students can enjoy the fruits of their labor seeing their company up and running.
Pte Ltd vs Social Enterprise
by Wei Ren
I never know what social enterprise is exactly about until I try to set up a co-operative as my project.
by Krista Ho
“Apple Chicken Quesadilla, Baked Chicken with pasta, Chicken Mango Salad, Roasted Chicken Breast…” Welcome to my little café, where the food above are amongst the top favorites personally. Chicken is the easiest food to prepare; it’s found readily everywhere, fresh and frozen both in wet markets and supermarkets. Pricing, however is obviously different in the different places, supermarkets are more expensive as compared to the local wet markets, yet prices fluctuates a hell load in wet markets. Furthermore, chicken is not something one can buy in bulk and expect it to stay fresh and ready for instant thawing whenever required by the customers, thus even if I managed to find a supplier who could give me extremely good price for bulk purchase, I can’t possibly buy in bulk even the price is the best.
It is important for an entrepreneur to find out the place to get the cheapest source of raw materials for the company, be it whether it is chicken (in my case) or even the simplest nails and staples for a construction company. Cost of goods sold is super important, in both the long and short run for every business, basically because it is the main source of expenditure. In the past 13 weeks, all of us students were taught ways to get funding for the business, come up with super fantastic business plans for the company and the idea, and also, one valuable tip I took away from the class was to find cheaper sources of necessities and basic needs.
Before the lessons, I never knew of organizations like YES, Spring Singapore or any other of such organizations who would provide a start up firm funding. I never knew of terms like bootstrapping, and I never ever thought that it would be possible to start a business from young. I never knew that age would be a helping or demoting point to start a business, I believed that it’s never too late to start a business.
Right now, I am more than excited to come up with new recipes to try out before I graduate next year, and I would be more than willing to cook for anyone who wishes to try out my food, just so as to let more people know about my “skills” before I head on to start up my own café when I graduate.
Look out for my café within the next three years. 🙂
My thoughts on Technological Entrepreneurship
Upon first signing up for this course, I felt that the syllabus sounded rather taxing for a 5-week course. I was not wrong. The amount of time commitment and the work required was not something to be brushed off lightly. Even though Prof Pamela did not insist on our commitment, I realized that it was given, pretty readily, by almost everyone.
Everything that I had learnt from this course was what I was looking out for all this 4 years in SMU. Less emphasis on the mere textbook information, more on the real life application of the knowledge. This course really proved to me that you’ll learn to swim faster when you’re thrown into the deep end of the pool. I really appreciated how Prof Pamela gave us a guiding hand while still giving us the free reign to explore our ideas and to make mistakes. To set up a business in 5 weeks is no joke. Most professors would just require students to get the theory right and “show” that they know what’s happening in order to get their marks. But Prof Pamela is different. She allowed us to explore and to find our own way in the crowd. Yes, she pushed us for the results and the work, but it was that pushing that propelled us to move forward. I belief that many of us would have gotten stuck at one point, or another, if not for Prof, constantly encouraging us to do better. She was not selfish with her critiques, nor was she someone who looked down on you just because you may not have a good idea.
Before this course, I already had a business idea in mind. But I didn’t use it for this course as I had other partners outside and the idea was not well thought out yet. This course has given me the motivation to bring that other business into play. I never thought that a business could be set up in 5 weeks. But this course has proved otherwise. This course is an excellent summary of everything that I had to go through in SMU. It forces you to be well-informed in all areas. To set a business, you’ll have to know everything from managing, to finance and accounting and even marketing. Not everyone will have the disposition for this. Determination, drive and the ability to face criticisms and failures are part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. It’s how you rise from the ashes that determines how successful you’ll be.
My many thanks to Prof Pamela and my classmates who were not selfish with their ideas and critiques. To my groupmate, Charles – thanks for all the sacrifices and the hardwork. To all those graduating, all the best in starting a new chapter in life. To the rest still in school, enjoy SMU while you can… 🙂
How to Beat Google?
The guy who wants to beat google…
How do you beat the world’s best internet success story history has witnessed so far? For me, part of the answer lay with signing up for an entrepreneurship course with Prof. Pamela Lim.
I always dreamed to do one better than Google. We hear stories of Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckenberg and how they made it big. I wanted to emulate their success; I wanted to change the world too. In order to beat the best, you had to learn from the best too. There was the problem. I knew none of them personally and given my best efforts, I do not think anyone of them would have heard of a 2nd year undergraduate from SMU named Kumar who wanted to beat them.
Enter Prof. Pamela Lim, stage left. I never had heard of her before this course. All I knew about her was that she taught Technology & World Change in SMU. Then there was enlightenment. I found out about her success story. How many times in your life do you meet a founder of a company that was valued at $1 bln and learn from them? Well, I never had. Here was my Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckenberg, Bill Gates, Richard Branson (my personal idol) all rolled into one. Here was my chance to converse with someone who’s ‘been there, done that, got the tee-shirt’ as the Americans like to say. I was able to run some of my ideas by her and then let her critique it. It was much more useful than perpetually wondering if your million-dollar idea would work.
Prof. gave us a task, to try our hand at business in the 5 week duration of the course. I decided to help my friend Ajay with his tee shirt supply business so as to gain some experience. I had tried my hand at business previously but it was an almost-ran. So, along with Ajay, I helped in some small way to transform the business from just printing and customizing tee shirts to one that would perform some sort of fashion venture capitalist for local emerging brands before finally settling on customized men’s formal wear with our own brand. Prof. advised the way forward was to establish our own brand and guess what, she was right!
I might not be continuing with Ajay’s Pash International after the course but I learnt quite a few things from him in this 5 weeks. Ajay taught me there was more than one way to build a business. I never was one convinced with cold-calling people to build business leads. However, after walking around with Ajay in Bugis, where he just approached the fashion retail store owners to broach the idea of doing the business with them, I was a convert. I was genuinely surprised that people were willing to listen to you even if you went to them with nothing much other than your conviction and an idea.
After the course, I most probably will be pursuing a business of my own during the Summer in the finance/IT field where my passion resides and I might even be trying out a modified version of one of the business ideas that another group had presented in the class (if they’re ok with it). Prof. mentioned in class, sometimes you just have to listen to Nike and just do it. I’m going to follow that advice. Prof. Pamela has become one my many inspirations. She has inspired me not to emulate her but rather to beat her. If her company was valued at $1bln, then someday mine will be valued at least $1.1bln.
So, how do you beat Google? You start by aspiring to beat those who you know who have been successful first. I am always inspired by a quote from Steve Jobs when he was trying to recruit the CEO of Pepsi to take over as CEO as Apple. You can sell sugared water for the rest of your life or you can change the world?? I’m going to change the world. Why am I so sure? I’m crazy enough to try. And part to of that crazy willingness I owe to Prof. Pamela and this course.
This is where Pash International started from!
by Ajay Hiranandani
Initially when I was recommended to bid for this module by my friend, Jonathan Chow (a student himself), I could not believe the things I heard. I was always championing the idea among my peers and professors to have an almost no constraint entrepreneurship class in the university and one that would have little academic material and more of hands-on experience. On the first day of class, this belief was reassured by Professor Pamela Lim who announced that the class would place less importance on creating a business plan (academic) and more importance in the process of starting a business (hands-on experience).
I was never a student interested in making Finance, Marketing or Accounting into a career as I felt that it was not my strength to pursue these “fields of gold” and work in a multi-national company (MNC). Instead, I saw myself as jack of all trades and liked the excitement of going into the unknown and starting my own company.
Prior to attending the class, I had already started my own business in Tee-shirt printing and when I presented it in class I received some valuable feedback from Professor Pamela and my fellow entrepreneurial classmates and then proceeded to implement them. One of the ideas that I followed was to create a brand for my tee-shirts which I then named Rochelle.
In the excitement of starting a bigger business compared to my current tee-shirt printing business, Kumar (my partner) and I then came up with an idea to provide a one-stop service to budding designers: We would aid them in product manufacturing in Indonesia and market their product in retails shops across Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. However, after doing some research and the financial calculations we felt that it was not as lucrative a venture as we thought it would be. We did not give up and join another group, instead we took this in our stride and moved on. We then came up with another business idea in the clothing line and named our future company Pash International.
The 5 weeks experience has been interesting and unique from my other university modules. There was so much emphasis on the entrepreneurial characteristics of being independent and being daring to go into the unknown that has made this a fruitful course. Based on my past 2 years experience being a student in Singapore Management University (SMU), I think that the university places too much emphasis on churning students for MNC’s and do not put much effort in providing a curriculum that would encourage students to be entrepreneurial. If there were only more people in SMU who have the same mindset as Professor Pamela Lim, then I feel that there would be a higher chance that Singapore would have a greater number of high-performance entrepreneurs which the Government has been craving for.