On Tuesday 17th Nov 2009 evening, The University of Adelaide Singapore hosted their first ever Entrepreneur Challenge Award Presentation Ceremony at the Asian Civilisations Museum. The event marked the end of a 3 months long search for the best business plan that stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship, together with a genuine chance of making it work in the real world.
70 over teams, comprised of Polytechnic students from all over Singapore in any discipline, entered the competition this year. After two intense rounds of judging, the entrants were narrowed down to six finalists who attended the award presentation ceremony. clickTRUE’s CEO Jackie Lee, was invited by University of Adelaide Singapore as one of the 3 panel of judges in the final round.
The event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Dr Lee Boon Yang. He delivered an opening speech to highlight the need for Singapore to grow more entrepreneurs, and nurture a breeding ground for innovations.
Following which, Professor Noel Lindsay, Director of Entrepreneurship for The University of Adelaide and a serial entrepreneur himself was the keynote speaker for the night. He gave an inspiring presentation with the 3 take-home pointers:
1. Entrepreneurship is not just about business and start-ups
2. With all the global changes around us, more than ever, larger corporations need to embrace entrepreneurship
3. Managers need to be more entrepreneurial and they need to understand what is required and why
Professor Lindsay explained that environmental turbulence forces company to adopt internal changes. Traditional business models may no longer be effective and hence, there is an urgent need to experiment and innovate to constantly find a competitive advantage.
He explained to the audience what is corporate entrepreneurship, a term used to describe entrepreneurial behaviour inside established organisations, which will enhance a company’s ability to acquire innovative skills and capabilities and creating new business units through product and process innovations and market developments. Professor Lindsay ended his presentation with a great advice that resonated with me deeply – “Managers must become more like entrepreneurs … and create an entrepreneurial culture where employees feel empowered to be creative and innovate.” Indeed, we have been trying to advocate this attitude within our company for the past year.
The ceremony came to and end with the announcement of the winners for the first ever Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Singapore 2009. Little Chocolatier represented by students from Singapore Polytechnic got the first place with a coherent and compelling business plan to bring chocolate making lessons to the young. Second place went to Coordinates from Singapore Polytechnic and third place was given to Antique Trove from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
All in all, every finalists came away as a winner looking at the journey they went through. It is definitely encouraging to see students filled with idealism trying to prove their worth to the world. In fact, for that night, I could already spot a few uncut gems awaiting for their opportunities.
To see more of the night’s photos, check out this link.