Calvin Yang Sep 7, 2016.
Part of $8.7m donation from Ngee Ann Kongsi will help fund stints at global enterprise hubs
More students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) will be able to pursue their dreams of starting their own businesses by going on stints with start-ups at global enterprise hubs such as Silicon Valley.
Yesterday, the polytechnic received a cheque donation of $8.71 million from Teochew philanthropic organisation Ngee Ann Kongsi.
Part of the money will go to schemes like the Global Entrepreneurship Internship Programme (GEIP), a new initiative which exposes students to life at the world’s leading innovation hubs.
A survey by the polytechnic last year found that about one in five of its students is keen on becoming an entrepreneur.
The six-month GEIP was piloted in March this year. Students were attached to start-ups in Silicon Valley, allowing them to put their learning into practice and build networks.
More than 30 students were nominated to go on the programme earlier this year, but only 10 were picked after a stringent process involving four rounds of interviews by the polytechnic and the start-ups. Most of the 10 have started or indicated plans to start an enterprise.
Final-year business information technology student Daphne Goh, 19, was among those who made the cut. She has since completed an internship with a social media marketing firm. Her tasks included customer relations and conducting business analysis.
What struck her most about Silicon Valley was that no idea is considered “stupid”. She said a takeaway for her is learning “to be courageous enough to take risks and pursue things I am passionate about”.
“Working at a start-up allows me to understand how a company runs and see problems it faces on a daily basis,” she said. “This is important for students who are keen to start their own businesses in future.”
Besides Silicon Valley, the GEIP will be rolled out from this month in Jakarta and Shanghai – two other places which have been buzzing with entrepreneurial activity.
Final-year student Eugene Chua, 19, who is pursuing an international business diploma, is one of a handful of students going to Jakarta.
“I am interested in the idea of start-ups and would like to understand how they are run,” he said.
The polytechnic said there are plans for the GEIP to be available in 10 cities in three years’ time.
Mr Tang Kin Fei, chairman of the NP Council, said the Kongsi’s contributions have benefited more than 4,000 students yearly through scholarships, bursaries and grants. They have also helped the polytechnic start various local and overseas student development programmes.
He said: “We hope that NP will not only be a place to train and equip future employees to support our economy, but also a place to groom employers of the future.”