Recently I was reading an article from a section of the Business Times, Views From The Top where they gathered a few CEOs to talk about how Singapore could create more entrepreneurs, below are the excerpt of what their responses are:
“I feel that what is needed to make entrepreneurs is to make opportunities for youths to immerse themselves in business or create a mentor system for budding entrepreneurs.”
Tan Ser Giam
Chairman , Eastern Navigation Pte Ltd
“Every society needs entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is the propulsion mechanism of economic growth. Innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. It was the entrepreneurial spirit of Thomas Edison, which brought his innovations to the world and created today’s General Electric.
Actually, entrepreneurship is a mindset, which can be inculcated and nurtured. Entrepreneurship can be encouraged at three levels: governments, society, and individual.”
Chairman & Managing Director, eSys Technologies, Singapore
“A conducive environment for risk-taking and entrepreneurship must be in place first before entrepreneurs can be created.
Singaporeans are too used to taking the ‘safety first’ route. They worry about the risk of failure and the social stigma of bankruptcy. Most importantly, society’s mindset has to change to a ‘noting ventured, nothing gained’ mentality.
And what better way to encourage entrepreneurship than to start with our youths? Our secondary schools can include stories and case studies of entrepreneurs that the youths can relate to. For example, Bill Gates, in their curriculum. They can also do projects like running a small business, etc. Schools can also invite local entrepreneurs to hold talks and discussions with the students.”
CEO, HG Metal Manufacturing Ltd
“In Singapore, everybody aims for a formal education and looks forward to a good job in the civil service or in an MNC after graduating from university. From young, they do not strive to have their own business eventually. This is where we are quite different from Hong Kong and Taiwan. When I met the young engineers in the two places, I found that they are actually planning for their own business. The purpose of working for the company is basically to learn the skills of doing business and to build contacts.
Education is something we need to redesign the programme. The mindset of Singaporeans must change if we are to get out of our comfort zone.”
Executive Chairman, Dayen Enviromental Ltd
“Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. They sniff out opportunities and take risks to transform opportunities into successful business ventures. To me, entrepreneurs embody both inborn and nurtured qualities. Guts, determination, adaptability and having the entrepreneurial spirit are inborn qualities. Learning to take calculative risks, building teams and motivating fellow employees are nurtured qualities.”
Ong Yew Huat
Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young
“If we want to boost Singapore’s success in creating new entrepreneurs, it has to start with education. We need to educate our current and future workforce that becoming an entrepreneur is a real option – all it needs is an idea and determination to pursue the vision. The education system itself should de-emphasize conformity, encourage innovative problem-solving, and send a clear message that it is ok to fail, as long as you learn and adapt.
Fear of failure is the greatest enemy of entrepreneurship. We need to give our youth ample opportunities to fail without de-motivating them, and this needs to become an integral part of the learning process to encourage entrepreneurs for the future.”
David J Nishball
Senior Vice-President, Asia Pacific Orange Business Services
“Entrepreneurship is a mindset – arising from a burning desire to change, to make money, and to be yourself. The success of an entrepreneur depends mainly on his vision, his timing and his opportunities and connections. He must take risk, compete and triumph.
First-generation entrepreneurs emerge mainly because of circumstances, bad times, lack of job opportunities, and a starving family. They are propelled by some opportunities, some connections and some family savings. And they succeed through hard work. Classroom training and degrees are unlikely to create the similar circumstances.”
Tan Kok Leong,
Principal, TKL Consulting
After reading the article, I felt that what we are doing is more than just building a better business person, its building a better person.