On 23 – 28 July 2018, a group of Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) full-time students participated in the inaugural Overseas Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, organised in collaboration with Shenzhen University (SZU). With this Bootcamp, the students can gain more knowledge in starting up in an overseas environment and share their ideas with like-minded individuals.
The six-day intensive Bootcamp provided a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to work together with international teams to test, validate and pitch their business proposals to Venture Capitalist (VCs). Workshops and study trips were also injected in the Bootcamp to supplement their learning experience in Shenzhen.
To get their business ideas flowing, the students learned about essential start-up topics such as creating customer personas, Lean Start-up Validation and more, from the workshops conducted by a distinguished panel of speakers, all with different and illustrious entrepreneurial backgrounds and careers.
The panel of speakers include Dr Terence Lam, Lecturer, Hong Kong University; Ellen Goel, Entrepreneurship Specialist SUSS; Michael Headrick, Product Manager, Pivotal Labs; Rickey Lin, Community Leader, Techstarts; Luo Dong Cheng, Chi Tu Capital, Founder; and Nancy Hong, Go Fun, Founder. Daniel Zeng and Zheng Xiu Rong, alumni from the Shenzhen University Entrepreneurship Campus were also invited as mentors to provide advice and guidance to the teams.
One of the workshops taught students how to use customer persona methods to validate their business ideas in order to find their customer-problem fit. Students took the opportunity to interact with two start-up-founders, Luo Dong Cheng and Nancy Hong, who shared their start-up experiences in China.
Exploring the metropolitan city of Shenzhen, the students visited the iconic Tencent buildings to network with expert advisors and learn from Shenzhen’s growing start-up ecosystem. They toured the old and new Tencent buildings to learn about the progress of Tencent and an industry sharing session on marketing strategies, market adoption and performance and growth of Tencent.
The students also made a study trip to “Galaxy Innovates the World”, an open platform set up by SUSS strategic partner, Galaxy Holdings Group, which centres around innovation and entrepreneurship and provide financing to start-ups such as office space, development equipment and incubator support facilities.
Saving the most exciting and anticipated event to the last day of the programme, the Bootcamp Demo Day saw five start-up teams, iFENG, Happy Block, CIGGI, Enpointe and AWESOME, pitching their ideas to a judging panel of VCs and Angel Investors, Sara Tao, Patrick Zhang and Teddy Tan. CIGGI emerged as the winning pitch team, followed by Happy Block and iFENG as runner-ups.
CIGGI's winning idea was formulating a one-stop solution for personal authentication, payment and data collection of cigarettes for both sellers and consumers. Their mission is to minimise the sale of cigarettes to underage smokers through tech-enabled verification and offer a trackable system for consumption of cigarettes. They plan to engage the government to magnify the potential social impact that their business can bring about, which greatly impressed the VCs.
Dr Yap, Director, Centre for Experiential Learning, College of Lifelong and Experiential Learning, SUSS, presented all the participants of the Bootcamp with a certification of completion to commend their efforts put in for this inaugural programme.
For SUSS students, this fulfils part of their overseas experience component and is also a 5-credit unit bearing course that counts towards their university education at SUSS.