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A Transformative Vision that Entrepreneurship Knows No Age Boundaries

Entrepreneurship Immersion Programme Demo Day

In a world captivated by youth and innovation, age is often perceived as an obstacle to entrepreneurial pursuits. While the entrepreneurial arena may have traditionally been associated with youthful vigour, the wealth of life experiences, wisdom and untapped potential uniquely positions older individuals to be the most suitable to embark on a journey of starting their own businesses.

At the heart of this transformative vision that entrepreneurship knows no age boundaries, lies the Entrepreneurship Immersion Programme (EIP), an initiative launched by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) Office of Entrepreneurship.

In the first edition of the EIP, 25 young seniors, seniors, and non-profit organisation (NPO) representatives embarked on a five-day journey where they experienced what it is like to be an entrepreneur through iterations of experimentation and validation.

Participants engaging in discussions on Lean Startup tools – Javelin Board and Value Proposition Canvas

Participants were selected based on their commitment to the entrepreneurial journey and their ability to make meaningful contributions to the community. EIP brings a wealth of diverse perspectives and life experiences, elevating the educational experience and sparking entrepreneurial enthusiasm within the group.

As the oldest participant, William Chua, 71, shares, “I wholeheartedly recommend this entrepreneurship programme to anyone who is serious about starting or growing a business. I am confident that by joining this programme, you will gain the skills, confidence, and support network needed to thrive as an entrepreneur.”

Janice Hong presenting her team’s idea, ComHeart

At the end of the five-day programme, participants pitched to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and startup ecosystem enablers. This event, known as the Demo Day, marked the culmination of their entrepreneurial journey.

Team Little English Marvels (Jerome Song (first from left), Ivan Tan (second from left), Eugenie Tan (fourth from left), Michael Chan (second from right), Anthony Sam Walker (first from right) with programme mentors

Clinching the third spot is team Little English Marvels - a social enterprise that aims to improve English literacy for children aged 5-12 from low-income families through a values-based focused education.

Team Green Community (Michael Ng (second from left), Ben Xiao (fourth from left), Alicia Yeo (fifth from left), Betty Teo (sixth from left)) with demo day judges

In second place is team Green Community – a startup that provides kits to help households grow their own crops and, in the process, build community.  

Team Virtually Silver (Phyllis Dubs (first from right), Jerome Yuen (second from right), Ganda Kusama (first from left), Hannah Cho (second from left), Sally chew, (third from left)) with programme instructors

Last but not least, the winner of our first edition of EIP Demo Day 2023 is team Virtually Silver - a pioneering charity dedicated to combating social isolation among seniors using cutting-edge technology. Their mission is to provide the elderly with authentic experiences that foster connections, learning, and well-being.

Phyllis shares, “This week-long course was perfect for me, a stay-at-home-mum who does not want to return to the job I left more than 20 years ago, as it introduced another way for me to re-enter the marketplace.”

Leading the programme instruction with unwavering dedication and expertise are David Ward, the founder of The Greypreneur, dedicated to supporting older entrepreneurs, and Patrick Ng, known for his expertise in guiding successful deep-tech ventures and mentoring students in their business endeavours. The programme also extends its heartfelt thanks to the Mrs Lee Choon Guan Enterprising Spirit Fund, whose instrumental support has played a vital role in advancing this initiative.

Moving forward, participants will have the opportunity to join the Venture Builder Programme, which offers three distinct tracks - Impact, Silver, and NPOs.

The Silver and NPOs Venture Builder is an intensive eight-week programme designed for Singaporeans aged 50 and above who aspire to propel their startup ventures and for NPOs seeking comprehensive support, guidance, and mentorship to amplify their impact and long-term sustainability.

Participants in the Silver track will have the unique opportunity to delve into Artificial Intelligence integration and application, under the expert mentorship of industry experts. Through active engagement in lifelong learning initiatives, the Silver Venture Builder Programme aims to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit, nurture creativity, and drive innovation among this demographic.

For NPOs, upon programme completion, participants will be eligible to apply for the Project Kickstart Fund worth $5,000. By fostering collaboration, encouraging innovation, and promoting strategic thinking, this programme empowers NPOs to address pressing societal challenges more effectively and make a lasting impact on their communities.

The tracks are scheduled to run from February 19 to April 12, 2024, so sign up now to embark on your entrepreneurial journey towards success!

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