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EntreCamp Dec 2017

From the perspective of an EntreCamp Graduate

I walked into Entrecamp with a simple goal in mind; learn how a business is started.

 

What I got out of these past three days of fun and hustle was in fact much, much more. Here’s the story.

 

From the very first moment of the camp, I was immediately struck by the positive energy bursting from the trainers and facilitators. They delivered their learning content with engaging humor and infectious energy, setting the tone of the camp in the nick of time. Well, looks like we were in for a fun ride.

Day 1 #BeBold

Paperclip flipping- an Entrecamp classic! Armed with a paperclip, we had to step out of comfort zones and approach strangers to trade it for something of higher value. This activity was all about divergent thinking and being relentlessly resourceful.

By the end of this activity, surely we need to highlight the jackpot winner,
A solid working HP printer.
What?!

The hustle then begins with our post-it-frenzy ideation process. This useful technique has the flexibility to capture both spontaneous ideas as well as organise them into coherent thoughts.

With the phrase ‘Yes, and..’ in mind, we went on to build on each other’s idea rather than turn them down. After all, entrepreneurship is all about embracing what’s out of the box. In the ideation stage, nothing is too impossible.

Next up, Elevator Pitching… but with a twist: speed dating style.
With a tight 30 seconds limit, this meant that our improvisation had to be succinct and persuasive (something I should definitely work on). As you can imagine, it was rather chaotic with everyone hyped up to impress the other, pitching our ideas could not be more intense yet exciting than this.

Day 2 #MoveFast

Two things stood out today Speed and Inspiration.

So firstly, speed.

I personally started out the day planning everything thoroughly and leisurely, but later learnt that that was not the way to go. Startups have to be efficient and adaptable in order to survive. So, I had to enter the speedy trial and error mode during Rapid Prototyping, where we had to bring our ideas to life (via minimum viable product). We thought that our palette would be full, but alas we were wrong.

There, in front of us, were Middle school UWCSEA students ready to present their amazing award winning projects that include an app that helps with alzheimer's disease and a smart mirror.

Which brings me to my next point: Inspiration.

These youths younger than me were filled with ideas, just like I was back in those days. The only difference being that they actualised these ideas into tangible products ready to make a positive impact to the world.

It was eye-opening, it was humbling. Being exposed to the active youth entrepreneurship scene in Singapore helped us learn about the various opportunities and resources available for an innovator, an inventor or an entrepreneur. Most importantly, it gave me the drive and hope to join this movement and create.


And so after their sharing, our coping mechanism for the existential crisis of “What am I doing with my life..” was to jump straight into the pool of prototyping resources at UWCSEA Ideas Hub. There were 3D printers, woodworking materials and tools and even a green screen room. Having never touched any of these cool stuff, it was a very exciting to say the least.

After a long day of sawing and hacking, we stood covered with sawdust, proud of our very minimalist prototypes:

Day 3 #BeAwesome

Day 3 - the last day. We’ve finally reached the climax of the camp, the competitive pitch and boy was I not prepared.

I had to pitch my team’s ideas to a large group of professionals and peers without rehearsing once or even having a proper script. This is as improv as it can get. T’was a stressful morning.

Time time time.

If we have none, we shall have to make the best out of our conditions. Hence at the end of the day, I have my own take for how to #BeAwesome. It’s not simply preparing for excellence, it’s also about achieving excellence under challenging circumstances.

I have never had to public speak so much content with such little time given to prepare. It was way out of my comfort zone, and I’m proud to say I took the challenge in stride and gave it my all. It felt pretty awesome.

During the pitch itself I also learnt a great deal from my peers who were confident and humorous in their delivery. The judges gave thorough and useful feedback to us all. And with that, Entrecamp Dec 2017 came to a wrap!

I will leave this camp with a wealth of thinking and innovative skills gained, I will remember the rich experiences that widened my perspectives of what’s possible. Most importantly, I have found a place of like-minded individuals.

Thank you Entrecamp, see you around!

Written by: Amy Zhu Hong Yue, an EntreCamp Dec '17 Graduate

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