The past 3 days of EntreCamp was a blast! We are immensely thankful for the participants who joined us, the business mentors from various industries, the parents who took time off to watch their children pitch, and of course, the people at IDEAS Hub, UWC Dover who kindly allowed us to hog the space for 3 full days :)
IDEAS Hub is a unique space at UWCSEA Dover that aims to provide a platform for the community explore, innovate, collaborate, and create sustainable solutions to shape a better world. The hub provides a wide variety of tools from 3D Printers, sewing machines, Arduino kits, etc. It is also one of the few spaces that has 2 Green Screen Rooms for film making in Singapore.
If you're there, do keep a lookout for the Phoenix, the school's animal mascot! Of course a team photo with Melanie with the Phoenix is in order.
Day 1: Learning Start-Up Methodology & Selecting a Significant Problem to Solve
The first day saw us all getting to know each other, and we are certain many friendships were forged since! We started the day with some foundation work through learning about the Lean Methodology, which undergirds the upcoming work for the camp.
We have a key belief that there aren't enough young people solving the world's biggest problems. Through our interaction with our students, we hope to nurture in them a sensitivity to their surroundings. There's a need to learn how to identify problems - because it eventually translates into opportunities for innovating solutions. The ideation process isn't the most straight forward, but when everyone nudges the boundary bit by bit, that adds up!
One of the most memorable parts of the camp was when everyone left the classroom, armed with a paper clip, in a competition to see who 'exchanges up' the most. Two girls came back with a huge box of bananas!
With everybody's spirits and morale high, we wrapped the day up with putting our ideas through the first round of feasibility test. The Start-Up Validation Board was a framework that helps put all their ideas into a structured and scientific manner.
Day 2: Understanding the Customer, Sizing the Market & Prototyping
After letting the ideas gestate for the night, we prepared more technical knowledge for our students on Day 2. From learning how to do marketing sizing, to speaking to actual people over the phone or face-to-face!
Once their ideas were slightly more solidified from speaking to customers, our students started to prototype what their solution looked like. Prototyping is a process of sketching mock ups, putting to paper what their idea looked like in their head.
To ensure everyone had creative space to make their ideas come alive, we first took a tour of IDEAS Hub's equipments. The work desks allow wood work, and of course safety goggles are provided too.
Groups that had tangible products will also start building actual items; those with digital solutions will work on mobile and web designs with software tools. We are pretty proud of how our prototyping table laid out!
Students have to hit the ground with their first versions of the prototype to acquire feedback from potential users and refine their ideas and product. This iteration process happens a few times until a viable product is created.
Day 3: Mapping out Core Business Components & Competitive Pitching
The last day is usually when everyone is most jittery - external guests, family and friends, and industry mentors will be dropping by to watch the final presentation. It's very encouraging when we see all our participants determined to make a great pitch out of their last day!
It was our privilege to have mentors from DBS Bank, Nanyang Polytechnic, and SMU Eagles Club to sit on our panel to assess the final presentations! We also had the pleasure of having parents sit in to watch their children present what they've been working hard on.
Presenting in front of a crowd is never easy, and takes plenty of practice! But we are incredibly proud of everyone for putting in their best shot :)
We had four groups presenting that day. After each presentation, our mentors give their thoughts and feedback on the feasibility of their solution, and how the groups could potentially improve it. Take a look at how intense the students were!
Even though getting grilled could be unnerving, the Reactor team takes it on ourselves to ensure that feedback is constructive, and every student has a safe environment to fail and learn. That said, we had incredibly supportive and kind mentors!
You can see everyone's heave of relief once presentations are over. Of course, we cannot skip presenting our tokens of appreciation to our mentors and participating students!
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