I remember watching a colleague explain what it is we do at Reactor. “We are in the business of providing entrepreneurship education to youths,” she said. She then got the reply: “what does that mean anyway? Entrepreneurship. That’s such a buzzword”.
It’s true, though. It is a buzzword. The dictionary defines it as the act of setting up a business, taking on financial risks in hopes of making a profit.
While that is the bulk of it, the definition is lacking. Entrepreneurship is more than that. It is the capability to not only start companies but to think creatively and ambitiously. Entrepreneurs set out to solve a problem in a way that’s never been done before.
That’s exactly what EntreCamp was designed for.
The March 2017 run of EntreCamp was graciously hosted by Red Dot Ventures in their space over at Block 79, where it is playfully dubbed the Silicon Valley of Singapore. This gave the participants maximum exposure to the Singaporean startup community, as we worked, ate, and played alongside many other entrepreneurs.
Day 1: Learning Start-Up Methodology & Selecting a Significant Problem to Solve
To begin, participants were introduced to the Lean Methodology, which is the undergirding entrepreneurship principle for everything done during the camp.
After that, they were asked to identify an issue that they were passionate about, based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This runs in alignment with a belief that Reactor holds — the world’s biggest problem is that there aren’t enough young people solving the world’s biggest problems.
Thus, that was how the groups were formed, to ensure that every participant was working on an issue that they believed in.
Once the new group members got acquainted with one another, they were invited to join EntreCamp on Slack. This facilitated communication with each other during the camp, be it business or non-business hours. In fact, Reactor still uses this channel to communicate with the participants and answer any questions they may have regarding entrepreneurship and setting up their own business.
One of the more important attributes of an entrepreneur is being able to think outside the box, or to think divergently. To teach the participants how to do this, we brought the learning out of the classroom by showing them a video of how a man traded a red paper clip for a house (in 14 trades).
The participants were then told to go forth and barter, armed with a paper clip and their imaginations. Within 45 minutes, the winner came back with a bowl of delicious noodles from the Dancing Crab Shack at Timbre+ downstairs.
Day 1 ended with the participants learning to validate their ideas in a structured and scientific manner by using the Startup Validation Board (SVB).
Day 2: Understanding the Customer, Sizing the Market & Prototyping
The first topic of Day 2 was Customer Discovery. This was taught through a blood-pumping competition to see who could earn the most money in a given amount of time by making and selling little boxes. The caveat here is that there were 2 different customers with differing expectations and purchasing power. Talk about an energising start!
The next lesson was Market Sizing. This is where participants got down to the facts and figures to evaluate the potential of their startup.
Then came prototyping, where their ideas were brought to life. The participants recognised the formidability of technology in the 21st Century and leveraged it in their prototyping process. This meant that apps, websites, and 3D virtual models were created right there in the classroom.
Day 2 ended strong with participants’ motivation and spirits running high since they finally had a tangible product that could be interacted with.
Day 3: Mapping out Core Business Components & Competitive Pitching
The big day is finally here! Judges will be acting as investors to assess the participants’ projects so far. As you can see from the photo above, they are taking that very seriously. The pressure is definitely on.
The groups spent their last few hours perfecting their presentation slides and crafting a compelling competitive pitch. The room was abuzz with excited chatter.
With the arrival of the judges, the presentations began. And wow, is competitive pitching the right name for it.
All the participants brought their A game and seriously impressed everyone in the room. In just 3 short days, the groups managed to come up with innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
The gracious judges, Nikko, Sharon, and Raymond offered valuable insight and gave extremely constructive feedback to all of the groups. Most importantly, they were kind and encouraging, which left the participants with a better understanding of the different industries, as well as an unshakeable entrepreneurial spirit.
Reactor would like to thank the judges, Red Dot Ventures, and especially the participants for taking part in the first EntreCamp of 2017.
EntreCamp Mar’17 concluded on a note as high as our morale.
We hope to see you all at Reactor Ventures!
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