24 Jan 2017
The Atrium at SIM HQ was a hive of buzz at the first pop-up event by Platform E – SIM’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Titled ‘Discover the Entrepreneur in You’, the half-day event attracted a diverse audience, ranging from seasoned entrepreneurs, business owners looking for extra help to take their businesses further to budding entrepreneurs of all ages wanting to find out if they have what it takes to start their own venture.
A full house: Platform E’s first pop-up event saw an encouraging turnout.
Alan Wong, the CEO of Platform E, who himself has an illustrious entrepreneurial background, started off by sharing his passion for entrepreneurship and took participants through his journey prior to joining Platform E.
Start with an idea, graduate with a business: Alan explaining how the one-stop Platform E develops both the entrepreneur and the idea.
Alan’s introduction dovetailed with a segment by Dr Virginia Cha, the Professor-in-Residence for Platform E, who took participants through the centre’s two programme offerings.
Dr Cha talking about the centre’s two programmes, the 12-month IntensE track and the 4-month IncubatE track.
Panel engages with robust, unfettered discussion
One of the event’s highlights was the interactive panel session, moderated by Kim Faulkner, CEO of branding consultancy Activiste.
Besides Alan and Virginia, the panel was boosted by Nicholas Han, co-founder of homegrown bespoke watchmaker Schaffen Watches, Chak Kong Soon, Managing Partner of Stream Global Private Limited, a local venture catalyst and Looi Qin En, Chief Operating Officer of online career discovery and development platform Glints.
A question from the floor about how Platform E can support the development of social enterprises, Qin En gave his unvarnished opinion: don’t put the horse before the cart.
In other words, the priority for any start-up should be its commercial viability. Only then does it make sense to think about how the business can maximise its social impact.
The panel session, from left: Alan, Kong Soon, Qin En, Kim, Nicholas and Virginia.
$1.3million in five minutes
The event also included a ‘speed pitch’ event where participants had the opportunity to ‘invest’ $100,000 in one of six local start-ups present on the day. Each start-up was given just five minutes to ‘pitch’ their idea in order to gain votes from the crowd. The winning start-up stood to receive a prize of one month of co-working space at Platform E’s campus at Management House.
In a nod to the times, technology firm AiChat, with its chatbot platform that allows businesses to deliver content, automate replies and engage customers via Facebook Messenger, emerged the winner.
Representatives from AiChat celebrate their win with Alan.
The day rounded off with a talk by Lau Tat Chuan from leadership development, coaching, mentoring and talent assessment consultancy firm, Distinctions Asia, who talked about how to screen entrepreneurs using the ‘Big Five entrepreneurship profile’ method.
A networking lunch followed, during which participants mingled with Platform E learning coaches, mentors and local start-ups present over coffee and hearty Italian fare provided by Platform E’s F&B partners, The Bread Table, Medano Coffee and local pizzeria Al Borgo.