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Velocity entrepreneurial mission: Part 2 – Singapore

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Each year members of the Velocity student entrepreneurship programme organising committee have the opportunity to travel abroad on an exploration and discovery trip to an international business hub. The experience is funded by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Experiences are designed with the intention of building our international entrepreneurial ecosystem and providing reward and recognition to the volunteers who drive Velocity forward each year. Past trips have included visits to Silicon Valley and Europe.

In 2019 members of the Velocity team had the opportunity to go on a 10 day trip to South Korea and Singapore. The cohort consisted of Business and Arts student Nicholas Bing, Business and Science student Kaushal Patel and Engineering student Adedamola Wuraola.

During the Singapore leg of the journey, the Velocity students met two types of people – entrepreneurs and those who work entrepreneurially within a corporation. This included meeting with staff from Fonterra and Tim Norton, the founder of 90 Seconds, a New Zealand founded video production company that operates in 550 cities and now has its head office in Singapore.

Singapore’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
The students consistently heard that despite the challenges that Singapore presents, such as the high cost of living for foreigners, it is a compelling place to conduct business because of its central Asian location with access to markets including Indonesia, China and India. Singapore has a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and entrepreneurial infrastructure. A prime example is Block71, an entrepreneurship hub that houses 800 different start-ups and 45 Venture Capital firms (VCs), all in one building.

Dean Brettschneider was another entrepreneur the students encountered at an event run by the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce. Dean is recognised for his appearances in television shows such as the Great Kiwi Bake Off. He has a chain of artisan bread shops in Singapore, Baker & Cook, as well as pizzerias, a burger shop and cooking school. Dean shared insight into tactics such as reverse marketing and emphasised that in Singapore relationships come first, business afterwards.

The future of AI
While in Singapore, the students attended an AI Summit. The intense conference expanded the student’s awareness and knowledge of everything from cyber security to IoT and autonomous cars. The most surprising application shown was the use of AI and Big Data for China’s Social Credit System. In China many people have no documented identity or banking records, which makes it difficult for banks to ascertain a person’s trustworthiness for loans. The Social Credit System is where AI and cameras are used to track a person’s public behaviour, monitoring everything from jaywalking to gambling. The information is used to calculate a citizen’s social credit points, which then contributes to their access to loans. The system is intended to have widespread use in China from 2020.

Student highlights
Kaushal says “I have learnt a great deal from this trip. From the impact 5G and AI will have on our lives, to learning how business is run in two countries that are much bigger than New Zealand. This trip has shown me there are many industries that are massive, but we just don’t see them because we are a small country away from the rest of the world. For example, E-Sports is a big industry – much bigger than what I thought it was.  5G has already been rolled out in many different countries in the world, and it is only just coming to New Zealand in December 2019.”

Adedemola says “Rebecca Aiscess is one of the Kiwis abroad that we met who taught me something different – that entrepreneurship can take the form of franchise instead of innovation. She made us aware of a company that takes other people’s ideas to different countries and tailors them to fit the culture of the country. In other words, it’s ok if you don’t have an original idea as you can innovate by improving on someone else’s idea or by taking it to other countries. For example, Rebecca took the Escape Room concept to Singapore with a Virtual Reality Room – innovation and entrepreneurship in another dimension.”

She also says that the trip gave her a new perspective on her identity as a foreigner in New Zealand. “As an international student in New Zealand I was interested to meet the kiwis who are in Singapore as internationals. Seeing the amazing things they have achieved despite all the government restrictions that come with being a foreigner was really eye-opening for me. Now I am getting out of my comfort zone and not letting being a foreigner in New Zealand stop me from achieving my potential. I have in particular seen the advantages of this trip in relation to an interview I went for. Now I have an international story to tell, which was fascinating to my interviewers. They heard that I am studying, part of Velocity and still able to travel. I did well in the interview due to the fact that they were interested in the knowledge I got from my Singapore trip about the start-up culture there and the knowledge I gained about innovative ways of approaching business. I met with the CEO of the company for the last phase of the interview and got the internship role I wanted for this summer. I don’t know if that would have been possible without this trip.”

Nicholas adds “There are a lot of studies that say that Singapore is the best place to do business, and as soon as you touch down there you can see that. In terms of financial support, the help offered to start-ups and availability of VCs. Everything you could hope for as an entrepreneur is there.”

James Hutchinson
James Hutchinson

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Each year members of the Velocity student entrepreneurship programme organising committee have the opportunity to travel abroad on an exploration and discovery trip to an international business hub. The experience is funded by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Experiences are designed with the intention of building our international entrepreneurial ecosystem and providing reward and recognition to the volunteers who drive Velocity forward each year. Past trips have included visits to Silicon Valley and Europe.

In 2019 members of the Velocity team had the opportunity to go on a 10 day trip to South Korea and Singapore. The cohort consisted of Business and Arts student Nicholas Bing, Business and Science student Kaushal Patel and Engineering student Adedamola Wuraola.

During the Singapore leg of the journey, the Velocity students met two types of people – entrepreneurs and those who work entrepreneurially within a corporation. This included meeting with staff from Fonterra and Tim Norton, the founder of 90 Seconds, a New Zealand founded video production company that operates in 550 cities and now has its head office in Singapore.

Singapore’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
The students consistently heard that despite the challenges that Singapore presents, such as the high cost of living for foreigners, it is a compelling place to conduct business because of its central Asian location with access to markets including Indonesia, China and India. Singapore has a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and entrepreneurial infrastructure. A prime example is Block71, an entrepreneurship hub that houses 800 different start-ups and 45 Venture Capital firms (VCs), all in one building.

Dean Brettschneider was another entrepreneur the students encountered at an event run by the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce. Dean is recognised for his appearances in television shows such as the Great Kiwi Bake Off. He has a chain of artisan bread shops in Singapore, Baker & Cook, as well as pizzerias, a burger shop and cooking school. Dean shared insight into tactics such as reverse marketing and emphasised that in Singapore relationships come first, business afterwards.

The future of AI
While in Singapore, the students attended an AI Summit. The intense conference expanded the student’s awareness and knowledge of everything from cyber security to IoT and autonomous cars. The most surprising application shown was the use of AI and Big Data for China’s Social Credit System. In China many people have no documented identity or banking records, which makes it difficult for banks to ascertain a person’s trustworthiness for loans. The Social Credit System is where AI and cameras are used to track a person’s public behaviour, monitoring everything from jaywalking to gambling. The information is used to calculate a citizen’s social credit points, which then contributes to their access to loans. The system is intended to have widespread use in China from 2020.

Student highlights
Kaushal says “I have learnt a great deal from this trip. From the impact 5G and AI will have on our lives, to learning how business is run in two countries that are much bigger than New Zealand. This trip has shown me there are many industries that are massive, but we just don’t see them because we are a small country away from the rest of the world. For example, E-Sports is a big industry – much bigger than what I thought it was.  5G has already been rolled out in many different countries in the world, and it is only just coming to New Zealand in December 2019.”

Adedemola says “Rebecca Aiscess is one of the Kiwis abroad that we met who taught me something different – that entrepreneurship can take the form of franchise instead of innovation. She made us aware of a company that takes other people’s ideas to different countries and tailors them to fit the culture of the country. In other words, it’s ok if you don’t have an original idea as you can innovate by improving on someone else’s idea or by taking it to other countries. For example, Rebecca took the Escape Room concept to Singapore with a Virtual Reality Room – innovation and entrepreneurship in another dimension.”

She also says that the trip gave her a new perspective on her identity as a foreigner in New Zealand. “As an international student in New Zealand I was interested to meet the kiwis who are in Singapore as internationals. Seeing the amazing things they have achieved despite all the government restrictions that come with being a foreigner was really eye-opening for me. Now I am getting out of my comfort zone and not letting being a foreigner in New Zealand stop me from achieving my potential. I have in particular seen the advantages of this trip in relation to an interview I went for. Now I have an international story to tell, which was fascinating to my interviewers. They heard that I am studying, part of Velocity and still able to travel. I did well in the interview due to the fact that they were interested in the knowledge I got from my Singapore trip about the start-up culture there and the knowledge I gained about innovative ways of approaching business. I met with the CEO of the company for the last phase of the interview and got the internship role I wanted for this summer. I don’t know if that would have been possible without this trip.”

Nicholas adds “There are a lot of studies that say that Singapore is the best place to do business, and as soon as you touch down there you can see that. In terms of financial support, the help offered to start-ups and availability of VCs. Everything you could hope for as an entrepreneur is there.”


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