Singaporeans are known for many things, and among those that many would readily agree would be the fact that students here are quite competitive. Juggling assignments and projects alone can take a toll on a student here, however, imaging a student running a business at the same time – that would be a task that not everyone would be up to.
Most students would feel that the brunt of higher education would be too much to shoulder already, but these 9 Singaporeans somehow found extra pockets of time to manage their studies and work at the same time.
1. Luke Wu
Luke is currently pursuing his degree in NUS Law while running SPARK Asia, an app that allows you to print your photos and get them delivered to you for free.
Luke told Vulcan Post that “printing tens of thousands of free photos for SPARK users is extremely time-consuming – I sometimes forget I have school (sorry Mom). That said, seeing positive comments from the SPARK community on social media makes every every drop of blood, sweat and ink worthwhile.”
2. Jeremy Low
Jeremy runs AxtroSports, a distributor for wearable technologies and IOT products in Singapore. He is currently a Year 2 Business student in SMU, and he recently attended the CES conference in Vegas.
Jeremy shared that “running a business while studying is tough but extremely rewarding at the same time”.
“Having your own business is a huge respoonsibility and it does take discipline and time management in order to ensure that both studies and business are taken care off.”
3. Kenneth Lou
Kenneth is probably a familiar figure in Singapore’s tech startup scene, having previously founded Novelsys, which is a relatively successful kickstarter campaign. Novelsys is a startup focused on wireless charging solutions, and its flagship product Ampere, is a phone sleeve that lets you charge your phone wirelessly. A current Year 3 Business Admin major in NUS, Kenneth is currently working on his next startup Seedly.
“It has definitely been a tough journey trying to start a business, because on one end, you want to pour all your effort into building the startup, on the other, you have a strict commitment to finishing up your degree by all means. Balancing time within a startup itself is crazy enough, but with studies and 5 to 6 modules workload is immensely more challenging.”
4. Roslyn Yi Xin Teng and Robin Lim
Roslyn and Robin both founded Made Real, a healthy snackbox which you can subscribe every month. Roslyn is currently an undergraduate at Yale – NUS while Robin is pursuing her degree at SMU.
“I spent my first year in university beginning my ride on the rollercoaster that is founding a business. It really is just the beginning,” Roslyn told Vulcan Post.
5. Syakir Hashim
Shakir runs Skolafund, a scholarship crowdfunding platform that helps to match deserving undergraduates from less privileged backgrounds with various sources of funding. He is currently in his third year taking Global Studies in NUS.
“When I started off, I thought it would be detrimental to my studies. However, it made me more disciplined and careful with the way I spend my time.”
6. Looi Qin En
Qin En, who is currently on indefinite leave of absence from Stanford University, is running his startup Glints, a career discovery and development platform. Glints helps youths discover what they love to do in their careers and help them develop the necessary skills, through internships and graduate jobs.
“Starting a company while in school is no joke. It is not even another ‘CCA’ or internship. It is a lifestyle and that lifestyle involves giving up just about everything you typically enjoy in university — parties, social gatherings and even classes. If you aren’t ready to make the sacrifice, you probably won’t make it. I have seen countless people try but they aren’t willing to sacrifice and their businesses fold within the year. And it makes sense. If you aren’t willing to give your all and trust that what you do is important enough, why should customers and investors?”
7. Tan Jun Ming
Jun Ming runs Hyron Tech, a digital consultancy firm with clients such as Gongcha, Fresh Fruit Labs, MOE and many more. Outside of work, he is currently a year 4 Business student at the National University of Singapore.
When asked about balancing studies and his work, he has this to say: “Balancing studies and work may seem tricky, like balancing on a precarious rock one-legged, you might just slip off either side. However, I found it both exhilarating and, safe.”
“I believe starting up business as a student is a similar safe environment when we are encouraged to experiment and grow without fear of failure, we have little responsibilities tying us down, a great environment with amazing people around and most of all very little to lose as compared to once we start working, have a family. Even if business fails to take off, I will have gained invaluable experience, mentors, friends who are by far more important than the extra time and effort spent to balance work and studies.”
8. Jackson Kwa
A year 2 Information Systems Management undergraduate at SMU School of Information Systems, Jackson runs Tech Society, a company that provides education and workshops to students aged 10 – 18.
“I think it all boils down to priorities and expectations. If you want to build a proper company while studying, you can’t be expecting perfect grades at the end of the day. Most importantly, is that you absorbed and learnt something from your courses and applied it in your professional fields, be it in startup or future career.”
When asked how he manages his time, he shared, “I have packed my classes on two days and leaving the rest of the week to run my company and catching up on my schoolwork. It can be very tiring at times but I believe it will be worthwhile. Opportunity doesn’t wait for you to graduate, start now!”
9. David Chin Chan Kai
David, who’s currently in SMU first year taking up Business and Accountancy Double Degree Programme, is running CIO Academy Asia, a consultancy for CIOs and senior IT management executives.
When asked how it is like to balance between school and business, David said, “I wouldn’t say it is impossible, I have yet to discover how far I can push my limits. However, discipline is imperative. Balancing between obligations at school and fighting for the interests of the company at the same time can be very challenging, but finding common ground and folding opportunities between the two enables me to kill two birds with one stone and work more efficiently.”
There are, of course, more startup founders out there who are still pursuing their studies and this is a remarkable feat indeed. If you know anyone else who deserves to be recognised for their hard work, go on and tag them in the comments section of this article or on Facebook!