Aspiring entrepreneurs who are currently students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) can now apply to a “bond-free scholarship” that will support them in their entrepreneurial ventures.
This initiative is made possible by a gift from Dr Stephen Riady, Executive Chairman of OUE Limited and renowned philanthropist.
The scholarship offers mentorship and guidance from NUS Enterprise, and scholars will be able to participate in the NUS Overseas Colleges Programme where they will study in partner universities and intern in startups in “entrepreneurial hotspots”.
Under this scholarship, which is open to freshmen from all disciplines, scholars’ tuition fees and four years of living allowances at NUS will be covered.
Graduates who want to start a new business can apply for seed funding of up to S$50,000.
On top of having good grades and displaying leadership qualities, students need to demonstrate their interest in starting up a company to secure this scholarship.
NUS expects about 50 startups to be created by these scholars in 10 years.
“Entrepreneurs are drivers of innovation, and they will play an increasingly significant role in Singapore’s economic progress, especially in the digital age,” Dr Riady said.
“[…] It is my hope that this new scholarship could cultivate the next wave of entrepreneurs who can help Singapore to stay ahead amid challenging times.
NUS President Tan Eng Chye added, “We are heartened that he shares our vision to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among our undergraduates.”
“The Stephen Riady Young Entrepreneur Scholarship encourages our bright students to think big and pursue their entrepreneurship ambitions, and it also resonates with our national efforts to grow the next generation of local champions.”
Ending the media statement, Prof. Tan hopes that more donors will “come forward to support [them] in this meaningful cause” to nurture entrepreneurial talent for Singapore.
Six first-year students received the inaugural awards of the new scholarship in August 2018, the start of the academic year.
Kee Qian Ling, an NUS Faculty of Engineering undergraduate is one of the recipients of the Stephen Riady Young Entrepreneur Scholarship.
She co-designed a mobile application that helps users stop snoozing by forcing them to scan the barcode of household items, like toothpaste tubes or cereal boxes to turn off the alarm when she was in secondary school.
The app, known as Barcode Alarm, won the MIT App Inventor Most Innovative App of the Month Award in January 2016.
Another idea she pitched as part of a competition, called NeedQMeh, is an app that allows diners to queue for seats at restaurants through the app instead of having to physically queue there.
She also conceptualised an award-winning computer software programme called Virtual Ready for another competition; it trains healthcare workers to handle emergency situations through virtual reality simulations.
“I am delighted to receive the Stephen Riady Young Entrepreneur Scholarship, and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the NUS Overseas Colleges Programme,” Qian Ling said.
“The mentorship and guidance that will be offered by NUS Enterprise will be invaluable to my journey and growth as a young entrepreneur.”
Another recipient, Lynette Lau Ka Yee, a Business Administration student at NUS Business School, was described to have “caught the entrepreneurial bug when she was young” as she sold snacks her mother bought overseas to her primary school classmates.
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate was Vice President of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club and was involved in many entrepreneurship-related activities and even co-founded a small events planning business that operated for 10 months.
Now, she runs PICXELS, a startup that provides instant photography services at corporate events.
Lynette shared, “Entrepreneurship is very exciting because I could create something from scratch. My current start-up has its limitations and I hope to start a scalable business in the future.”
“If I can successfully secure seed funding under the scholarship, I could potentially turn this dream into a reality.”
Featured Image Credit: National University of Singapore