Singapore’s ACE starts USD12.3M entrepreneurship education program for schools
November 9, 2012 by Terence LEE
ACE, a private-public organization promoting entrepreneurship in Singapore, has unveiled recommendations for a structured entrepreneurial education program in schools. It will be implemented in secondary schools, junior colleges, polytechnics, and Institute of Technical Education (ITEs) colleges.
Broadly speaking, the new program, which will cost the government SGD15M (USD12.3M), combines theory with mentorship and hands-on experience. Internships will be a big part of it too.
The program will be implemented within 6 to 9 months’ time in nine secondary schools. These institutions were picked because they were either a part of YES! Schools, or already have entrepreneurial programs in place. The program will then be extended to junior colleges, polytechnics and ITEs later on.
The new set of initiatives was hammered out by a task force, consisting of entrepreneurs, educators, and civil servants from the Ministry of Education (MOE). It addresses the negative feedback about existing entrepreneurial programs. The new recommendations will replace YES! Schools, an existing government initiative which struggled with limited industry exposure and inconsistencies in implementation.
Existing entrepreneurship programs in schools were also found to be too ad-hoc, receiving little recognition and interest from students.
Teo Ser Luck, Minister-of-State for Trade and Industry and also the minister in charge of entrepreneurship, unveiled these recommendations today after an ACE event in Singapore geared towards students, who set up booths in a shopping mall to pitch their inventions to the public.
“We want to inculcate the value of taking risk, the value of trying something new and believing in your passion, and also at the same time understand about embracing failure,” said Minister Teo at the press conference.
Secondary schools and junior colleges
|Broadrick Secondary School|
|Hwa Chong Institution|
|Northbrooks Secondary School|
|Outram Secondary School|
|School of Science and Technology|
|Singapore Chinese Girl’s School|
|Woodgrove Secondary School|
|Yuying Secondary School|
|Zhonghua Secondary School|
Consisting of students 12 to 18 years old, this segment of the program will be carried out in entrepreneurship clubs which students can opt into. It will be run as Co-Curricular Activities, and will involve a structured 3-year curriculum consisting of learning modules, projects, workshops, competitions, internships, and company visits.
Every school involved will come under an ‘Entrepreneur-Adopt-a-School’ initiative, which attaches any number of entrepreneurs to an educational institution. Home-grown enterprises that have already come on board include interactive digital publisher Koobits, F&B brands Ya Kun International, Soyato, and Sakae Holdings, interior design firm Goodrich Global, and board game publisher Red Tin Bot.
The companies involved are a mix of growth companies and startups, although it is more likely that established firms will participate since younger companies are more concerned about survival and getting a steady stream of revenue.
Each school involved will be given a SGD20k (USD16.3k) grant a year to carry out their activities. Schools will have to match 10% of the grant. Overall, ACE aims to fund 30 schools with a budget of SGD2M over 3 years.
Polytechnics and ITEs
The bulk of the funding for ACE’s new program will go to this group. Students will be given internship opportunities, where they can gain insights into real-world business issues and work closely with senior management or even shadow the CEO.
Participants can also apply for a small project fund to test and validate their business ideas. Each person can receive up to SGD10k, but they’ll have to match 15% of the grant. ACE aims to help 600 student projects in 3 years.
Beyond money, the organization plans to have startup launchpads, which will launch in mid-2013, where students can learn the basics of selling a business proposition to investors. It also wants to set up incubators in five polytechnics and three ITEs for students and alumni to access work space, mentorship, events, and workshops.
The initiatives involve close coordination between ACE and MOE, where entrepreneurs are working with educators to come up with a set of guidelines for curriculum and internships. Schools though will handle much of the implementation.
To ensure that both parties understand each other, ACE will organize an Educators Network to give educators and entrepreneurs a chance to meet and share about their experiences.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE