On 11 November 2021, we saw a record-breaking number of over 1,000 attendees tuning in virtually to witness the Grand Finale of NYEC 2021! At NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (NYEC), Secondary 3 students were thrust into the limelight where they showcased a culmination of their hard work during the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme. Rewatch the livestream here!

As part of the NFTE programme, students from underserved communities amassed business skills as they spent a year immersed in the entrepreneurship world. During the process, they grew in confidence and cultivated soft skills including problem-solving, resilience, communication, and more! This valuable experience equips young people with an entrepreneurial mindset, unlocking within them the potential to transform their lives and the communities they live in.

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3 days leading up to the NYEC Grand Finals , a total of 45 students from 13 secondary schools gathered in a 3-day intensive bootcamp known as the NYEC Level Up. Surrounded by a strong support network consisting of their peers, trainers, mentors, teachers and more, students were transported to a whole new world buzzing with excitement, novelty, and hope.

During the bootcamp, students worked tirelessly alongside business mentors to refine their business plans, pitches, and built prototypes for the final presentation. Selected students from participating secondary schools across Singapore then pitched their business ideas to our panel of esteemed judges from the corporate and social enterprise world during the Quarter and Semi Finals. From there, 6 Grand Finalists were chosen, and they pitched their business ideas at the Grand Finale to determine this year’s Global Young Entrepreneur (GYE).

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For the first time in NYEC’s history, our corporate partners were involved in overseeing the participants’ experience, training and preparation leading up to the finals. A digital business visit was organized by Playtopia, an indoor playground that is uniquely located in a library; prototype masters from – Bryan Hoy, Gregory Walters and Andee Chua, assisted the students with building their business prototypes; Corporate volunteer, Jo Olivia also came down to show her support by hosting a motivational session, in hopes to encourage and inspire young people to grab onto the opportunities that are presented to them.

Leading up to the final round, this year’s NFTE saw a rise in aspiring social entrepreneurs with the youths’ business ideas being more socially conscious than before. Pitches during the Quarter and Semi-finals included solutions that directly addressed current social issues such as: the invention of a banana toothbrush as an eco-friendly plastic toothbrush alternative; a plastic-eating robot to protect the environment and wildlife; and founding a charity that redistributes unwanted but useful items to those in need. Click here to find out more about the innovative business ideas pitched!

The participants were graded by a comprehensive rubric that considers different aspects of their pitch. This year, the esteemed judges present at the Grand Finale are Winnie Chan, CEO & Founder of Bynd Artisan; Raye Padit, CEO & Founder of The Fashion Pulpit; and Veronika Kuznetsova, Director of Innovation & Strategy at UBS. Judges were looking for innovative ideas with a clear and unique value proposition, business models that thoughtfully integrates social responsibility in its purpose, and an excellent revenue model that is suitable for the business idea pitched.

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After battling it out, a winner emerged! The Global Young Entrepreneur (GYE) who will represent Singapore in the World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2022 is none other than Cheng Kei Win from Yuhua Secondary School. He dreams of setting up a Kungfu Cafe that forms a shared space for culture, food and martial arts to thrive in. As the name would suggest, this cafe integrates Kei Win’s passion for martial arts (or ‘Kungfu’ in Chinese), and its unique heritage through food, with hopes of incorporating martial arts into everyday life.

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“NFTE helped me to grow to be more experienced in presenting, and levelling up my confidence in public speaking. To me confidence is an armour with a shield. I learned to have the right attitude optimism, hence stronger in my character. I am indeed blessed to have so many professionals guiding me and advising me along my journey. NFTE has done an excellent job in moulding me to a stronger and more resilient person. For this, I am eternally grateful.” – Cheng Kei Win, GYE 2021

Of course, success would not be possible without the contribution and support of our committed NFTE teachers! They work tirelessly at the forefront and take on the role above and beyond their teaching duties, consistently investing their time and resources into preparing, and delivering the NFTE curriculum to impact our students.

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This year, we would like to congratulate Mr. Muhammad Ammar from Edgefield Secondary School for being awarded the Global Enterprising Educator (GEE) award due to his commitment to inspire and educate others. Mr. Ammar is recognised as an exemplary NFTE teacher who has taught the material well, coached the students effectively and did more than what was expected to ensure the success of the programme.

Here is how being a NFTE teacher has impacted him: “Being a NFTE teacher for 4 years has really given me a great amount of wonderful experiences. I dare say that for some of the students, NFTE is the pivotal moment for them. Over the years, I’ve been blessed with beautiful memories of students’ growth and development. I’ve seen a quiet student presenting with humour and gusto, a shy student stepping out of her cocoon to interact with peers and volunteers and many more. NFTE has become a constant pool of beautiful memories for education, development and growth beyond academia and curriculum. I am happy that I’m involved with students’ growth beyond the textbooks and classroom. I highly encourage fellow educators out there to provide the opportunity to students to experience the NFTE journey and the wonderful growth process along with it. For it is only up to us educators to steer the development of students via such opportunities which may have eluded them prior to NFTE.” – Mr. Muhammad Ammar, GEE 2021

We would like to conclude this feature by expressing our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the strong support of our teachers, volunteers, corporate partners, sponsors, parents and everyone who made NYEC 2021 possible. We’re looking forward to impacting more lives together through the NFTE programme in 2022!