One of the potential scenarios charted in Driving Forces Card 20351 was how values, aspirations, and experiences of Singaporeans may become more divergent due to external influences, socio-economic stratification, and inter-generational differences. It may seem like a farfetched future for our immediate realm, but we can see signs of disparate views sometimes created in education ecosystems alongside the academic streaming. We need to look into how we can bridge the gap for these youths to have equal opportunities to access resources that can help them create a better future for themselves.
One of the ways we do that is through corporate partnerships in our entrepreneurship programme, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). With the past five years of iterating and improving the NFTE model, we have seen how our students are being equipped with new mindsets and skillsets and are empowered to work towards changing their current predicaments.
Citi Singapore is one of our newest partners to join the Halogen Foundation community. Citi volunteers were involved as business mentors to the students in school, guiding them through various components such as market research, understanding profit and loss, and presentation coaching. Citi Singapore also hosted students at their Capital Square and Asia Square offices, giving students exposure to the functions of a bank as well as educating them through a financial literacy game. These creative methods facilitated student’s learning and kept them engaged. At the end of the 2018, we saw one of the students from Holy Innocents’ High School, the adopted school of Citi Singapore, make it to the Grand Finals of our NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (NYEC), a culmination of the 60-hour programme. With the help of his business mentors from Citi Singapore, Clement was able to refine his action-packed idea of creating a Lego-Nerf gun that can shoot foam darts at high velocity.
Halogen Foundation’s programme made me realise that starting a business is not easy. Getting investors to accept or invest in my business is even more challenging. I need to be confident of my business plan and pitch it well. Even though there was a technical fault during my presentation, I reminded myself to pull through because I have put in a lot of effort and I wanted people to know about my business idea. During this journey,
I learned the importance of being well prepared instead of procrastinating. In the past, I hated studying for tests and doing my assignments, but now I changed myself for the better as it is only when I am prepared that I will get good results and improve.
CLEMENT CHRISEN WONG
Holy Innocents’ High School
2018 NFTE Graduate
This is an example of the collective power we have when we act upon and sow what we can towards the future. These interactions, though small, make a difference in the lives of our youth and its impact ripples into their communities whether at home or in school.
More than just the content on the business skills and planning, I believe that the sessions helped students expand their horizons through the interaction with our corporate volunteers. With guidance from Citi volunteers, these youth were exposed to complexities of the world around them, which helped them design their business plans better. In addition, the sessions also helped students in the area of communication, allowing them to hone their presentation skills as they pitch their business plans to the volunteers and panel of judges.
Technology Programme Application Development
It is only through the support and funding from partners that we are able to ensure that NFTE is accessible and an effective support to the students in need. This 2019, as we embark on our partnership as a Citi Foundation Grant Partner, we are excited for more opportunities that will open up for our youth.