From fretting over a toolkit to manage social enterprise projects to running an Accelerator workshop for serial entrepreneurs in the Tech and Media industries, the growth of the Enactus Singapore Business Tools team in the space of one year has been remarkable.
We follow Tam and Lay Boon’s story on how their humble objectives evolved into something surpassing their expectations.
Before the Accelerator Tool, there was the Project Management Process back in 2014.
It began as a humble Excel spreadsheet, consisting of a few columns: growth stages for social enterprises, the requisite steps at each stage, the key questions to be answered, and the matching tools to execute these steps.
At the same time, the team also conducted workshops for students, using the toolset that was developed by the Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) Alumni- Diana, Li Wen, Ming Zhou, Ming Hui and Daniel. The on-the-ground observations from the workshops became the foundation for the Business Tool team’s workshops, frames, and toolkits.
We knew we had to start somewhere and we definitely couldn’t wait till an innovative idea came to our mind to start getting our hands dirty. Innovation often starts from small acts of commitment to the short-term achievable goals.
Crisis creates opportunities
Our success was not void of failure. As a team, we reviewed the environment and our operations with fresh eyes each time we failed.
Enactus NTU was one of the most active teams among all the tertiary institutions. But its growth and success stagnated, no team had surpassed the impressive success of Gourmet Guru, a project to empower low-income housewives. It became clear to us that a Project Incubator was needed to get the team back on track.
A spark flew and our creative juices flowed. The Project Incubator was our opportunity to dream big and think far. While starting from scratch meant we had no processes in place, we had full ownership in envisioning what we wanted, something to truly call our own.
Our first sight of success came from two projects with immense potential emerging from the Incubator programme after three dedicated months of hard work. We became confident that we had the right formula to turnover even more impactful projects.
A name change was in order, to reflect the true nature of our programme, and our Accelerator was born. We are proudly running the Accelerator twice a year, one for polytechnic students, one for university students.
From Schools to the Real World
It is not something that we had envisaged at the start, but we are now in a position to impart our expertise to advise serial entrepreneurs and experienced working professionals in the Tech or Media industries.
Recently, we conducted a workshop for the participants of the SPH Plug and Play Accelerator, the first collaboration between Plug and Play, a business accelerator with global network of over 300 tech startups, Infocomm Investments (IIPL), and SPH Media Fund. The programme aims to nurture innovative tech startups to address challenges faced by the media industry.
While it seemed a daunting task (our workshops and programme had always been catered specifically to the students), it was also a chance to validate the relevance of our program to the start-up environment.
The workshop exceeded our expectations. Our workshop participants found it fun, interactive and useful. They lamented that there wasn’t enough time!
Faith in Action
“Crisis moments create opportunity. Problems and crises ignite our greatest creativity and thought leadership as it forces us to focus on things outside the norm.”- Sam Cawthorn
We love this quote, not just because it is the core of the Product Development process in the Business Tool team, but it is also the essence of what we do as the Fast Forward team.
We are always ready to act, ready to embrace the challenges ahead of us, ready to be called into the battlefield and ready to work hard for things we believe in. This attitude has paved the way for many present products, and it has planted even greater dreams and visions in every Business Tool team member.
Call us a weird tribe, call us the outliers. But we found life in places where many did not believe that could possibly exist. We still continue to stretch our abilities, learn, relearn, and redefine our world of possibilities as a team.
Tam graduated from NTU with a degree in Marketing and works for a VC firm. She loves learning and is an idealist at heart, and her pro bono work with Enactus gives her fulfillment.
Lay Boon was a public servant helping Singapore companies to expand overseas. Now, she’s a management consultant focusing on corporate/growth strategies of large companies. Enactus was a meaningful way for her to apply what she had learnt from her jobs to educate the students, enabling them to find sustainable solutions for beneficiaries.