The end of the year brings its sense of relief, a short window during which we may sit and rest and think about the year that just happened. It is a relief because we all have the same 365 days in a year, the same 24 hours a day with which to account for a year well-spent by our own standards, and this window is a chance to say, yes, I have done enough, or no, I have not done enough, but these couple of weeks will matter not. I start again next year.
Enactus SG has crossed an eventful 2015 — a good accounting indeed. We continued our business of inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. Our National Champion, Nanyang Technological University, achieved third position in the Opening Round of the 2015 World Cup held in South Africa with their project Glow in the Dark. The number of our teams and projects has doubled, with two runs of our Accelerator workshops for both Polys and Unis. We are very happy to see our school clubs and EXCOs grow from strength to strength, and also happy that the good work our students have done is being publicised and recognised.
Our accomplishments this year would not have been possible without the high-octane energy and passion of our volunteers. The team has grown in size and I am happy that we have so many new fellow travellers. We have also relied heavily on the steady, steadfast support of our corporate partners — those organisations which share our dreams for the future of Singapore’s youth, its social and innovation sectors, and want to be a part of that future. That shining vision remains ever our cause — planting the seeds of the future, in our public, private and social sectors, in corporates and in start-ups, in innovation and leadership.
It has been sufficiently repeated by practitioners, pundits and officials: in the very near future (near enough for current Enactus SG graduates to be affected!)
- Sectors of the economy will be wiped out by machines.
- Sectors of the economy will see the traditional definitions of jobs and employment rendered meaningless.
- Government budgets will be strained by the increasing needs of the social sector, to deliver a good life to all.
Our students will need tools and resources for innovation and collaboration to survive and prosper. They will need to develop passion and grit. This will be a long journey. It takes ten years to grow a tree, and hundred to develop a person. This has been the same since ages past, when man came up with the great idea of telling their fellows and their children how to do things properly — in other words, teaching — and those who claim today they can do so quickly and effectively are probably a bit loose on the effective part.
For Enactus SG, 2016 will be no different. We will need to continue our task of tilling and sowing, all the while looking towards the fruition of our efforts in our students. That fruition will come when we see, one day, the Enactus graduate suggests to her manager methods to improve workflow, or when she rises naturally to young leadership in her organisation. It will come when the Enactus graduate, bored with her job and eager to grow further and make a bigger, more direct impact, decides to create her start-up, to create that market-defining product, or to strike at the heart of the needs of a particular beneficiary group. Our efforts will bear fruit when our graduates fail miserably in these endeavours, pick themselves up, and come back stronger. Stronger and stronger, through life and career.
Our programme teams plan to continue planting these seeds, by teaching our students effective tools, igniting their passions, and providing invaluable experiences that are themselves part of that learning journey. That learning journey should plant our students’ feet firmly on the ground, with deep exposure to and understanding of VWOs and their beneficiaries; it will also lift their eyes tothe wonderful, exciting world of start-ups and tech, so they dream big and aim far.
Our marketing and people & culture teams will aim to reach outwards, to new students, new volunteers, to send our message out into that awesome space of untapped potential. They will also reach inwards, to keep our students, volunteers, corporates engaged and assured of the value they get from this partnership.
This has been a meaningful and interesting year for me, thanks to my Enactus SG experience. A heartfelt thanks once again to all those who went through thick and thin together. Like 2015, 2016 will be exciting and enriching, though it will not be easy. But then again, what journey ever worth traveling was?
By Tay Hui Mun, Enactus Singapore Fast Forward Committee