As a freshie in Singapore Polytechnic, Enactus didn’t struck me then as a really ‘cool’ CCA club ( co-curricular activities club). In fact, I only knew more about Enactus when I was invited to attend the Enactus Nationals Singapore 2016. Also, I had the opportunity to learn more about social entrepreneurship when I did my overseas project in the Philippines and also recently when I attended the Enactus Nationals Malaysia 2017. Watching the Enactus Malaysia teams in action and listening to projects done by other schools, I then realized what was ‘cool’ about Enactus.
On the day of the competition in KL, I was in a taxi bound for MATRADE Convention Centre. On the way, I caught sight of the twin towers and parts of the city before I stepped into the convention centre. Students in bus loads were being led to the registration area. I was led to the judges’ room for a short briefing for volunteers. What stood out at Enactus Malaysia immediately was the high energy level and fierce loyalty every participant brought with them. There were school flags and students donned scarfs and were also busy helping their presenters look good before the start of the competition.
Each presenting team brought to the audience a wonderful array of interesting projects varying from cucumber juice production to fish breeding devices that had helped bond communities and elevated many from poverty. Having listened to multiple meaningful projects, I have learnt 2 main things that I hope our Enactus Singapore teams can learn from Enactus Malaysia.
Be open to opportunities. When I was first told that I was invited to volunteer at Enactus Nationals Malaysia, I was rather reluctant to go due to the fact that it is held during the start of my school submissions period. But I decided to go with my gut feel and it turned out to be a worthwhile trip and experience. Since then, I never looked back. There were no regrets skipping school. I would have never had the opportunity to network with various entrepreneurs and would have lost the opportunity to get to know more about Malaysia’s communities. School is definitely a must for all of us Singaporean students, but it shouldn’t stop us from exploring and experiencing such opportunities at home or overseas. Nothing would bring you more fulfillment than having made a positive impact on people around you. There is no harm putting aside your textbooks (sometimes of course) to volunteer in your local community clubs. Who knows, you might be the one to come up with the world’s next Big Thing! At these competition forums, I observed that these students never stopped exploring the various social problems around their regions and worked hard to solve these problems. So, start exploring!
2) Be overprepared.
Something I noticed about the Singaporean and Malaysian teams is the level of preparedness they bring with them Singaporean teams are well prepared for the nationals. I was equally amazed at the amount of homework and coordination done by the Malaysian teams. Their presentations were well coordinated and delivered with much confidence. I felt that all these teams deserved a chance to present at the global stage! We had teams presenting their projects with videos. However, the level of confidence is unmatched compared to the Malaysian team’s performance. Underlying these presentations are countless hours of hard work and it’s something Singaporeans could further work on to improve our projects and presentations!
What I saw during my albeit brief 2-day stint in Malaysia is probably the tip of the iceberg of what Enactus does. Certainly, I have only started my social entrepreneurship journey with Enactus.
Yong Chin Han, Vice President, Enactus Singapore Polytechnic.