32% of Singaporean millennial entrepreneurs started their businesses in school: Study

Who better than the world's leading internet domain registrar and web hosting company, GoDaddy, to conduct a study on entrepreneurs.

They were in town yesterday as their Vice President of Asia, Roger Chen unveiled some rather intriguing findings about Singaporean users of their services.

The study was conducted with some 7,291 (of which 2,707 are small business owners or are self-employed) professionals worldwide from countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Out of that figure, 500 were Singaporeans.

Young Singaporean startup founders who are still in school

  • Luke Wu is currently pursuing his degree in NUS Law while running SPARK Asia, an app that allows you to print your photos and get them delivered to you for free.
  • Jeremy Low runs AxtroSports, a distributor for wearable technologies and IOT products in Singapore. He is currently a Year 2 Business student in SMU.
  • Kenneth Lou (left) founded Novelsys, a startup focused on wireless charging solutions. He is a current Year 3 Business Admin major in NUS.
  • Roslyn Teng and Robin Lim both founded Made Real, a healthy snackbox which you can subscribe every month. Roslyn is currently an undergraduate at Yale-NUS while Robin is pursuing her degree at SMU.
  • Syakir Hashim runs Skolafund, a crowdfunding platform that helps to match deserving undergraduates from less privileged backgrounds with various sources of funding. He is currently in his third year taking Global Studies in NUS.
  • Looi Qin En (left) is running his startup Glints, a career discovery and development platform. Glints helps youths discover what they love to do in their careers and help them develop the necessary skills.
  • Tan Jun Ming runs Hyron Tech, a digital consultancy firm with clients such as Gongcha, Fresh Fruit Labs, MOE and many more. Outside of work, he is currently a year 4 Business student at the National University of Singapore.
  • A year 2 Information Systems Management undergraduate at SMU School of Information Systems, Jackson Kwa runs Tech Society, a company that provides education and workshops to students aged 10-18.
  • David Chin, who's currently in SMU first year taking up Business and Accountancy Double Degree Programme, is running CIO Academy Asia, a consultancy for CIOs and senior IT management executives.

But first, a global overview

We first start with some statistics on a global scale of how new generations are fueling the world of small businesses through entrepreneurship.

400 million

That's approximately how many small businesses and independent ventures there are now on an international scale.

Among professionals, some 36 per cent of them want their own small business, or to at least be self-employed within the next 10 years.

Out of those wanting to start their own business, 59 per cent have a never-say-die attitude; with a willingness to start a new business if a previous venture failed.

Millennials are also six times more likely to start their own businesses at a younger age as compared to the previous generation.

Back to Singapore

In Singapore, pretty much something similar is happening.

Out of the 500 people in Singapore that participated in the survey, 4 out 10 (41 per cent) have plans to either start their own small businesses or be their own boss in the next 10 years.

These figures include a whopping 74 per cent of millennials, while only 63 per cent from Gen X could say the same. Overall, 72 per cent of respondents plan to embark on their entrepreneurial endeavours full-time, while the remaining 28 per cent will be doing it as a side project alongside their day-jobs.

Here's something that Singapore is number 1 at in the study - 32 per cent of millennials entrepreneurs in Singapore started their business whilst still in school, as compared to the 24 per cent average globally.

Not surprising considering the immense amount of startup support from schools alongside the convergence of technology, which has enabled more people to delve into the realm of entrepreneurship at a substantially younger age as compared to their parents.

It's all about the tech

Tools to start your own business are readily available all over the internet, and at little to no cost, significantly lowering the barrier to entry to entrepreneurship on the global scale.

Thus, it is not surprising that technology has made creating your own career opportunities as an individual that much easier, and this is something that 91 per cent of respondents from Singapore agree with.

Online platforms such as websites and social media have also been instrumental in promoting growth of young businesses, and 86 per cent of those surveyed agree that these channels are an important outlet when attracting customers.

Not all are seeking help from a third party too, with 45 per cent preferring the DIY (Do It Yourself) route when handling back-end tech for their businesses.

Finally, it also helps that Singaporeans are big fans and early adopters of new technologies.

Because of it, half have been found to lead better work-life balance as new technologies give them flexibility in their careers, while 33 per cent responded as saying that due to these emerging tech, they have been led to the career they're in today.

Of autonomy and wishes

Flexibility is perhaps the number one driver for Singaporeans when becoming an entrepreneur, as the ability to be autonomous outranks both the pursuit of money (at 24 per cent) and not having to worry about losing their corporate jobs (at 15 per cent).

And with flexibility comes the thirst to want more, as 68 per cent wish to own a business where they have customers from all over the world, with 79 per cent also agreeing that current technology enables them to reach a wider, more global customer base, as well as to quickly create a business.

Finally, a common underlying wish among entrepreneurs in Singaporeans is that they wish the government could do more to help and promote entrepreneurship in the country, with 57 per cent agreeing to the same sentiment.

That's a lot of information to digest.

Guess this means that we should be seeing more startups set to appear in Singapore.

Will you be starting one?

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