Teaching kids about money is child's play

Teaching kids about money is child's play

Turning a start-up into a success is never easy but trying to create a self-sustaining company 10 years ago was a much tougher challenge for entrepreneurs than it is today.

Take funding. Investors and venture capitalists were not keen to put money into local firms trying to get off the ground and it was often hard to get approval for government help.

"The second issue was the rules and regulations that business had to navigate," noted Mr Inderjit Singh, an MP and a former deputy chairman of Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE).

"(In Singapore), we had rules and regulations that were good for bigger companies but were not conducive enough for smaller businesses."

Mr Singh, who has started up a number of ventures, said these factors, coupled with Singapore's small market and stiff competition from multinationals, meant very few potential entrepreneurs were willing to take the risk and start a business.

But times have changed and Singapore's start-up scene has become more dynamic, thanks in part to initiatives and programmes ACE has put in place over the past decade.

Statistics provided by ACE indicate that more companies are being formed: Around 39,000 were started in 2003 but that hit about 57,000 last year.

Funding is now easier to achieve due to programmes like the ACE Startup Grant, a co-funding scheme where ACE matches $7 to every $3 raised by the entrepreneur, for up to $50,000.

Starting networking events like the ACE BlueSky Exchange and efforts to educate and encourage youth entrepreneurship have also helped create a more vibrant start-up community.

"Being a entrepreneur is a more attractive career option now, especially since there is a lot more government and private sector support for young companies," said Mr Singh.

"Having this eco-system and network is very important because it promotes knowledge sharing among entrepreneurs from different sectors."

He added that his work with the start-up community has come full circle, with his 18-year daughter becoming an entrepreneur herself after doing a school project on the risks faced by new firms here.

"It just reaffirms the solid foundation work that ACE and the rest of the start-up community have built up over the last few years."

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