With so many Singapore start-ups in the news these days, you might be thinking of carving a name out for yourself by starting your own business. If you are currently still studying in university, here are seven reasons why you should start your business today.
#1 You Have A More Flexible Schedule
Starting a business will require you to meet many people who can be potential co-founders, investors or clients. You will have to set aside time to meet them during office hours or after office hours.
As you are still in school, you can afford more flexibility when it comes to scheduling appointments. They can be arranged around your classes that are not from nine to five. If you have to meet clients and run your business in the afternoon, you can shift your study times to mornings and evenings, while if you have to do so during the day, you can always keep your nights free for academics.
When you are working full-time, you will only be able to meet with people during your own free time after work, or during the weekends. This is not only very draining, but might cause you to miss out on opportunities because you will not be able to meet investors and clients during work time.
#2 No Conflict Of Interest When You Are Studying
Conflict of interest happens when your side business interferes with the interests of the company you are working for. For example, you might subconsciously bring your employer’s clients to your own business.
When you are studying, you are not working full-time for any company. This means that you don’t have to divide your attention between two jobs. Compared to if you were working full-time, you might have to quit your job because conflict of interest can arise.
#3 Opportunity Cost Is Lower
When you start a business while you are still in school, you incur less opportunity cost because you have more free time. What you might sacrifice is some of your social life and sleep. However, if you were working, you will definitely have to give up most of your free time in the evenings and weekends, maybe even your stable income of $4000 a month from a full-time job.
It is not impossible to juggle both your academics and start-up. Luke Wu, co-founder of Spark Asia, is in law school while running his business. Similarly, Valerie Pang, co-founder of SDI Academy, is still schooling in Yale-NUS.
#4 Many Opportunities Provided By School
Singapore’s universities are very supportive when it comes to entrepreneurship and start-ups. There’s NTUitive, SMU IIE, and NUS Enterprise, to name a few programmes that help make ideas become reality.
Through NUS Enterprise, successful start-up Pigeonhole Live was able to tap into the knowledge of experienced people, obtain office space, as well as legal, intellectual property, and accounting advice. They were then able to focus on developing the product.
Likewise, Carousell was awarded a $7000 ideation grant by NUS Enterprise. Now, it is doing so well that it raised $35 million in funding recently.
#5 Larger Network
Being in university gives you access to huge networks. Be it through clubs, societies, or faculty events, you will be able to find like-minded peers who can afford the time to start up with you. Furthermore, your partners will have similar flexibility in schedules, making it easier to conduct meetings and discussions.
Kenneth Lou of Novelsys found one of his co-founders by sending out an email to the whole of NUS Faculty of Engineering. Zopim’s four co-founders got together after the NUS Overseas College Program. Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy of Snapchat met in Stanford. These are just a few examples of how most successful business ventures started out as ideas put together by students from the same university.
#6 Many Government Grants/Initiatives
The Singapore government has been rebuilding Blk73 and renovating the space in Blk79 to house more start-ups after Blk71 has proven to be doing well. This shows the government’s commitment to making Singapore’s start-up scene a success.
Agencies like SPRING Singapore, Infocomm Investments, and the National Research Foundation help start-ups develop through providing mentoring, funding, and other forms of support. These agencies have also teamed up with universities to help equip students with necessary skills and resources. For example, Modern Aging Singapore, which is developed by NUS Enterprise and ACCESS Health International, is supported by the Ministry of Health.
When you incubate your start-up with approval from your university, you can tap into more grants through your university and increase the validity of your business idea. This will open many more doors to opportunity for growth.
#7 If All Else Fails, You Can Just Go Back To Studying
When it comes to starting your own business while still studying, universities are usually more than willing to accommodate your needs, even if it means holding a place for you while you take a break from school. Two of the three co-founders of Glints have put their studies on hold while they pursue their venture, with their US universities saving a spot for them.
So even if your business does not become a success, it does not mean the end because you can just go back to school. In fact, the process of starting up will teach you more than your course will ever do, so there is no such thing as time wasted.