This article was first published on DollarsAndSense.sg.
Take advantage of the disruption and thriving start-up scene in Singapore.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the startup scene in Singapore is still thriving. In fact, the way COVID-19 has disrupted the way we eat, sleep, work, play and everything else in between provides even greater opportunity for new businesses to thrive.
With no let-up in the start-up scene in Singapore, you might be thinking of carving a name out for yourself by starting your own business. Especially for those still in university, there may be even more incentive to 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. While many meetings are happening over video conferencing tools such as Zoom and MS Team, when safe management measures ease, you also have more flexibility to arrange meeting around your classes – that rarely require your presence 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, within your lunch hour, after work, or during the weekends. While this hustle is exactly what you need as an aspiring business owner, it’s not only very draining, but might cause you to miss out on opportunities because you cannot meet investors and clients during working hours.
#2 No Conflict Of Interest When You Are Studying
If you’re working, your side business may interfere with the interests of your employer. For example, you will likely start a business in the same space as your current employment and 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 and no salary. 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 from a full-time job.
#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 $7,000 ideation grant by NUS Enterprise.
Starting a business a school, you also have the benefit of a working space that is not only free, but with access to other co-founders, employees and freelancers, as well as mentors. You may even find some customers (whether immediately or in the future).
#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.
Zopim’s four co-founders got together after the NUS Overseas College Program (NOC). For more well-known stories globally, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy of Snapchat met in Stanford, while Mark Zuckerberg met his co-founders in his dorm room. 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 Government Grants/Initiatives
After the success of Blk71, the Singapore government has invested more in the surround space to house more local start-ups. This provides start-ups with closer proximity to one another and a space to work out of.
Agencies like Enterprise Singapore (ESG), 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.
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 Always 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.
So even if your business does not become a success, it does not mean the end because you can always 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.
This may even give you an advantage when seeking employment opportunities once you graduate. The experience may also give you the tenacity and knowledge to start another business while continuing your education or employment in future.
Join The DollarsAndSense Business Community
For more content that helps entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed individuals and learn to build better businesses, join the DollarsAndSense Business Community on Facebook.