SINGAPORE – Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) students who are keen on growing their businesses can now get funding from alumni who are accomplished entrepreneurs.
The alumni-led NP Angel Network was launched on Wednesday as the polytechnic marked 20 years of efforts to nurture its students’ entrepreneurial talent, including building an extensive network of successful business founders among its graduates.
Under the scheme, investors will commit a minimum of $20,000 each as angel funders.
A total of $500,000 has been pledged so far to Singapore’s first alumni-angel investment network for polytechnic students.
Serial entrepreneur Desmond Lee, 49, one of the network’s founders, told The Straits Times that he was started as a way to give back to NP, which had supported him when he kick-started his career.
Mr Lee has played a key role in building start-ups such as Eezee, Singapore’s largest business-to-business marketplace for industrial and business supplies, and Sealed Network, an expert network that connects South-east Asia’s top minds with organizations across the globe .
He said: “Start-ups have a lot of challenges in terms of raising funds, having the right talent, mentorship opportunities and guidance as to how to execute their ideas.
“Since our alumni network has so many successful entrepreneurs, it is only right that we help them and get involved.”
First-year business studies student Perren Ong, 19, has found a mentor in one of the angel network’s founders – Mr Dennis Poh, 34, the chief executive of Legatcy, a business consulting agency.
Mr Ong said: “The whole entrepreneurship ecosystem is… beyond just academics. It is a holistic learning experience where I receive support, funding, mentorship and advice, where I can reach out to successful entrepreneurs.”
He added that the support of his mentors is what keeps him going in his eco-friendly soap business.
As part of the anniversary celebration, the polytechnic also opened on Wednesday the NP x Carousell Sustainability Lab, a partnership with home-grown online marketplace Carousell, which was co-founded by alumni Marcus Tan and Quek Siu Rui.