Singapore’s undergraduates can look forward to a unique entrepreneurship initiative, the Singapore Valley Awards (“SVA”), which was launched this week.
The prize: a rare chance for internships with leading innovation companies in China. The internships will give the winners first-hand access to China’s start-up ecosystem and the opportunity to learn from the founders of these companies.
The Awards are being facilitated by local investment firm Tembusu Partners, with US$2.5 million funding coming from Chinese tech billionaires including 2345.com founder Pang Shengdong, Shanghai Kingnet Technology founder and CEO Wang Yue, and Alibaba co-founders James Sheng and Eddie Wu.
Singaporean entrepreneur Calvin Cheng, chairman of Retech Technology, also provided funding for the Awards.
"The Singapore Valley Awards initiative has twin objectives – to broaden the mindset of innovation beyond employment to include entrepreneurship, and beyond the traditional Western models of disruption to include China,” said Mrs. Lim Hwee Hua, Co-Chair of SVA and Executive Director of Tembusu Partners in a statement.
Undergraduates who are Singaporean citizens or permanent residents, and are in their third or fourth year of full-time study at one of Singapore’s six publicly funded universities, are eligible to apply for the Awards.
Those that are shortlisted then have to pitch business ideas to a judges’ panel made up of 10 prominent members of Singapore’s and China’s tech and investment communities.
Up to nine students that manage to impress the judges will win three-month internships in China starting next year. They’ll also get a grant of about US$1,500 per month each over the course of their internship.
The scheme’s first application period ends on October 16.