CCA Previews ’18: Raffles Entrepreneur’s Network

By Shen Hongyi (18S06K), Chairperson; Chua Yan Xin, Elicia (18S06Q), Vice-Chairperson; Lim Maxine (18S06Q), Public Relations;  Karen Wong Jia Yi (18S03N), Treasurer and Welfare; Li Qingke (18S03J), Secretary

The first time you pronounced the word “entrepreneur”, it probably rolled off your tongue weird – entrepre-noor, entrepre-nuhr, entrepre-newr? The confusion might arise from how “entrepreneur” has its roots in French “entreprendre”, meaning “to undertake”. Thankfully, at Raffles Entrepreneur’s Network, we have undertaken the effort to save you the pronunciation hassle – by being just “REN”. Here are more reasons why REN might be right for you:

Ever wanted to plan and organise your very own inter-school competition from scratch? One of REN’s major events is the annual Raffles Business Symposium (RBS). (Psst, you get to decide the buffet menu.) This year we are proud to have brought together over 100 students and teachers around the theme – the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Prominent business leaders spanning the industries were brought down to Raffles Institution to share their business acumen and offer industry perspectives on the judging panel. Gracing this year’s event were Ms Kelly Ho, Managing Director of KEL LLC, Mr Kannan Chandran, Founder and award-winning publisher of E-Quill Media, and Mr Edward Chia, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Timbre Group.

If starting your own shop is your cup of tea, then REN’s business arm, REN.Co, is just for you. At REN.Co, members personally try their hand at maintaining a social enterprise. Being a social venture, 20% of our profits are donated to a local beneficiary – so, feel free to patronise our store with a clear conscience, a full one-fifth of profits goes toward a good cause!

This year, REN.Co has carried out numerous sales on our back-to-school designs, including student-designed Raglan shirts, singlets and other merchandise. REN.Co exposes members to the practical challenges of sustaining a business. Fortunately, members are not callously thrown into the wild; REN.Co is under the mentorship of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF).

REN.Co Merchandise

REN sessions are weekly 2-hour sessions on Wednesday. During normal REN sessions, we may split into RBS and REN.Co committees or congregate into the competition teams and prepare for competition seasons. As much as sessions are task-focused, we are a laid-back community because we are surprisingly efficient. Sessions might be punctured with strange fits of laughter and other idiosyncrasies – Steve Jobs did, after all, call us the “misfits”. Despite the fun, we do get down to business. This year, our teams have reared their heads in the finals of FEDEX ITC Competition 2017 and Raffles Business Symposium. At the Youth Innovation Challenge 2017, Team Virtual Ready clinched the Best Social Impact Award with a $1,500 cash prize.

REN sessions are exciting. Want to see successful entrepreneurs up close and personal? Our recent sharing session was honoured by Mr Peter Goh, the co-founder and managing director of Chlorous Solutions, a boutique firm surrounding environmental sustainability design. We had the rare opportunity to hear candid accounts of Mr Goh’s successes and misadventures. On another occasion, we heard from Low Jian Liang, founder of Trabble Business Solutions, a company providing mobile-chat concierge and automated communication services, and learnt about how to capitalise on the growing travel industry and reach out specific target groups effectively.

REN is also a cozy place where graduated seniors return to share their insights and mentor our members. This year, we had the pleasure of having Soon Kon, now Founder of Innogency, Rahul Jayaprabha and Jo-Adam Mizra to come down and visit!

Sharing session by Rahul Jayaprabha, a graduated senior, during REN Camp 2017
Sharing session by Soon Kon, a graduated senior, during REN Camp 2017

In REN, fun is always around the corner.

Sick of being cooped up in a four-walled homeroom? Be prepared to go on excursions into industrial business settings and learn about business in the real world. This year, REN visited 10Square, an innovative business that transforms two storeys of unused carpark into a bustling arts space for youths and corporate meeting setting for the Central Business District.

REN also had a fun trip to the FairPrice Warehouse (after which we had a delightful discounted shopping spree), to learn about the nooks and crannies of starting up a co-operative in school – REN.Co!

During our CCA Camp, members also participated in an amazing race which consist of multifarious activities guaranteed to bring joy.

Fun activities at REN

Marx famously said, “Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” Thankfully, REN members are not the evil exploitative capitalists Marx had foretold – because “teach a man how to fish” is precisely what REN did! This year, REN volunteered at Little Arts Academy to teach primary school children concepts of entrepreneurship.

Volunteer work at the Little Arts Academy

Finally, after a roller-coaster year of events, interested in having a job-attachment experience to enrich your holidays? We’ve got you covered with our internships programme arranged specially for REN members. Having built up our connections from past years, we have exclusive contacts to arrange for internships according to our members’ interests and availability. Some of the companies that have accepted us for internships include the well-known French food factory Saybons, Focus Financials Pte Ltd, Chloros Solutions Pte Ltd, McPEC Marine and Offshore Engineering and more.

We hope you are as excited about REN as we are! Who do we look for in REN? In the words of Steve Jobs, “We hire people who want to make the best things in the world.” Which means, it is probably you – aspiring entrepre-noor, entrepre-nuhr or entrepre-newr.

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