By Nancy Xu (20S07C) and Ethelyn Kek (20S06B)
“What’s REN? Oh, you mean the CCA that sells the Raffles shirts?”
Yes, that’s us, Raffles Entrepreneur’s Network. As underrated as we may seem—and as we acknowledge that we’re practically only known for the (ahem, highly sought after) shirts we sell—REN is really so much more than that.
So what exactly does “entrepreneurship” entail? Is it just some cool big word that we use to boost our egos when we seal a deal on Carousell? Or is it something so elusive and intangible that only the elite can truly appreciate and live it out? Well, here at REN, we aim to let you define “entrepreneurship” for yourself, providing the best opportunities for you to truly uncover the beauty and underlying meaning behind it.
For us at REN, the whole year is exciting and enriching. We start the year off by enrolling in the Social Innovation Relay (SIR), a competition where we work in groups to curate solutions for pressing problems plaguing today’s increasingly globalised global village. Put off by its lofty-sounding name? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We assure you that it was the first ever competition for the majority of us, which means that most of us were at ground zero, and the playing field was definitely level!
The next major programme on the list is our annual camp. That’s where we make our first business pitch, and experience our first judging by REN alumni. During the camp, we also have the chance to listen to our alumni present about their REN experiences, as well as their start-up successes and failures that they’ve met with in the corporate world. Alongside gaining insights about entrepreneurship and businesses, we also take this one-day affair to get to know our CCA mates better through an amazing race and a Nerf gun battle. It is during these activities where our perseverance and teamwork is put to the test—both of which are crucial to being a successful entrepreneur.
Fast forward a few months, we are met with our biggest school wide event of the year—Entreweek! 2019’s Entreweek took place from 5th to 7th August, and involved many fun activities that were targeted at the school population in order to better raise awareness about entrepreneurship. We invited social enterprises to set up booths in our canteen, allowing fellow Rafflesians to put their money towards causes they strongly believed in. REN.Co, our own humble social enterprise, also set up a booth for Rafflesians to purchase our self-designed Raffles Originals shirts.
Wait, our very own social enterprise? Yes, you read that right. Ultimately, in REN, we’re all entrepreneurs in the making. REN.Co aims not only to give back to the Raffles family through the 1823 Fund, but also the wider community. In 2019, REN.Co was proud to work with the Bone Marrow Donation Programme to offer enamel pins for sale, and part of the sales proceeds have gone to supporting the donation programme.
In late August, we have our largest event of the year—Raffles Business Symposium! Raffles Business Symposium, or RBS for short, is an in-house Raffles-organised competition cum symposium that aims to cultivate the entrepreneurial dare in like-minded individuals and serve as an incubation ground for their ideas. It helps to bring out your inner Steve Jobs, and the go-getter spirit that all real entrepreneurs embody. For RBS 2019, the theme was healthcare. The four finalist teams presented their innovative yet practical solutions to environmental problems in a heated finale where everyone watched intensely, with bated breaths.
Throughout the year, REN members are also encouraged to participate in various competitions besides the two compulsory ones (SIR and RBS). However, to truly experience what it is like to be a struggling entrepreneur fuelled by passion in the volatile world, there is a plethora of other competition options for us to choose from. In 2019, our talented REN members Shao Qibin (20S03I) and Zhou Xianyu (20S06H) participated in the 13th FedEx Express / JA International Trade Challenge and emerged as winners, representing Singapore in the Asia Pacific Regional Challenge held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
If large-scale events seem too daunting for you, fret not! Here at REN, every week is a fresh new experience, and for those who prefer to slowly savour the meaning of “entrepreneurship”, REN invites a different speaker each month to share their experiences being an entrepreneur in an intimate and comfortable setting—our cosy CCA enclaves D23 and D24. It is during these sharings where you get to ask your most burning questions, as well as connect with notable people in the industry. We also conduct industrial visits yearly, where our fellow aspiring entrepreneurs get to broaden their horizons by overcoming the numerous hurdles one is bound to face while setting up a start-up. Afterall, REN is not just another plain old club or society. We are a network of like-minded individuals who share a common future goal of being an entrepreneur.
If all these seem extremely appealing to you, we’re glad that we were able to interest you in our humble network. For more information, do head down to our Instagram @rafflesentrepreneurs! (shameless plug, sorry—at least we host giveaways! hint hint.) Feel free to drop us a DM if you have any queries, and we hope to see you at our trials! It’ll be worth it.