CCA Previews ’21: Raffles Entrepreneur’s Network

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By Chew Khai Xing (21A01A) and Clarissa Wong (21S06F)

“What is REN like?”—a simple question we asked a senior, looking, like you, for some concrete advice to help us along with our CCA choice. The senior’s response was simple and honest: “It depends on you, I’d say REN is what you make of it”. She turned out to be correct. 

Maker. Designer. Creator. Entrepreneur. These are the roles you could take on in REN, where turning entrepreneurial ideas into reality is at the core of what we do. Whether it be hosting a symposium, selling your own products, pitching your business ideas at a competition or exploring an industry through an internship programme; opportunities abound in REN for you to explore endless possibilities, step up, and be an entrepreneur. We can guarantee you, the journey will definitely be worth your while!

One of the main highlights of the year is our largest event of the year—Raffles Business Symposium (RBS). RBS is an in-house Raffles-organised competition cum symposium that aims to cultivate the entrepreneurial dare in like-minded individuals and serves as an incubation ground for their ideas. It is the perfect opportunity to spark the entrepreneurial fire in you, and it provides a platform for you to connect with fellow budding entrepreneurs. 

The theme for RBS 2020 was food wastage. It featured innovative and groundbreaking business ideas from finalist teams from the top schools around the country, as well as sharing sessions by prominent entrepreneurs in the food wastage industry such as Mr Preston Wong, co-founder of Treatsure, Ms Yeo Pei Shan, co-founder of Ugly Foods, as well as Mr Rayner Loi, co-founder of Lumitics. At RBS, aside from having the opportunity to compete, REN members also have the opportunity to create our very own inter-school event—undoubtedly a valuable and engaging learning experience!

Raffles Business Symposium (Webinar) 2020: Photo Taking session.

As a CCA that dabbles in entrepreneurship, enter REN.Co, our very own social enterprise. REN.Co, entirely managed by REN members, is under the mentorship of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF). At REN.Co, you will have a hand in dreaming up and designing all kinds of products—shirts, keychains, laptop cases…you name it—while also developing your entrepreneurial skills through crafting business proposals, conducting market surveys and finally seeing your ideas come to fruition. After months of preparations, you will then have the opportunity to organise REN’s biggest school wide event of the year—Entreweek! 

Entreweek is an approximately one week-long event where we invite local social enterprises to set up booths in the canteen for fellow Rafflesians to put their money towards causes they believe in. Of course, you will also get to set up your own REN booths to sell your products to the school population and derive that immense sense of satisfaction from the support shown by your fellow peers! 

Ultimately, REN.Co not only aims to give back to the Raffles family, but also the wider community. In 2018, REN.Co was so successful that it made more than S$15,000 in sales, and donated 40% of profits to charity! As you can see, REN offers you a collaborative and creative learning experience that you just won’t get anywhere else! 

REN.Co Raffles Originals Shirts.

For those of you who thrive at competition—real “sharks”—REN provides a plethora of opportunities to all members to join local and international competitions. At the start of the year, all members will have the opportunity to participate in the Social Innovation Relay (SIR), a competition where we work in groups to curate business solutions for pressing social problems plaguing today’s increasingly complex societies. 

Don’t worry if you lack experience—it was also the first ever competition for most of us too, and the lack of experience certainly didn’t stop us from dominating the competition throughout the years! No entrepreneur can make it alone, and a key part of our competition experiences lies in mentorship. Industry professionals are there to mentor us through the competition stages. For example, a data analytics professional mentored one of our teams for ten weeks, giving them an insightful peek into the complex web of demand and supply forces in the food supply industry. 

As you improve over time, feel free to team up and participate in international competitions! Last year, our team comprising Khai Xing, Damien, and Kaylee participated in the Belt and Road Innovative Challenge organised by JA China—it was certainly an immensely insightful and eye-opening learning experience due to the opportunity to collaborate with fellow talented budding entrepreneurs from all around the world. 

Tzerui demonstrating a product prototype during the RBS Finals business pitch.

Of course, REN is not just about organising events, designing and selling products, and joining competitions!

Here at REN, every two hour weekly session is a casual and fun learning experience as you get to explore and learn about entrepreneurship together with your friends. Weekly CCA activities include—but are not limited to—business pitching activities, discussions and sharing sessions among members, as well as entrepreneurship-related games to keep the sessions fun and lively! Furthermore, REN also invites speakers—prominent entrepreneurs from local industries—to share their experiences and insights with the CCA, thus allowing you to learn from the best, obtain answers to your most burning questions, and make useful connections within the industry. 

Finally, the end of the year signals the time for…internships! While the Covid-19 pandemic greatly limited internship opportunities last year, REN normally links members to local companies for the annual November-December Internship Programme. We strive to organise internships that are enriching and meaningful for our members to gain exposure to real-life enterprises and gain deeper insights on entrepreneurship and business management. Furthermore, we also conduct industrial visits yearly (last year was sadly an exception due to the pandemic) to enable our members and fellow budding entrepreneurs to gain more knowledge about different industries and widen their perspectives—for example, by observing how a start-up operates and learning about the potential challenges faced by start-ups. 

Perhaps now you are thinking, what does REN really have to offer me?

Here at REN, we challenge you to think, “what do I want as my JC CCA experience”? Here at REN, the CCA experience you wish to have is yours to create! At REN, you will have a bunch of passionate and talented batchmates to grow with, resources that are easily available and the freedom to innovate and create new experiences. REN can be your launch pad, and the sky (or your enterprising spirit) is the limit. 

Check out our instagram page at @rafflesentrepreneurs for more information, and we hope to see you at our trials!

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