To be a Trailblazer, one must not only pioneer a movement but also embody it in every aspect of our lives. The traits of a trailblazer include risk-taking, visionary planning and relentless perseverance. However, we also recognise that no one, no matter how strong, can make a long-term worldwide impact on their own and so a trailblazer must also be one who is willing to be a committed team player and effective contributor in a group setting.
The Prudential Young Trailblazers competition was organised not only so that we could give budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to test out their ideas, but so that they could learn from a wide variety of experiences. Be it working together with like-minded peers, learning from seasoned entrepreneurs and rubbing shoulders with professionals in the various industries. Mentors, teachers and facilitators played a huge role in both providing moral support but also giving the students adequate feedback along their journey. Here is what some of them have to say about the competition thus far –
Howard, an entrepreneur running four businesses, has found his mentoring journey very rewarding. He shares,
“For the students, I could observe that they definitely found the competition challenging and a little out of their league. The numerous resources and templates provided on the portal was helpful as it provided some reference point for them which made the competition seem doable. And it was in this sweet spot of support and challenge where learning took place for them. Much of the learning for them was in the area of teamwork and harnessing one another’s strength. It was heartening to see how they eventually recognied their individual strengths and brought it to the project. Nonetheless, the area of working together in synergy was and is still a learning in progress for the team as it is in real life and this project helped them have a taste of it.”
The team at Young Trailblazers is especially grateful for the dedicated group of teachers directly investing time and energy into their participants. Ms Faith, teacher in-charge of the finalists from Zhonghua Secondary School, shared these valuable insights from her perspective as an educator,
“For the students, I could observe that they definitely found the competition challenging and a little out of their league. The numerous resources and templates provided on the portal was helpful as it provided some reference point for them which made the competition seem doable. And it was in this sweet spot of support and challenge where learning took place for them. Much of the learning for them was in the area of teamwork and harnessing one another’s strength. It was heartening to see how they eventually recognised their individual strengths and brought it to the project. Nonetheless, the area of working together in synergy was and is still a learning in progress for the team as it is in real life and this project helped them have a taste of it.”
“Another area of learning for the students is to not only be eager in providing solutions, but to critically evaluate the value proposition of their solutions and whether it was aligned to real needs. As an educator I find our students not lacking in creativity and the ability to problem solve, but what is lacking is the rigour of research done to justify the feasibility and value proposition of such solutions and this competition made students aware of the rigorous thought processes and market research required for good solutions.”
We believe that this competition is only a small step forward for the students in the world of changes that they can potentially make. In view of this, we asked their mentors how they felt this competition was positioning the students for this future intelligent system and highly fast paced world.
Leon, from Prudential, mentor for the Singapore Polytechnic team tells us,
“As the world focuses more on technology and increases its reliance on artificial intelligence; soft skills like critical thinking, creative thinking, communication and collaboration becomes even more essential for the workforce in the future.”
Jamie, Managing Director of Flying Cape, who is mentor to several of the teams had this to say about the competition,
“Students have a lot of ideas as they are not constrained by what currently works in the society. Giving them the tools and knowledge on how they can start implementing on their grand ideas helps to shed more light on the things that need to be considered, moving them one step further from paper planning and one step closer to their actual goal in the real world. I think we are building the foundation for greater innovation in our country.”
In closing, Ms Faith highlights an important takeaway we believe applies not only to her students, but all other participants alike,
“This competition gave them a taste of entrepreneurship. I think there is a misconception that entrepreneurship is a own time own target kind of endeavour. While that may be true, this competition gave them a reality check that entrepreneurship entails discipline, research, hard work, confidence and with all that the willingness to fail and try again. Breaking down the process of innovation and entrepreneurship into stages provided students the structure and also the exposure of the rigour of entrepreneurship and was an enriching experience for them. “
Rather than telling the students what to think, this competition hopes to do exactly what is said above and that is to teach instead how to think. In creating an innovative environment via this competition, students were given the room to express not just their creativity but also the handles to critically evaluate the problems and solutions on their own initiative. Going beyond innovative ideas and applying them to the real world.