Start-up 101: entrepreneur hopefuls get business advice at SPH Plug and Play event

Participants got a quick guide on how to run a successful business at the #rockthemedia event, organised under SPH Plug and Play, on Jan 28, 2016.
Participants got a quick guide on how to run a successful business at the #rockthemedia event, organised under SPH Plug and Play, on Jan 28, 2016.PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Owners of early stage start-ups got a crash course on how to run a successful business at a sharing session for entrepreneurs on Thursday (Jan 28).

Called #rockthemedia, the event meant to encourage entrepreneurship and provide start-up owners - who comprised most of the 80 strong audience - with tips on how to run a start-up smoothly, including what to expect and mistakes to avoid.

The event was organised under Plug and Play, a worldwide programme headquartered in Silicon Valley and into its second year here. Sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), it identifies innovative start-ups and helps them to grow quickly by providing them with contacts and training, such as workshops and mentors.

At the event, speakers shared advice on topics such as choosing people with complementary, essential skills and industry knowledge to form a core start-up team, as well as looking at the enthusiasm, intelligence and courage in team members as key indicators of a start-up's future success.

In addition, the founders of tech-based companies Bolt and Snapask - both under the SPH Plus and Play accelerator programme - shared their experiences on building their businesses.

"I know I can learn important lessons from the sharing sessions, and it is one way for me to know if my ideas could be validated or not," said first time attendee, Mr Patrick Lee, 25, the co-founder of a budding start-up involving mobile phone sales.

"Maybe more ideas can come to me when talking to fellow entrepreneurs," he added.

Head of SPH Plug and Play, Mr Rudy Lim, also fielded questions at the session from hopeful applicants on how the start-ups under the programme were chosen, with only eight teams selected out of 280 applicants last year.

Start-ups must be involved in a media or consumer-related industry, such as financial or educational technology, to qualify.

"The team has to have a very good mix of skill sets, competencies, and experience," said Mr Lim. "People who know how to code, to sell, to steer, who can resolve conflicts, who are able to appreciate the market and bring forth a wealth of experience to solve a real problem, I think these are all very important qualities."

He added: "And one quality that is not so tangible is a good heart. So when I speak to people, I can sense whether this person is genuine, sincere, passionate. When you have your heart in the correct place, you attract a lot of people who want to help you, and these are resources money cannot buy."

chiaytr@sph.com.sg