Two SMU alumni give $1m for endowment to spur entrepreneurship

SMU alumni Jeff Tung (left) and Benjamin Twoon (below) hope the fund will help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem at SMU.
SMU alumni Jeff Tung (above) and Benjamin Twoon hope the fund will help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem at SMU.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY
SMU alumni Jeff Tung (left) and Benjamin Twoon (below) hope the fund will help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem at SMU.
SMU alumni Jeff Tung and Benjamin Twoon (above) hope the fund will help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem at SMU.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY

It is the largest gift the Singapore Management University (SMU) has received from its alumni.

Two business management graduates have set up a $1 million endowment to encourage entrepreneurship among its students.

With matching funds from the Government, the total endowment will be $2 million.

The P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund, initiated by SMU alumni Jeff Tung, 29, and Benjamin Twoon, 27, will go towards supporting the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Club at the university's Lee Kong Chian School of Business, as well as an annual business plan competition.

The fund was launched by both Mr Tung, founder of financial services provider Sheng Ye Financial Group, and Mr Twoon, founding member of regional financial technology firm Fundnel, yesterday at the university.

"The school was our playground. It exposed us to entrepreneurship and gave us opportunities to explore our interests," said Mr Twoon. "We wanted to give back, and inspire others to do the same."

The fund was named after what the duo, who graduated in 2013, believe are the three tenets of entrepreneurship - passion, adventure and kick-start.

They hope the fund will help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem at SMU.

For instance, it will support the activities organised by the Entrepreneurship Club, which will include networking and mentoring events for students and alumni.

In addition, aspiring entrepreneurs at the university will be able to participate in an annual business plan competition.

Winners will receive cash awards to further their business ideas.

Professor Gerry George, dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, noted that entrepreneurship is part of SMU's make-up, and the university offers a range of relevant courses, talks and activities in it.

He added: "The fund is an investment into the future of our students and in nurturing entrepreneurial talent in Singapore."

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Two SMU alumni give $1m for endowment to spur entrepreneurship'. Print Edition | Subscribe