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Change culture of 'kiasuism' to groom entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship cannot be created. We can only develop the environment to foster its growth ("Dare to 'chiong'"; Jan 8).

Catalysing entrepreneurship runs contrary to our culture of "kiasuism", which often disdains failures and overglorifies success stories.

Therefore, we need to craft a national blueprint to foster entrepreneurship, with active ownership, participation and support from the public, people and private sectors.

This blueprint should also be crafted and championed by both prominent as well as struggling entrepreneurs.

They have the experience and competence to help create and, more importantly, implement programmes to change the culture and groom entrepreneurs.

Education plays a pivotal role in influencing and developing entrepreneurial traits and skills.

The pedagogical approach to be taken should encourage students to take risks and accept failures and mistakes as part of the learning process.

Working adults should be engaged to help teachers and complement the curriculum by training students on entrepreneurial mindsets, knowledge and skills through real-life case studies.

They can also arrange internships and job-shadow programmes to help students understand the realities of the working world.

Let us not underestimate the potential of young people to achieve exponential results. What they need is mentorship and guidance on how to obtain relevant information, conduct feasibility studies and access capital, talent and other resources to implement and improve their ideas.

When the people and private sectors work closely with schools, we can eventually change our "kiasu" culture and develop the ecosystem to make an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit an integral part of our society.

In the near future, we can produce a generation of entrepreneurs to transform Singapore into a fulcrum for a neo-Renaissance age.

Singapore can then lead the region, and even the world, in pioneering innovative breakthroughs and making the world a better place.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 15, 2017, with the headline 'Change culture of 'kiasuism' to groom entrepreneurs'. Print Edition | Subscribe