New scholarship for entrepreneurial NUS students

National University of Singapore students Kee Qian Ling (left) and Lynette Lau, two of the six inaugural recipients of the Stephen Riady Young Entrepreneur Scholarship. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - National University of Singapore (NUS) students hoping to become entrepreneurs can apply for a new scholarship, thanks to a gift from renowned philanthropist Stephen Riady.

The bond-free scholarship, which is open to freshmen from all disciplines, covers tuition fees and living allowances for four years of undergraduate studies.

Upon graduation, recipients who want to start a business venture can then apply for seed funding of up to $50,000.

Six NUS freshmen received the Stephen Riady Young Entrepreneur Scholarship in August, at the start of the new academic year.

NUS president Tan Eng Chye said on Monday (Oct 15): "We are heartened that (Dr Riady) shares our vision to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among our undergraduates."

He added that the scholarship is in line with NUS' efforts to build and develop an entrepreneurial culture through initiatives such as its overseas colleges and incubation spaces.

Students on the scholarship will receive guidance and mentorship from NUS Enterprise - the entrepreneurial arm of the university.

They will also be able to join the NUS Overseas Colleges Programme, which sends students on internships to entrepreneurial hubs around the world.

Students are chosen based on their interest in starting companies, on top of their grades and leadership qualities.

In 10 years, NUS expects as many as 50 start-ups to be created by these aspiring young entrepreneurs.

Dr Riady, an Indonesian tycoon who is the executive chairman of property group OUE, said: "Entrepreneurs are drivers of innovation, and they will play an increasingly significant role in Singapore's economic progress, especially in the digital age.

"It is my hope that this new scholarship can cultivate the next wave of entrepreneurs, who can help Singapore stay ahead amid challenging times."

One of its six inaugural recipients, Ms Kee Qian Ling, an engineering undergraduate, is no stranger to fusing business and technology to come up with new ideas.

The 19-year-old pitched ideas for an app that allows diners to queue for restaurants from home and software that trains healthcare workers to handle emergencies through simulations.

Another recipient, Ms Lynette Lau, who is studying business administration, said her first taste of enterprise was when she sold snacks that her mother bought from overseas to her primary school friends.

She went on to study business in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and became vice-president of its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club.

The 20-year-old, who now runs a start-up that provides instant photography services at corporate events, said: "Entrepreneurship is very exciting because I can create something from scratch. My current start-up has its limitations and I hope to start a scalable business in the future.

"If I can successfully secure seed funding under the scholarship, I could potentially turn this dream into a reality."

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