SMU receives $1 million from alumnus to boost entrepreneurship

Single largest gift by former student will be used to develop local talent and entrepreneurial ecosystem in university

Mr Jeff Tung's donation is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Singapore Management University, from which he graduated in 2013. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JEFF TUNG
Mr Jeff Tung's donation is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Singapore Management University, from which he graduated in 2013. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JEFF TUNG

The Singapore Management University (SMU) has received an endowed contribution of $1 million from an alumnus to enhance its P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund, the single largest gift by a former student to date.

The donation is from Mr Jeff Tung, who graduated from the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business in 2013. He is the founder and chairman of Sheng Ye Capital, a Hong Kong-listed supply chain financing company.

Mr Tung and another SMU alumnus, Mr Benjamin Twoon, had jointly established the P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund in 2015 with a joint donation of $1 million. Mr Twoon is co-founder and chief operations officer of private investment platform Fundnel.

The latest $1 million gift from Mr Tung, 34, is in celebration of SMU's and the School of Business' 20th anniversary, as well as the P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund's fifth anniversary.

Said Mr Tung: "As Sheng Ye Capital explores opportunities in Singapore, we are committed to local talent development. I hope that my additional gift will allow more aspiring young entrepreneurs to act on their passion and kick-start their journey into the world of entrepreneurship."

SMU president Lily Kong said: "I would like to express our appreciation to Jeff for his significant gift to support the growth of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in SMU.

"The university has plans to step up efforts to cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship talent by scaling up our programmes and support towards venture-backed start-ups."

The P.A.K Entrepreneurship Fund aims to support entrepreneurship activities undertaken by the university's Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE), such as providing advice and guidance to student entrepreneurship club Eagles Inc, as well as the P.A.K. Challenge, an annual business plan competition for aspiring student entrepreneurs.

Between 2016, when the P.A.K. Challenge was launched, and last year, more than 460 students had taken part in the competition.

Ms Vera Sun, the co-founder of KpopKart and runner-up of the P.A.K. Challenge last year, said: "Our team was able to further iterate our product to reach out to a much larger pool of K-pop audience worldwide, across 60 countries.

"We couldn't have done these without the support of the P.A.K. community."

KICK-START FOR YOUNG TALENT

As Sheng Ye Capital explores opportunities in Singapore, we are committed to local talent development. I hope that my additional gift will allow more aspiring young entrepreneurs to act on their passion and kick-start their journey into the world of entrepreneurship.

MR JEFF TUNG, who graduated from the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business in 2013. He is the founder and chairman of Sheng Ye Capital, a Hong Kong-listed supply chain financing company.

With the new gift, the P.A.K. Challenge will serve as the Singapore Round for the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition - IIE's flagship start-up competition.

SMU participants in the P.A.K. Challenge will be coached on skillsets such as developing concept plans and pitching strategies. Cash prizes for the winning teams will be increased, with the top prize of $50,000.

Winning teams will also be inducted into the network circle to support future challenges through knowledge-sharing and mentorship.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2020, with the headline 'SMU receives $1 million from alumnus to boost entrepreneurship'. Subscribe