Entrepreneurs are universally celebrated, but what if modern-day entrepreneurship is creating ventures that do more harm than good?
While the great entrepreneurs of the past were lauded for their breakthrough innovations, can the same be said of modern-day enterprises that rake in profits without making a single sale, stifle competition and monetise data captured through monitoring people's behaviour online?
The good or harm done by modern-day entrepreneurs is the focus of this year's Straits Times Education Forum, presented by Singapore Management University.
Come and listen to a robust debate on the motion: "Entrepreneurs today do more harm than good". Arguing the motion are cyborg rights activist Aral Balkan, Ashoka Country Director for Singapore and Malaysia Sumitra Pasupathy, SMU Provost Professor Timothy Clark and SMU Associate Professor of Strategic Management Reddi Kotha.
This year's debate speakers will also include junior college and polytechnic students as well as SMU alumni. The event will also be on FB Live from 10am on April 6. Follow the debate at The Straits Times' Facebook.
Motion for the debate: Entrepreneurs today do more harm than good
Speakers for the motion: Aral Balkan and Sumitra Pasupathy
Speakers against the motion: Professor Timothy Clark and Associate Professor Reddi Kotha
Cyborg activist, software developer and co-founder of Ind.ie
Aral Balkan is a cyborg rights activist, designer and software developer. He is co-founder of Ind.ie, a two-person-and-one-husky not-for-profit working for social justice in the digital and networked age and co-author of the Ethical Design Manifesto and Universal Declaration of Cyborg Rights.
At Ind.ie, Aral works on the Hypha project to create a peer-to-peer web and Better Blocker, a privacy tool that protects you from being tracked on the centralised Web. He is a frequent speaker at many events, including the Digital Social Innovation Fair 2018 and FutureFest.
He is not a fan of Silicon Valley or surveillance capitalism (to put it mildly) and has called for people to support sustainable businesses in the common interest. He calls these "stay-ups", instead of Silicon Valley's disposable and surveillance-based "start-ups". He maintains that the antidote to surveillance-based Big Tech is Small Tech made by humans for humans.
Ashoka Singapore and Malaysia
Sumitra Pasupathy has more than 20 years of experience initiating and leading innovation globally across the private and public sectors. Presently in a leadership role with Ashoka Innovators for the Public in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and South-east Asia, she spearheads work related to social entrepreneurship and empowerment of young people.
Prior to Ashoka, Sumitra co-founded Playeum, an award-winning education content provider centred on creativity for children and families, as well as initiatives with organisations such as Procter & Gamble and Bertelsmann/Random. She holds several awards, including the British Council Lien Foundation "Creativity for Social Change" Fellow, Chevening Scholar and Procter & Gamble innovation award. She sits on several boards, is a stakeholder of the OECD 2030 Learning Framework and has authored publications on education and the future of work.
Trained as a chemical engineer from Cambridge University, Sumitra is an experienced facilitator and speaker at platforms such as the World Economic Forum.
Professor Timothy Clark
Professor Timothy Clark is Singapore Management University's new Provost, effective April 1, 2019. He is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Social Sciences and Health) at Durham University, where he is also Executive Lead for Computer and Information Services and Estates and Buildings.
Prof Clark joined Durham University as Professor of Organisational Behaviour (2002-2019). He served as Chair of the Board of Studies (Head of Department) at Durham University Business School (2007-2010), Dean of Graduate School and Internationalisation (2010-12) and Dean and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) (2012-2015).
Prof Clark is a past Chair (2009) and President (2011) of the British Academy of Management and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the British Academy of Management. He was made an inaugural Academic Fellow of the International Council of Management Consultancy Institutes in 2013 and Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy in 2015.
Prof Clark was an editor/general editor of the Journal of Management Studies (2000-2010).
Associate Professor Reddi Kotha
Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Associate Professor of Strategic Management
Academic Director, Master of Science in Innovation
Reddi Kotha is an Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Singapore Management University (SMU). He is the Academic Director of Master of Science in Innovation and an Academic Co-advisor of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at SMU. He teaches courses on market validation of business ideas for undergraduates and masters students. He has taught courses in innovation, strategy and entrepreneurship for students and managers at Mitsui and other corporates.
Reddi has a PhD in entrepreneurship from London Business School and an MBA from Babson College. Prior to pursuing his MBA, he helped set up a distribution business in Coastal Andhra Pradesh.
He researches the design of innovation systems in large firms, how entrepreneurs can scale up and the commercialisation of university science. In 2018, Reddi and his collaborators were awarded a three-year Social Science Research Thematic Grant by the Singapore Ministry of Education to study the challenges faced by Singapore start-ups.
Chua Mui Hoong
Opinion Editor, The Straits Times
Mui Hoong is Opinion Editor at The Straits Times. She has been with the paper since 1991, covering political and social issues, and is best known as a commentator on political affairs.
She has travelled with Singapore ministers, covering their visits to the United States, China, Japan, Europe, South-east Asia and Africa. She was part of a Straits Times team that spent two years interviewing Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and writing the best-selling book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going (2011).
An English literature graduate from Cambridge University, she went on to do a Master's in Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School in 2002.
She has authored or edited five books, including Pioneers Once More: The Singapore Public Service 1959-2009 (2010) and the latest, Singapore, Disrupted (2018). She is also a regular speaker or moderator at events organised by The Straits Times, National Library Board, think-tanks and universities.