Secondary students from all over Asia took part in ThinkYoung’s 30th Entrepreneurship School this week from July 31 to August 4. Held annually at the University of Hong Kong, Entrepreneurship School started in 2011 based on the idea that current methods in universities weren’t teaching students how to become successful entrepreneurs.
“As entrepreneurs ourselves, there wasn’t a place that could teach us how to create and grow a start-up. So we built it,” said Andrea Gerosa, Founder of ThinkYoung. ThinkYoung is a think tank that focuses on creating training and education programmes which empower youth to make positive changes in society.
The five-day programme is competition-based. Each team proposes a business idea and spends the week building their financial and business plans. The participants are also given networking opportunities through Q&A sessions with successful entrepreneurs who can give students advice about the different aspects of starting a business from scratch.
In Wednesday’s interview session, Jennifer Chan, founder of local business Delta Think, spoke to students about her entrepreneurial experience in Hong Kong.
Oscar So, 16, from Hong Kong International School, said, “One thing that really interested me today was when Jennifer ... talked about how millennials don’t like being controlled in the work environment very much and cared more about freedom, as freedom actually drives creativity, and the motivation to work harder.”
Gabby Caselis, 17, from St Margaret’s Co-ed also commented, “My group was struggling with how to handle marketing, and the entrepreneur that came in was actually an expert in marketing, so it was perfect. These sessions are really more personal and the mentors make us take the initiative, which helps us learn.”
ThinkYoung provides a platform to learn from entrepreneurs with real-life experience of what it takes to succeed. This success in the harsh reality of the business world makes them effective teachers of true entrepreneurship.
The international NGO wants to break down educational norms by creating a comfortable environment for young potential entrepreneurs to grasp new concepts.
Kevin Speranza, 17, from British School Jakarta said, “It’s a very inclusive place for learning what it means to run a business, and how to become your own boss.”
ThinkYoung organises Entrepreneurship Schools in Europe, Asia, and Africa every year, giving more than 600 young people the opportunity to learn from the first-hand experience of successful business leaders, and the skills to create a company.
Kevin also said, “An entrepreneur is not just a businessman; it is someone who has an idea, and someone who has the guts to execute that idea. What I’ve learned is that the execution is most important, not the idea.
“The school allows students to take the lead in their business ventures and aims to give students a kick-start into the world of entrepreneurship,” Oscar added.
“Entrepreneurship is based on a lot of failures, and I think that’s something I can learn from as well.”