SMCCI ended its inaugural youth entrepreneurship conference, ILLUMINATE 2019 on a high on 28th September 2019, as over 300 attendees participated in the event and witnessed the launch of its flagship incubation programme, Protégé Kita.
Championed by SMCCI and supported by Enterprise Singapore, Protégé Kita is designed for both aspiring entrepreneurs who are relatively new in their business journey as well as those who are looking to lead new product development in their existing companies. Tapping into Enterprise Singapore’s extensive experience in developing competitive enterprises and startups, SMCCI worked with the agency to bolster its efforts in nurturing aspiring entrepreneurs. “Structured programmes such as Protégé Kita will provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources to turn their ideas into sustainable business models. They will be closely guided by mentors from the business community who will sharpen their business acumen. For the mentors, nurturing aspiring entrepreneurs will bring a fresh approach to address market needs. Enterprise Singapore will continue working with SMCCI to support its goal of creating successful businesses,” said Ms Amreeta Eng, Director, Enterprise Services, Enterprise Singapore.
In its first pilot run in 2015, the programme had 30 aspiring entrepreneurs undergo rigorous training based on the Business Excellence Framework, an initiative that provides businesses with a roadmap to align their strategies and goals to their objectives for sustainable performance. Ms Dian Rasid together with her husband, Mr Noor Hadi, founders of RoseValley and Adi Media were crowned winners of the programme.
Mr Hamid, owner of Snap Balloons shared how Protégé Kita has shaped his entrepreneurial journey. He said, “Coming into Protege Kita with no business background, the programme had greatly enriched me with the business knowledge to start and grow my business idea.”
Another participant, Mr Nasruledy Hakim, owner of Hany’s The Brunchstore echoed his sentiments saying, “The programme has helped us in connecting us to more networks, opening more resources and giving us the knowledge needed to start a business. It is highly recommended for new start-ups to take part in Protégé Kita as it will greatly help in building their business further.”
Protégé Kita aims to provide participants with comprehensive training, mentoring, insights and exposure to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Singapore and the region. Participants will be guided and nurtured through a series of activities designed to build a strong foundation at the start of their entrepreneurship journey.
This rebooted version of Protégé Kita will require participants to attain business-specific milestones before transitioning into the latter stages of the programme. Each stage of the programme represents a progression in terms of structured support given to the business and is subdivided into 3 phases – the Bootcamp Phase, Mentorship Phase and Scaffolding Phase. The Mentorship and Scaffolding Phase are newly introduced to this run of Protégé Kita so as to provide sustained and holistic support in helping the entrepreneur build his business on a solid foundation.
The Bootcamp Phase will see the participants developing their key entrepreneurial capabilities and business ideas. Running over two months, participants will learn to convert their business ideas into effective business models from industry experts. The sessions held will be complemented with learning journeys, engagement sessions with experienced business owners and even mini challenges aimed at giving participants bite-sized experiences of running a business. At the end of this phase, teams will then be required to pitch for potential mentors.
One of the strong value propositions of an incubator programme like Protégé Kita is the provision of sustained and high quality mentorship. Under the Mentorship Phase, Protégé Kita provides successful participants a high quality 9-month long mentorship programme through the provision of a dedicated mentor. Participants will each be paired with a mentor who will guide and offer valuable insights on various issues at different stages, from business ideation to product development and business growth.
In the last leg of the programme spanning over 6 months, the Scaffolding Phase allows successful participants to gain access to crucial foundational resources which includes both physical and functional resources that are needed to build their enterprise. This includes access to resources for their growth support, corporate support, access to investors, access to co-working spaces, as well as links to both local and international stakeholders will be made available to them. This holistic support will ensure participants have the bandwidth to work “on their business” instead of being overly immersed “in their business”.
Chairman of Youth Entrepreneurship Network (YEN), Mr Imran Mohamed, who will be spearheading the project added, “What startups can expect is to work with partners like co-working spaces, mentors as well as investors in order to get the kind of traction, advice and market access that they need. Those who get on this programme will also have the opportunity to attend and take part in trade missions and business matching. These are all the organs of the Chamber that we would like to put behind these group of start-ups.”
The reinvigorated programme is set to kick off in the first quarter of 2020. Registration is now open and interested participants can log on to www.protegekita.smcci.org.sg/ for more details and register their interest in Protégé Kita.