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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Festival 2017

Peh Min Hui, Economics and Public Policy & Global Affairs

14 - 22 September 2017

The Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) kicked off the 2017 Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) Festival with the Nao Marketplace on 14 September. The E&I Festival is a week of entrepreneurship and innovation-themed activities spearheaded by NTC to promote the spirit of entrepreneurialism amongst NTU students.

The exciting week of entrepreneurship-based talks, excursions and other activities started off with the ‘Taking the first step’ forum, which was meant to guide and encourage students in starting off their entrepreneurship journey. The panelists included Ms K Latha, head of Business Registration at the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) as well as the ACRA Academy; Mr Luke Lim, senior consultant at Acrest Business Services; Mr Ian Gregory Tan, co-founder and creative director of Witching Hour studios; and Mr Alvin Tan, managing director at Sureclean Pte Ltd. The panelists drew extensively from their own experiences to give budding entrepreneurs in the audience tips and tricks on establishing, running and promoting their own businesses.

The next talk given by Mr Alexander Yuen, magician and manager at Meta Illusions, proved to be very popular with the students. Mr Yuen enthralled his lunchtime audience with signature magic tricks whilst delivering his talk on how one can turn one’s passions into a thriving business.

As part of the Minor in Entrepreneurship (MiE) speaker series, the Director of Nanyang Technopreneurship Center, Associate Professor Wen Yonggang shared his experience in conducting application-driven AI research. During his speech, titled ‘The AI wears PRADA: How to build an artificial intelligence start-up’, he explains to his audience how his research shapes his views of AI startups. He also introduced PRADA, a framework he uses to build two AI startups right here at NTU.

One of the most anticipated events of the E&I festival was the talk given by Mr Claude Nicollier, a Swiss European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut. A crewmember on 4 space shuttle flights, he has logged more than 1000 hours in space, including a spacewalk of more than 8 hours duration to install new equipment on the Hubble Space Telescope. After retiring from the ESA in 2007, Mr Nicollier joined the Swiss Space Center and is now an Honorary Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology where he teaches a course on Space Mission Design and Operations. He spoke about the uniqueness and hostility of the space environment and how human ingenuity has overcome these obstacles to send the first astronauts into space. During the Q&A segment of the talk, Mr Nicollier and his audience drew parallels between the entrepreneurship journey and mankind’s advancement towards spaceflight, exploring shared challenges and above all, the common need for resilience and adaptivity.

Interspersed between these talks were excursions and movie screenings organized by NTC. In collaboration with Student Community Engagement and CoLab4Good, students were given the opportunity to visit the Human+ exhibition at the ArtScience Museum. They also arranged an evening screening of “Ghost in the Shell” for students.

Overall, the 2017 Enterpreneurship and Innovation Festival was extremely well received. With speakers coming from a variety of backgrounds, and ample opportunities for students to attend AI related events outside of school, NTU students were definitely spoilt for choice.​