Largest alumni gift of $1 million to boost entrepreneurship at SMU

Largest alumni gift of $1 million to boost entrepreneurship at SMU

Friday Oct 23,2015

Two alumni who graduated from SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB) in 2013 – Jeff Tung Chi Fung and Benjamin Twoon Wai Mun – have come together to set up a $1 million P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund at LKCSB.

This is the largest gift to SMU by our alumni to date.

With 1-to-1 government matching, the total sum of $2 million will support a LKCSB Entrepreneurship Club, called Eagles Incubator, and an annual business plan competition. 

Speaking at the launch event on 10 October 2015 which was attended by more than 50 SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni, Professor Gerry George, Dean of LKCSB said, “On behalf of SMU and LKCSB, I would like to express our appreciation to Jeff and Benjamin for this first significant alumni gift of its kind. Their contribution exemplifies the SMU ethos of giving back to society and paying it forward for the next generation of students.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to economic growth and sustainability of Singapore. Entrepreneurship is part of our DNA at SMU.  Whether it is undergraduate or postgraduate levels, we have courses, talks and activities to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. The P.A.K Entrepreneurship Fund is an investment into the future of our students and in nurturing entrepreneurial talent in Singapore.”

Jeff Tung is the founder and CEO of Sheng Ye Financial Group, which invigorates numerous quality SMEs in the Greater China region via Factoring and Financial Leasing. Explaining the name of the Fund, he said "It starts with Passion, ignited by a spirit of Adventure, and the courage to Kickstart your ideas. ‘P.A.K.’ stands for what we believe are the three core tenets of Entrepreneurship.

“Our key objectives of setting up the Entrepreneurship Fund are to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit amongst SMU students and to support the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in SMU. In addition, it is to show our support to SMU by giving back to our alma-mater and to inspire other alumni to do the same,” Jeff elaborated.

Benjamin Twoon added, “I am a firm believer that the next wave of innovation and progress of our country will be driven by entrepreneurship. We need to embed the spirit of adventure and passion for making a difference in our youths and young adults. Through an active student body, supported by committed faculty and tapping industry expertise, we can build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports, spurs and challenges our next generation to move out of their comfort zones to realise their ideas and push their boundaries. To do that, we need a spark, and we hope the P.A.K Entrepreneurship Fund can be that spark that sets off the flame of entrepreneurship.” Benjamin is currently the Country Director for Fundnel, a regional fintech company focused on raising capital for startups and private businesses.

[Caption: Jeff Tung (right) and Benjamin Twoon (left) with Associate Prof Low Aik Meng, Director of Office of Alumni Relations.]

Eagles Incubator will be mentored by a faculty member from the Entrepreneurship Concentration at LKCSB. Activities organised by the club will include networking and mentoring events for students, alumni entrepreneurs and the University’s faculty members. The name of the club was coined by LKCSB students as it connotes an eagle’s eagerness to spread their wings and soar higher and higher.

The Fund will also support an annual business plan competition which is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs at SMU. Winners of the competition will receive cash awards to further develop their business ideas.

Marc Lee Shao Wei, President of Eagles Incubator, said “Eagles Incubator aims to be the entrepreneurial haven where would-be entrepreneurs will be mentored, groomed, trained and challenged to translate their innovative ideas and concepts into businesses for the future.”

Marc outlined the five strategies the club has adopted to achieve this aim. They are:

·        Members will learn about entrepreneurship through experiential learning such as industry visits, networking sessions, and mentorship programmes.

·        Students would form teams to come up with solutions to real problems.

·        Expand the business horizons of young entrepreneurs by opening their eyes to opportunities in our neighbouring countries through talks by foreign entrepreneurs, and even overseas industry visits.

·        Build a strong culture of mutual support and encouragement within the Eagles community.

·        Organise a business plan competition as a platform for all SMU students to make a business case out of their innovation solutions

 

[Featured photo: Jeff Tung (centre) and Benjamin Twoon (right) presented a cheque of $1 million to Dean of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business Professor Gerry George for the establishment of the P.A.K Entrepreneurship Fund.]