Preparing for the Start-up World after your Diploma

Thinking of joining at start-up or coming up with your own venture after graduation from polytechnic? Here’s how you can get a headstart.
Anne Grace Savitha
Writer, gradsingapore
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Fancy starting your own business or working in a young and dynamic environment in a start-up upon finishing your diploma? While you’re still in school, there are many ways to prepare yourself for this path!

1. Take up entrepreneurship modules

Polytechnics pride themselves for empowering students with skills and technical expertise for the real world. All second-year students at the Singapore Polytechnic can apply for the Entrepreneurship module, which does not have any minimum GPA requirement. Neither will the grades gained in the module count towards the students’ GPA, fostering a less stressful environment for business and creativity to blossom.

Other than opting for modules related to entrepreneurship, there are longer term trainings which can equip you better to solve problems with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Riding on the entrepreneurial wave, the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Startup Talent Factory offers the chance to earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship under SkillsFuture. The work-study programme designed for fresh polytechnic graduates and ITE graduates is conducted over nine months to a year.

In this course, students will get to understand business models, financial management for start-ups and how to come up with business plans, and mostly importantly, learn how to pitch an idea to investors and clients. The polytechnic also provides funds to students with promising ideas for entrepreneurship.

2. Look out for incubators and opportunities

In the same vein, polytechnics are also active breeding grounds for start-ups, providing support to grow entrepreneurial ideas by students.

Pollinate is one such new incubator and is a joint initiative between Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. It is focused on start-ups which have survived the early set-up phase. It helps start-ups to enhance the scale of their operations from the idea creation stage right up to the commercialisation of the products and marketing.

If you want to work for a start-up or set up your own upon graduation, be sure to keep an eye on the developments and grants which you can tap on!

 3. Train to be a Jack of all Trades

You need to wear different hats at a start-up where the job description for each staff is fluid! You can get to try different job roles with start-ups due to such flexibility.

As a young graduate from the polytechnic, this serves as good exposure at the start of your career. Learn as much as you can while gaining new experiences. The opportunity to be part of something new, exciting and possibly big can open new doors for your future.

4. Network and expand your circle

You should also get to know the start-up scene well, so that you can be well supported by your peers who have similar careers and lifestyles. You also need to maintain your networks of potential partners or clients.

In short, make sure you know what you’re signing up for when you choose a start-up role upon finishing your diploma. There will be sacrifices – and you need to know if they’re worth it and how best to prepare yourself!