Vanigavettai, the Entrepreneurship Search, 2019

Author: Singaram
Sector: News
Industry: Events

Vanigavettai, the Entrepreneurship Search - a 5-month entrepreneurship program jointly organized by Nanyang Technological University Tamil Literary Society (NTU TLS), click here for their Facebook and Instagram, and Tamils Representative Council Youth Wing (TRC YW)click here for their Facebook and Instagram

Please note that all photo credits for Vanigavettai Finale go to Urban Shutters, which is also a sponsor for the program. Other photos are from NTU TLS, TRC YW and in the case of Sangae Muzhangu, NUS Tamil Language Society.

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Writer: Singaram, whose team Innovation Garage, an electronics ed-tech company targeted at kids, came in 2nd place at the Finale after an impressive LED display and a touching narrative

I am proud to have been a part of the inaugural Vanigavettai program that was marked by an excellent finale that left all in awe at the entrepreneurial instincts and technological capabilities of the participating youth.

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The success of the program was made even more impressive by the young age of the organizers and facilitators, most of whom were still students - some as young as 16!

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It was a fantastic experience going through this rigorous journey with well-crafted weekly coaching sessions from industry experts such as Ms Deborah Yogeswari (on Root Cause Analysis), Mr Jeremy Aruldoss (on Entrepreneurship), Mr Tam Shanmugam (on Business Strategies), Mr Kannan (Risk Assessment), Ms Annusia Balan (on Data Collection Methods) and Mr Prakash Somosundaram of Zeemart (on pitching and securing funding). Coupled with a workshop on Data Science & Analytics, the coaching sessions provided comprehensive guidance for participants to refine their ideas.

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The round-robin feedback session with the likes of Mr. Jay Varma, Mr. Kalai Arasu of Lacrion, Mr. Senthil of The Noteway Art Studio was highly beneficial to all teams.

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This round-robin feedback session was followed by a networking session with entrepreneurs like Mr. Vignesh, Vasantham celebrity and CEO of Jankosoft for all teams to get suggestions from experienced professionals on how to progress.

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The tangible outcomes from this entire process were customer research through surveys and interviews, improved product design and marketing, as well as a business proposal.

The organizing team also ensured it was not all work and no play through a fun 2-day bonding camp in NTU and Sentosa!

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It was highly rewarding to see all teams do justice to this rigorous mentorship program through their fantastic business pitches at the Vanugavettai Finale! The distinguished judges were (L-R): Mdm Sarojini Padmanathan (Director, Professional Matters & Cell Therapy Facility at Health Sciences Authority), Mdm Ranani Rangan (Director & COO, CPA Partnerships Pte Ltd), Mr Priveen Raj Naidu (CEO, Reapra Aviation Partners) and Mr Prakash Somosundram (Rainmaker, Zeemart).

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It was an intense fight among all the teams, with passionate pitchers and state-of-the-art technology aplenty!

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The worthy winners from Eduvision created a mobile app to enable parents to track their children's progress easily and had a seamless presentation with an aesthetically appealing PowerPoint and mobile app UI!

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We from Innovation Garage, as the 2nd prize winners, lit up the stage with our LED patterns on both cardboard blocks and caps, which we distributed to the judges! We left a lasting impact on the judges as we narrated our emotional story on impacting children's lives through self-designed electronic kits. The judges even promised to link us up with industry practitioners!

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The 3rd prize winners' Masala Bay's idea to grow the Indian culture in Singapore won support from the judges, especially Mr. Priveen Raj Naidu, CEO of Reapra Aviation Partners, who had once been in the tourism sector himself! The other teams put up equally enthralling pitches on topics ranging from safe drinking to ordering clothes that fit well (including a high-tech team awaiting patent acquisition!!) to AR-based food menus.

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After the first seven competing teams presented, the one-man-lion Sanjeevan Amor came up onstage to deliver arguably the most impactful and touching pitch for his workshop series Disability to Success which empowers the disabled by showcasing their talents through workshops. He highlighted the alarming 95% of PWDs who are unemployed. Kudos to the organizing team for giving him the chance to present this issue!

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It was also a masterstroke by the organizing team to include Mr. Gandhi of SME Centre @ SICCI as a speaker to show the ventures how they can move onto the next big stage through government funding and a speaker from Young Change Makers on organizing community projects like Vanigavettai itself.

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Giving air time as well to fascinating youth-led productions Athiyaayam and NUS' annual Sangae Muzhangu teasers successfully capped off an excellent 5-month program with an even more fantastic finale that gave several opportunities for Indian youth to realize their ventures.

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Born out of a noble thought to guide Indian youth in becoming more entrepreneurial through a strong support network, Vanigavettai has ensured that its participants now have a firmer standing and drive to turn their projects into successful commercial ventures. Moreover, why not, since the foundation stone has been laid so strong?

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The passionate team from TRCYW and NTU TLS have genuinely made history by organizing this first-of-its-kind entrepreneurship event by youth, for youth. This event has even sparked off an Entrepreneurship Interest Group to be heralded by Zhenghua Youth Executive Committee (YEC), one of the sponsors for the program!

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A special thanks from our team to Subbu, President of NTU TLS for inviting me to Vanigavettai after talks on the Tri Uni Tamil-AI exhibition, Arun Vasudev Krishnan, President of TRC YW, the two ladies who ran the whole programme - Priya and Kalyani, as well as all mentors, facilitators, sponsors and fellow participants who made this event possible!. Looking forward to Season 2!

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