Business idea translates into rare internship opportunity

The rising trend of young adults being part of the ‘gig economy’ prompted Lim Xing Yi to participate in the inaugural Singapore Valley Awards, an annual entrepreneurship award which aims to promote innovation and hone business acumen among undergraduates in Singapore.

Little did he expect that his business idea, Wande, would lead him to a rare chance to intern at China Internet portal 2345.com.

Xing Yi, who recently completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Information and Communications Technology (Software Engineering) with Honours, was one of nine winners of the competition, opened to undergraduates from the six autonomous universities in Singapore. Conceived by a group of entrepreneurs with China-centric businesses, the award offers students with the most compelling business ideas, an attachment in China to acquire deeper knowledge of the huge market.

Wande is a solution for freelancers, housewives, retirees and students in today’s sharing economy. Xing Yi proposed a mobile application which links both service providers and consumers in a one-stop marketplace. It enables service providers to promote and sell their services, from cooking, sports, music and driving lessons, to photography and graphic design, childcare, pet sitting and massage sessions, via a common mobile platform.

The 31-year-old pitched his business idea to a panel of judges, including founders of Chinese tech giants Alibaba and 2345.com, as well as venture capitalists. He impressed the judges to win a three-month internship at 2345.com in Shanghai, and S$2,000 per month during the attachment.

Xing Yi at the Singapore Valley Award presentation ceremony on 23 March 2018.

“This is an excellent opportunity as the internship will give me first-hand access to China’s start-up ecosystem and also expose me to a different environment and culture,” said Xing Yi, who will be heading to Shanghai in mid-April. He reckoned that it was his entrepreneurial spirit and work experience that gave him the winning edge. Prior to joining SIT, Xing Yi had worked for three years as a web developer at a marketing agency. He jumped at the chance to study ICT (Software Engineering) at SIT when the degree programme was launched in 2014.

“I’m passionate in creating something that is useful and valuable to the community. I like to think of ideas that could solve some pain points or enhance our lives. Being in software engineering allows me to create low-cost prototypes to test out my ideas,” commented Xing Yi, who hopes to start his own company one day.

“As the pioneer batch of ICT students, I have acquired much technical skills and knowledge which are relevant to the industry, through numerous team projects and the one-year Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). I have also honed my business and soft skills via various value-added programmes and the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) offered by SIT.”

SIT wishes Xing Yi every success in his internship and as he ventures on his entrepreneurial journey.

Sharing the joy with Xing Yi were (from left) A/Prof Ivan Lee, Vice President (Industry & Community), SIT; Prof Loh Han Tong, Deputy President (Academic) & Provost, SIT; and A/Prof Indriyati Atmosukarto, Deputy Programme Director, ICT, SIT.