(From L-R) Ng Kee Wan, Director, Electronic & Computer Engineering Division, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Peter Lam, Deputy Principal, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Pauline Swarbrick, Head of Sales, Southeast Asia, RS Components; and Eric Lee, Head of Technical Marketing, RS Components at the MOU signing ceremony
RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, has signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Singapore's Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) to plant the seed of entrepreneurship and innovation in the school's education programme.
This partnership includes the establishment of the first student-run RS Shop in Singapore, funded by the RS University programme. Two final-year Business Studies student entrepreneurs, Zane Tee Kai Li and Sebastian Alejandro Rozo, have been chosen by the school to run the retail operation under the guidance of RS and Ngee Ann Consumer Co-operative Society Limited.
As part of their entrepreneurship learning, RS will provide them with a start-up fund as well as training to master the RS eCommerce trade process and systems. Overall, the students will gain hands-on experience running a retail shop, including order-taking, stock and delivery management, as well as manpower decision-making.
"The Singapore government has continuously stressed the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in its next phase of economic development. The student-run RS Shop will be a unique endeavour to nurture entrepreneurial talents in a campus environment," said Pauline Swarbrick, Head of Sales, Southeast Asia, RS Components. "The MOU confirms our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to support the development of engineering research and entrepreneurship learning opportunities. This partnership further reiterates our commitment to industry and academic collaborations in Singapore to empower young engineers."
According to a joint media statement, NP has an established ecosystem to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the campus. From kickstart funds to incubator programmes, students have many avenues to develop and commercialise their ideas. The Sandbox is dubbed as the school's innovation and entrepreneurship playground.
"The RS Shop will provide an opportunity for students to run a real retail business. Eventually, we hope our students will be inspired to build and sell their own products through such real life exposures," said Patrice Choong, Director, The Sandbox, Ngee Ann Polytechnic. "Today, they can design and prototype their ideas in our laboratories, showcase their products in our virtual store and sell their creations. Interested students can easily buy these creations through an in-house app we have developed."
In addition to setting up the RS Shop, the MOU also involves an annual grant which supports initiatives that nurture engineering research and learning opportunities in NP. These can include book prizes and learning materials and tools such as 3D printers or new development kits such as Arduino, mbed and Raspberry Pi.
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