I found a few beautiful and creative gems in the ‘midst of zombies’. Who are they?

SCOOP recounts the exciting moments of four ITE students from Team RIPPED as they transformed old products into something new.

Youth Entrepreneurs Competition (YEC) 2018

As the Functional Lead for Innovation & Enterprise at the School of Business & Services of ITE College Central, Mr Benjamin Kwek (Ben) decided to share the opportunity with willing students who might be game enough for the challenge. YEC, which is organised by the Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC), is designed to ignite students to use their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to come up with an exciting business idea, in line with the theme. At the finals, students would turn their plans into reality so as to raise funds for their selected charities. YEC 2018 kicked off in November last year where participants were required to submit their Business Concept Paper based on the theme, ‘Zombie’. They would have to fine-tune their concept further if they make it to the semi-final and final rounds.

The Business Plan

Team RIPPED was keen on re-purposing fabrics because they believed in being environmentally friendly. Nabila Syuhada bte Mahbut (Nabila) drew on her past experience in business competitions. She suggested fabric recycling which combined her business knowledge with her passion for the environment so as to deliver a greater social impact. Chiang Lynnie (Lynnie) was supportive of this idea as she realised that people who make impulsive purchases for clothing often choose to dispose of them wastefully. Hence, they sought help from their friends and families to donate their pre-loved clothes as base material to create pouches for this competition, thus keeping their costs low. Courses such as Entrepreneurship and Principles of Marketing taught by Ben established the foundation of their business plan. They applied value-based strategies from these lessons to price their products.

Why select Singapore Environmental Council (SEC) as one of the beneficiaries?

Muhammad Mustaqim Bin Amir Hamzah (Mus) shared: “SEC’s mission and vision are aligned with ours. Hence, we wanted to go with them.” With that, 50% of the proceeds were given to SEC while the balance 50% were given to SDC.

The Challenges

For the three of them, it was their first time working together although they have been course mates from Higher Nitec in Human Resource & Administration since Year 1. They had their fair share of disputes over manufacturing methods and types of fabric to use. In addition, they also had a tough time in scheduling meetings as they were all preoccupied with school projects. Hence, Nabila tried to keep the team spirit high by constantly providing words of encouragement. While it was laudable that Lynnie took the initiative to devise a method of obtaining measurements for making the pouches, she could not have achieved precise and accurate measurements without the help from Tay Chee Han (Chee Han). Being the only engineering student in the team, Chee Han gave his valuable input on the measurement from an engineering perspective. He also encouraged the team to persevere on in spite of their tight schedule. Senior Lecturer (Maritime Business and Human Resource) Ms Iris Tham (Iris), who has 7 years’ of experience in leading students in fabric-related projects, closely mentored and guided the students in this competition. She even tapped on a previous group’s tie-dye fabric to aid their success. The product was Mus’ brainchild and he tried 10 different prototypes before guiding the team to the final product.

The Experience

The team made through to the final round of YEC. While they didn’t win the competition, they have learnt important skill sets and gained exposure which would help them in their future endeavours. With Ben’s vast business experience in Australia, his consultation sessions provided students with a realistic view of handling businesses. Mus shared that it was interesting to see everyone strive for the best. This motivates him to give his best in everything that he does. Lynnie shared that this competition has transformed her from being a procrastinator to an anticipator and she is now more focused on tasks instead of being preoccupied and easily distracted by other matters. Nabila’s goal is to study Diploma in Social Enterprise Management at the Republic Polytechnic. Hence, this experience has helped her to empathise with others during group projects and given her greater exposure and insights on social enterprises.  Chee Han too felt that he had learnt a lot from participating in this competition and it has given him greater confidence in himself.

One sentence to inspire readers: 

Mus and Lynnie shared: “Put aside distraction and JUST DO IT!”

Nabila shared: “Don’t regret something that you did, regret something you didn’t do.”

Iris encouraged readers: “Take a leap, just do it. If you think too hard, you cannot do anything.”

Quoted from Ben was: “Sometimes you need to learn how to give up something in order to do something else. You cannot expect a new result if you do the same thing repeatedly.”


#1: Mus was the one who introduced the sewing machine to the group!

#2: None of them have any prior sewing experience!

Indeed, there are no shortcuts to success. Qualities like determination, conscientiousness and novelty seeking are key to success.