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Feb 04, 2019

Singapore Reflection - Zoe Rookes

It is great to hear the whole journey of starting up a business and getting told everything from the hardest times to the best times


In the time leading up to this trip I was quite nervous about how hard this trip might be and of meeting all the others. However my expectations were completely blown out of the water, the other students were the best bunch of people ever and the trip was amazing. I learnt so much over this six day trip and took away so much for me to now apply to my business and studies. 


My passion was confirmed on this trip, business, the Young Enterprise Scheme introduced me to the world of business and to have been given the opportunity to further find my passion I am truly grateful.  The balance of cultural and business activities was just right to get a great sense of all things business, to day to day life for Singaporeans.


Waka Ama and Sentosa Island were great as it was good to see New Zealand culture present in Singapore which was a surprise to me as I was not expecting to see such a Maori presence there, it was very cool to see. The beach was also all man made on Sentosa which was a high contrast to NZ as all of our beaches are natural. Gems was very interesting as I have always wanted to to find out what an international school was like and how the classes may differ to school in New Zealand. I was surprised by how relaxed the business class we went to was, was not what I was expecting. Meeting the students and working with them on a mini business challenge was great as we could ask questions about Singapore and find out more about the students. Our session at Gems with Tracey Hamilton was amazing, and inspired me to set goals for the week and really see what I wanted to get out if it. She also helped with realising our strengths and how to be our best which was helpful to begin the trip and think deeper about ourselves. Identifying our strengths gave me a new sense of confidence and helped me to have a better understanding of myself.  


Haji Lane and Chinatown were amazing activities that embedded ourselves in the mixtures of culture in Singapore. We could try new foods, look at all the different stalls and learn some of the languages. These places weren’t just beautiful to look at but provided us with an experience many of us had never been in before. The contrast between the business world and the traditional markets was interesting as these places were not as sophisticated but showed the founding culture of Singapore. Trying the new foods was a highlight for me, the food was so good and cheap over there so I was trying to make the most of it. In the food markets there was so much choice and so many people, making it hard to decide what to get. The mystery of not 100% knowing what you were getting due to the language barrier at some places added to the experience and excitement of these places. However the excessive use of plastic surprised me for a country that seems to pride itself on being so clean these is definitely a lot of unnecessary wastage. The food markets got us to interact with locals and learn to communicate with them. 


Visiting the Art Science Museum and Marina Bay Sands was amazing, everything was so modern and just beautiful. It was great to be able to see the buildings and places in which Singapore is famous for. Visiting the EF talks was very worthwhile for me as I have always wanted to see older business people pitch rather than YES students, I wanted to see if there was a difference. I took a lot of pointers from this for my own business group for our future pitches. The NZ Inc talks including the High Commissioner, NZTE Regional Director, NZTE Tech DBM were very interesting and gave me a good insight into the NZ life in Singapore. These also gave an honest NZ insight into the Singapore business and corporate world and useful facts about Singapore along with a political insight. 


Visiting WeWork was a great experience also, love hearing about how companies began and how they got to where they are, it was very inspiring. Sam Gibb was very honest and entertaining. I got a lot of takeaways from this talk about investment that I would otherwise have no idea about. Was extremely worthwhile for me and I will be bringing back the information to my business group as we look for investment opportunities. Our visit to Facebook was also amazing, the work space was so modern and colourful. It was great to hear about how Kiwi's are so successful and getting awesome jobs overseas and also hearing their stories of how they came to where they are today. The other companies that spoke were also very interesting and was great to hear how far a NZ company has come was very inspiring. Also awesome to hear the great reputation NZ has overseas. 90 Seconds was my favourite favourite talk along side Sam Gibb. Tim Norton was so engaging and it was truly inspiring to hear about being an entrepreneur in such an open and honest way. It is great to hear the whole journey of starting up a business and getting told everything from the hardest times to the best times which is something you don’t normally hear about. I took so much away with me that I will share with my business group. Virtual Room blew my mind and my expectations. I wasn’t too sure how real the experience was going to be but it was fun and a different challenge I had never done before. It was amazing to hear about how it began, a Kiwi woman this was very inspiring for me and gave me some great motivation for my future. The business challenge was also a great experience taking our learnings from our previous year of doing YES and using our fresh knowledge from our trip. Getting to work with the Singapore students was also a once in a lifetime experience and enabled me to grow my skills in communication and getting to know other people in the business world. Mike Matthews pitching talk was a valuable talk for me, as I had never been exposed to a pitching coach before and will direct this back to my business and studies. It was also great to hear about Mikes story and the pitches he has done and him sharing his expertise. 


Overall this was one of the best experiences of my life and I truly found my passion on this trip. 


Everything we did was interesting, exciting and I felt benefitted my learnings of the culture and business of Singapore. We had a great balance of activities and experiences as we wouldn't have gained the full objectives if we hadn't done a combination of these things. I was pushed out of my comfort zone with a new type of experience I had never done before. I have made lifelong friends and gained valuable life skills. I gained so much knowledge of the business opportunities in Singapore which I definitely was not aware of prior to this trip. I plan to use all my knowledge and learnings for my business as we are carrying on this year. I also plan to use it with my studies as I am doing commerce, and I want to use it as my motivation where ever my life takes me either an entrepreneur or working for a business as I now know this is what I definitely want to do. I am extremely grateful for having experienced this trip and meet so many amazing people. I will keep these connections for life and now I’m so excited to get started on my studies and continuing my startup business these year with my new found inspiration and motivation to make a mark in this world.