"Two Singapore Management University (SMU) alumni have donated S$1 million to set up a new entrepreneurship fund at the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB), marking the university's largest gift by its alumni to date. The two alumni are Mr Jeff Tung and Mr Benjamin Twoon, who graduated from LKCSB in 2013. Mr Tung is the founder and CEO of Sheng Ye Financial Group, while Mr Twoon is he Country Director for regional financial techonlogy company Fundnel."Channel NewsAsia, 11 Oct 2015
SMU Office of Alumni Relations talks to Jeff and Benjamin on their motivations for giving back.
Tell us more about yourself. When did you graduate from SMU and what are you currently pursing now in your life and career?
Jeff: I am a proud LKCSB graduate from the Class of 2013. On graduation, I started my current venture - Sheng Ye Financial Group. One of its core businesses is Factoring and Financial Leasing. This firm dynamically revitalises the cash flow of quality enterprises in the Greater China Region, via rigorous risk control and technology adoption, such as cloud computing. I am glad that our Group has been making steady progress since its inception in December 2013; our team has increased from 3 to the current 64 staff. I am aware of the challenges ahead, but I am confident that the best is yet to come! What I have always aspired is to make a positive impact on the young generation both in Singapore and China in this 'New Economy'.
Benjamin: I graduated in 2013, from the School of Business (majoring in finance). I was part of the SMU Ambassadorial Corps, and had many pursuits outside of the classroom which included two OCIPs and five internships. I am currently a founding member of a Regional Fintech firm, Fundnel.
How has your SMU experience shaped you as a person or helped you in your career thus far?
Jeff: Since early childhood, my father, a veteran entrepreneur, has fuelled my curiosity for business. I find certainties quite discomforting. I embrace situations where I have to create opportunities even if there aren’t any. Throughout my SMU journey, I have had a taste of entrepreneurial ventures, such as the Colors! Bistro and ThatGreenMan LLP. I also explored business opportunities during my overseas endeavors such as Summer School at St. Gallens in Switzerland, studies at Harvard University, and university exchange at Shanghai Jiaotong University, China. These stints have undoubtedly reaffirmed my conviction that I want to be a 'Different U', and made me who I am today.
Benjamin: The SMU experience gave me the courage to do things that I never thought possible. While grounding me with the technical skills that allowed me to land my first job in a bank, the education always challenged me to do more and better. This contributed to my eventual decision to join Fundnel, where the work we do aims to transform the way people invest in start-ups and private businesses.
It is great to hear SMU alumni so enthusiastic in contributing back to the University for a worthy cause! Tell us how this idea to fund the entrepreneurial aspirations of students at LKCSB came about and how you and your friends came together to raise the funds.
Jeff: I experienced great satisfaction starting my own business, so I envision that students will also find great contentment if their exciting ideas come to fruition! Further, during my OCSP at Henan Province in China with Project Dandelion, I saw the need to give back to society in any way I can. My days with LKCSB were also very memorable and I wanted to express my gratitude. All these motivated me to want to make a contribution. I have a group of entrepreneurial friends who are like-minded, and when I shared my intention with Benjamin, he was equally excited. After rounds of discussion amongst ourselves, and with advice from faculty, we eventually nailed it down to raising funds to foster the Entrepreneurship ecosystem in SMU.
Benjamin: This had been a work in progress for almost a year. Jeff and I first conceived the idea when we were thinking of how we could give back in a meaningful and impactful way. In the end, we thought of entrepreneurship as a worthy cause as it was something we both felt passionately about. In the end, we decided to take the “just do it” approach, instead of procrastinating, and that was how we made it happen.
Tell us more about this student-led entrepreneurship club - which will be known as the LKCSB Entrepreneurship Club (LKSCB-EC).
Jeff: As an entrepreneur, I believe that the biggest hurdle may not be funding, but rather the lack of a conducive and competitive environment to nurture entrepreneurship. From my observation, I find that many in our generation do not have a strong urge to take the road less travelled, and prefer stability. What's worse, calculated risk-taking is not whole-heartedly championed. As a result, some exciting ideas do not have the chance to see the light of day. I hope that this Club will encourage budding entrepreneurs to take on challenges, and we are here to lend our support.
Benjamin: We are extremely excited to have the entrepreneurship club set up, for students, by students. I never knew that so many entrepreneurs existed in SMU. Having interviewed every single one of the Exco, it's amazing to hear their stories and how they juggle both school work and their businesses. This is the platform that hopes to gather all these students, and support them with an ecosystem of current student entrepreneurs, faculty, alumni and external organisations.
What do you hope to see in the future for this club?
Jeff: Hopefully, this Club will embolden entrepreneurs-to-be, guided by mentors, to bravely take the leap of faith, and in so doing foster the entrepreneurial spirit in SMU and ultimately Singapore!
Benjamin: We hope for the club to inspire and support students not just in SMU, but in Singapore, to create a culture of embracing entrepreneurship. Also, we hope for these students to eventually find success and give back to this ecosystem, to ensure its sustainability.
We are deeply encouraged by alumni like yourself who are passionate in helping the SMU community. Any words for fellow alumni?
Jeff: Age is just a number, do the hard things!
Benjamin: Let’s join hands, do our part and give back to our Alma Mater! There is great joy in seeing our juniors inspired and benefitting from our contributions.
|Benjamin (second from right) and Jeff (far right)|
Last updated on 13 Jun 2016 .