Entrepreneurship is not about wealth, freedom or prestige. There is only one reason to become an entrepreneur: the passion to run one’s own business, according to Kelvin Teo (BAC Hons 2010), Director, Funding Societies.
“You need to be 100 percent sure why you are venturing out. And you believe that you’re better off failing in a start-up than succeeding in a MNC. Then do it and never look back,” he said.
Kelvin left his consulting job at a multinational firm and early this year, he co-founded Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer marketplace for SMEs to secure loans for growth.
Funding Societies engages an international escrow agency that is registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to manage funds, making it one of the most secure crowdfunding platforms in the island nation. The company has already helped financed more than 10 SMEs.
Kelvin grew up in a humble environment and, as a result, was keen to find ways where he could give back to the society. During his graduate studies in the US, Kelvin saw the successful impact of peer-to-peer lending and was convinced this model of financing would take off in Singapore.
“SMEs lack funds for growth and casual investors lack robust short-term investment options. We believe peer-to-peer lending could really help to build stronger SMEs and safeguard investors’ hard-earned savings against inflation,” he said.
NUS Business School was an important starting point of his entrepreneurship journey. “My experiences in the School’s various entrepreneurship-related initiatives showed me that it is possible to have a career as entrepreneur,” he said.
And his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? “We should devote ourselves to things that we’re passionate about, things that we are better than anyone else, and things that make money. Some can meet the three requirements early, while others later; but just do it.”