My Start-Up Journey
This is what our startup is about: Solar 3 in 1 Hybrid Solution
So how did we get started? We believe that Clean tech is still very much in an infant stage in Singapore but will be an industry for the future. also there are freat opportunities looming in this industry as Singapore strives to become the Clean Energy Hub in the region and of course we are doing social good and saving the environment with technology.
So who was involved? Founders, Zhang Yiyang and me met during the NUS Overseas College (NOC) Shanghai program
- What is the NOC Program – the NUS Overseas Colleges programme is a highly innovative programme set to change the way students view the future. Program participants will embark on a one year stint in the college of choice (Shanghai, Beijing, Silicon Valley, Bio Valley, Stockholm, India) and be very well immersed in the entrepreneurial-academic environments of leading entrepreneurial hubs around the world. Intern with start-up companies for up to a year and learn from the very best by interacting with the founders of these companies and feel the similar adrenaline rush they experience while learning the ropes on starting a company.
- The choice to being an entrepreneur has very much to do with the NOC program where we were constantly exposed to the entrepreneurial environment.
- This has further stirred up the interest and induced us to take the first step ahead in embracing the challenges of starting-up.
- we both shared the same belief in putting technology to greater social good and benefits and that is the main reason we are able to march towards our goals dauntlessly.
How did this idea came about? This great opportunity wouldn’t have chanced upon us if not for the Industry and Liaison Office (ILO) of NUS Enterprise.
- The ILO is a division within NUS Enterprise that manages the inventions and patents of the University’s Research. As we seek entrepreneurial opportunities, we chanced upon the Solar 3-in-1 Hybrid System which Dr. MNA Hawlader, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, NUS, has invented and filed a patent for.
- After meeting and liaising with the ILO Office as well as the inventor, we took up the challenge of realizing this technology into something that could bring about great benefits to people.
- Since then, Soleil Water has never turned back as we march towards the dream the team has envisioned.
Why the need for our technology? Electricity is of especially high value, compared to decades back with the increase in prices of fossil fuels. Increased in carbon emission due to the higher electrical consumption of the world today. Thus, there is a need to find alternative sources of energy. We believe that electricity is too precious to carry out activities such as heating water and should be put into use in other ‘electricity-irreplaceable’ fields like powering a computer. Our technology focuses on harnessing renewable and recyclable sources of energy to run systems that can be “electricity-replaceable”
What’s our barrier? The biggest barrier is not the competition from the market or any large MNC that would kill us immediately but 2 important element.
Where do you get your money to survived? The definition of a startup means you have very few resources to employ and little time to get them to do something valuable. The clock is always ticking, and the money (if you even have any) is running out by the day. With so little to leverage, you need to make sure that the focus of your company’s product offer is as razor sharp as possible. As recent graduates we are already indebted with heavy school loans, so taking the first steps into entrepreneurship was certainly not what a usual graduate would do. Moreover, taking into consideration of the market environment right now, it may be a better option to look for a job. There were many times when both of us had thoughts of putting this dream aside due to financial difficulties.
However, as we look closer into our dreams and ambitions, we cam to this crossroad of picking a choice between “Working 9 to 5” or “Making a difference to people’s life”. We chose the latter and continued to persevere on. Also, the availability of funds from various government bodies such as Spring and EDB has definitely overthrown the claim that “You need huge capital to start up a business” and it is the availability of these funds that allowed aspiring entrepreneurs without a silver spoon to have a shot at starting up.
Does your family supports you? Family Support is the most important part of starting a business. The inertia to risk-taking within Singaporeans is especially high when you are a graduate fresh from the university. Not many people will essentially get the support from family members when it is a social norm to “start earning money upon graduation” and not “borrowing money to fund a startup” Starting-up will be of a greater challenge to people who are not financially sound.
In the case for me where I had a family to support and much of the tuition loan to repay throughout the years, starting up is like an uphill challenge to him. In spite of these challenges and obstacles the team faces, it is ultimately the family support which was received that further spurred the young entrepreneurs on.
Will passion really overcome reality? That is the question that really have not been answer.