3 Ed-Tech Startups Helping Youths Adapt To A Post-Pandemic World
Updated: Aug 14, 2020
This is the fourth piece in our Reactor Changemakers series, which discusses the multi-faceted, impact-driven role entrepreneurs play in our societies and communities. Dubbed the Zoomer generation, or Gen Z, youths born between the late 1990s and 2010s are increasingly are often characterised by their ‘wokeness’ towards social justice, climate action and a commitment towards civic-social activities. In Singapore, amid this disrupted reality, youths these days are facing a wave of new generational challenges, from workplace challenges to mental health stigma to struggling with higher costs of living.
CEO of the National Youth Council, Mr David Chua, said that there are a few ways to tackle the challenges faced by youths:
Empower our youth and journey with them.
Boost resilience - allow youth to explore, take risks and redefine success.
More avenues for service & civic participation - enlarge their sense of purpose.
Deepen social ties across diverse backgrounds.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF YOUTH HACKERPRENEURS
From starting up projects to running home-based businesses, youth today are more engaged than ever. With many virtual hackathons being organised for and by youths, there is a growing trend of young people who are increasingly trying to improve their communities by developing new ideas and solutions. COVID-19 has only accelerated this process.
In that same vein, the young team behind YouthHacks, Arya Vohra, Khush Jammu and Taichi Kato, 18, recently organised and led a virtual hackathon back in May— codeForCorona Hackathon, under MCCY’s Young ChangeMakers grant. Beyond running their tech startup Questo AI and YouthHacks, they believe that more can be done to inspire their peers to be changemakers as entrepreneurs-in-the-making — which is why they hosted a virtual hackathon for youths to design COVID-19-related solutions and mobile apps. ‘In these tumultuous times, it’s important to focus on doing what each of us can. Whether it’s buying groceries for your elderly neighbour or building a platform for volunteers, everyone has the power to make a difference’ says Khush.
YouthHacks hackathon founded by the trio, Arya, Khush and Taichi Credit: Author
As a fellow Gen Z student, I asked Khush what motivates him and his team to do the things they do.
“Doing small things by utilising your area of interest to make a difference. We’re interested in tech and thus try to encourage the youth to use tech to solve problems in this domain. Basically, creative problem solving is the most important thing right now,” he opined.
He further added, “Young people can do great things, and we need to enable them.”
Khush briefly shared with me some of the teams from the codeForCorona have made timely relevant products, and some of them do address some of the pressing problems we face presently.
FakeNewsBuster, a mobile app that helps users to address an important problem on circulation of ‘fake’ news. Hercules — a congestion tracker which uses crowdsourced public transport data to recommend users alternative travel paths/timings. Corona in a Box — an informative game that teaches you about the struggles of managing a pandemic outbreak.
From my past experiences in hackathons, these ideas show us that there’s a growing optimism to improve the communities around us.
SOFT SKILL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES, VIRTUAL WORK ATTACHMENTS FOR YOUTH
Founded by NUS students, Felix Tan and Ho Zhi Hui, and SUTD undergraduate Dody Senputra, Skilio, an ed-tech startup that develops and measures soft skills for youth, launched the Skilio Industry Immersion Programme, a month-long industry attachment, for students who have unfortunately been recalled from overseas internships and exchange programmes — to gain accelerated exposure to industry work while developing key soft skills for the future workforce.
Skilio Industry Immersion Programme Credit: Skilio
Running a total of 3 cohorts, with up to 243 students in 82 uniquely projects at 41 different companies, Skilio has garnered a sizeable following among students. These sheer numbers to Skilio’s programmes shows that youth these days are acutely aware that in order to thrive at work, one needs to be equipped with the right soft skills to adapt to the changing workplace. Soft skills such as creativity, leadership and empathy will be in demand, even as technological innovation changes the way work gets done, says consulting firm PWC. Felix shares that his startup is reaching out to companies to form partnerships, for which students can apply for jobs with a recognised Skilio credentials portfolio. In a post-COVID-19 world, adaptability, collaboration and communication will be 3 key soft skills that will be important. With remote working being a standard for most companies, there is a greater need to communicate well and collaborate in a virtual setting.
Personally, as an intern working across the screen, I could empathise with the woes of having soft skills for a remote, virtual work environment. It is something that helps youths thrive in a post-pandemic, remote-based world.
VIRTUAL ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR STUDENTS
Similarly, here at Reactor School, we actively help students turn their ideas into projects through our virtual EntreCamp. Alongside our Entrepreneurship programmes, our startup incubator programme has been working hand-in-hand with our student entrepreneurs to further develop their projects into full-fledged startups.
Head of Product, Lee Cher Han, shares with us his firsthand experience running virtual bootcamps with some of our partnering schools, British University Vietnam and All-In Eduspace.
‘When we had ‘live’ workshops, guiding the students on their prototype and pitching in person was much easier and straightforward. However, with the use of digital tools like Discord, Miro and Zoom, we were able to replicate a different form of experiential learning experience for students.’
He shared with me about Reactor’s upcoming plan on making virtual programmes a permanent feature of entrepreneurship education.
Reactor Virtual EntreCamp Credit: Reactor School
Through a virtual and flipped-learning approach, Reactor School have conducted workshops wherein students engage in collaborative design thinking discussions and prototyping through various online communication platforms.
The team behind Reactor is passionate about solving the world’s biggest problems. Our Head of Marketing Elaine Yeoh is a designer and digital marketer on an entrepreneurial mission to enhance mental wellbeing through bespoke design. Co-founder & Head of Branding of winning team The Mind Hyve at Startup Weekend Singapore 2020, she carries expertise in Corporate Identity Design & Digital Marketing in the startup space. We’re excited to continue sharing Elaine’s journey as she embarks on her new venture Shin.tsugi — improving youth mental wellbeing through personalised self-care.
While COVID-19 is here in the long haul, the drive and motivation of an entrepreneurial youth need not come to a grinding halt. With Reactor School’s virtual solution to EntreEd workshops, these youths can see their ideas and projects to fruition.
Unlike most popular beliefs, not all Zoomers are ‘snowflake’ or ‘strawberry’ as commonly associated with. The Gen Z of youths are an essential part of our future, and will play an important, collective role in building Singapore’s future.
Inspired by these young founders? Here are three unique virtual entrepreneurship programmes that can cultivate the inner young founder in you:
Reactor Education & Career Guidance Startup Internship Prep Course (Virtual)
Reactor EntreCamp (Virtual Edition)
Reactor Design Thinking Bootcamp (Virtual Edition)
Interested to run an Entrepreneurship Programme for your School? Contact us now.
Written by Sherman Tham
Sherman is the Marketing Ensign at Reactor School, and a Reactor Student Alumni.
#reactor #reactorschool #teamreactor #reactortraining #reactorworkshop #entrepreneur #education #entrepreneurship #startup #workshop #youth #students #entrepreneurmindset #youngentrepreneur #educator #designthinking #elevatorpitch #startupschool #21centuryskills #youngfounders #startupsingapore #startupsg #aseanready #businessschool #onlinelearning #youthhacks #skilio #softskillsdevelopment #softskills #siip #mccy #reactorchangemakers