By the SMU Social Media Team
Jackson Kwa is just one example of an SMU undergraduate who has already dipped their toe into entrepreneurship.
He is currently in his second year studying Information Systems and Strategic Management and runs an edutech start-up called TechSociety. TechSociety is one of Asia’s first tech entrepreneurship academies for K-12 students and is currently expanding into Hong Kong and Vietnam. The start-up is the creator and one of the founding members of The Curiosity Network (the equivalent of a Star Alliance for the education industry) across the region.
Hong Kong Economic Trade Office Partnership Gala Dinner
The idea for the start-up came from his little cousin who came to Jackson’s house and did a swipe motion on the LCD television screen. Jackson was puzzled by what he was trying to do. Afterwards he realised his cousin was swiping the screen as though he is swiping an iPad. “Technology is so pervasive in our life today, and it will be even more so for the generation to come. There is a recent study that shows that there are more children who know how to operate a smartphone application but doesn’t know how to tie their shoelace.”
However, he identified a problem that children are growing up as mere tech consumers rather than creators, a concern TechSociety is looking to address. He added: “We aim to build one of the most effective networks of passionate kids interested in technology in this region. We don’t just want to stop at creating solutions, but we want to empower other people to co-create solutions and this needs to start from a young age.”
Jackson sharing about technology and its possibilities in Vietnam
TechSociety has secured funding from public institutions such as Spring ACE and an SMU innovation award. The education start-up has also received support from the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) which is US President Barack Obama’s signature programme to impact the community in Southeast Asia. TechSociety recently concluded its first run in Vietnam together with partners such as Grab (formerly GrabTaxi) and The American Center.
Jackson is part of the SMU Eagles Incubator, with the role of head of mentoring. “All of us have a common passion for entrepreneurship. It is very inspiring to see that there are quite a number of students who want to explore entrepreneurship while still in school. I strongly believe that we students are the entrepreneurs for tomorrow.”
Jackson and his TechSociety co-founder Jeremy Chua at the SMU Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Office
Education institutions recognise the need for innovation and entrepreneurship. For example, SMU recently launched a new major in entrepreneurship where students can launch their own business as part of an academic module.
While funding is important for a start-up, so too is mentoring and being able to bounce ideas off fellow entrepreneurs. SMU and its entrepreneurial environment has helped Jackson make TechSociety a reality, not just an idea. And the venture has clear benefits for the community, not just the founder. “At TechSociety, we aim to impart next generation tech survival, new age computing and tech entrepreneurial skills to students with the simple goal of making technology and entrepreneurship fun, engaging and accessible.”
Jackson at the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards 2016 where he won the Singapore National Champion award.
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