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Technopreneurship Study Missions

The Technopreneurship Study Mission (TSM) is a course delivered and managed in collaboration with the SMU's Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE).

The TSM will focus on appreciation of the broader aspects of Technopreneurship by visiting high tech start-ups in a particular world-renowned high tech centre. Some possible countries / cities for the visit are India (Bangalore), Vietnam, South Korea and China (Beijing).

The following objectives will apply:

Before the trip

Understanding the culture, start up scene of the entrepreneurship center and the start ups selected for the visit

During the trip

A number of factors including motivation of the founders, key innovation, key challenges faced by the founders, managing investors, learning from market feedback

After the trip

How to apply the learning for the creation of a technology enabled start up

Technopreneurship Study Mission Schedule

See the TSM wiki's main page here

Term

Destination

Date

2015-16 Term 2

late April/early May 2016

2014-15 Term 2

late April/early May 2015

2014-15 Term 1

December 2014

2014-15 Term 1

December 2014

2013-14 Term 2

late April/early May 2014

2013-14 Term 1

October 2013

2012-13 Term 2

late April/early May 2013

2012-13 Term 1

China, Europe, Vietnam
December 2012

2011-12 Term 2

South Korea
late April/early May 2012

2011-12 Term 1

China, Europe, Vietnam
December 2011

2010-11 Term 2

China, India
late April/early May 2011

2010-11 Term 1

December 2010

2009-10 Term 1

December 2009

Technopreneurship Study Mission: Europe 2013

TSM Europe had 14 students and a teaching assistant, and spent two days in Belgium, two days in France, and three days in Germany. 

The first day of the trip was spent in Ghent, Belgium, the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province. The second day began with a presentation at iMinds, by Jan Coppens. The group's time at Ghent concluded with the end of eight Euratechnologies company discussions.

The team then travelled onwards to Munich, Germany. The following two days were spent engaged in presentations to MBS companies. 


Technopreneurship Study Mission: Europe 2012

TSM Europe had 14 students and a teaching assistant, and spent two days in Belgium and two days in Germany. 

The first day in Belgium was a visit to iMinds, the ICT research lab and incubators, one of the four national applied research labs funded by the Belgium government. The students got to interact with about a dozen companies, where they shared their own assessment of a company’s Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats and suggested how the companies could plan their growth, including growth in Asia. A number of these presentations were extremely well received. The team spent the next day at Leuven visiting iMEC, another national lab focused on semiconductor and related technologies. We had very lively exchanges with the different stakeholders. Professor Desai was asked to present on SMU, the Technopreneurship track, and TSM.  His presentations were well received. It was not just hard work, the team also had a lot of fun, including activities like a boat ride on the river in Ghent. They also had an opportunity to see first-hand the university at which our President Professor Arnoud De Meyer studied. The students also visited some historical sites and enjoyed the food, beer and the chocolates. Some of the companies incubated by iMinds were gracious enough to offer our students internships.

The visit to Germany was primarily focused on Munich. Munich Business School played host to our visit. The team visited some exciting companies such as Payon and Bonayou to understand the state of entrepreneurship and venture climate in Munich. The group also visited the BMW manufacturing plant. There they were amazed by the level of automation and technology used in the production of BMW 3 series cars.  We were surprised to learn that despite producing a few hundred cars every month there were rarely two cars of the same kind produced at that plant.  The team also happened to visit one of the largest natural Gas distribution companies in the world where they were given some useful insights into the art of project management by one of the C level members of the company. 

The team came away very inspired by the quality of innovation and the dedication of the entrepreneurs and some of them chose to think seriously about starting their own companies.


Technopreneurship Study Mission: Vietnam 2010

Nineteen SMU students from across the different schools visited IDG Ventures (Vietnam) and ten other companies over a week from the 5th to the 10th December 2010. This visit gave the students a first-hand introduction to the technopreneurial activities in Vietnam. All the ten companies were investee companies of IDG Ventures Vietnam which is the dominant early stage venture capital company in Vietnam for Technology Media and Telecommunication. The companies visited ranged from web aggregators to a company that allowed Vietnamese to invest in gold using Internet.

The visit resulted in internship opportunities for the technopreneurship track and other internships from nine of the ten companies visited. The team was also extended a joint venture opportunity by two of the companies.

The students found out that Vietnam adopted a fast follower model. Given that Vietnam has 85 million people, a number of them young and Internet Savvy, such a model works for them. Many of the founders were experienced people either within Vietnam or from countries such as US who chose to return to Vietnam sensing the rising tide of opportunities. The visit energized several students into thinking about starting their own companies. Three of the students were very surprised that IDG ventures invited them for a dinner meeting upon hearing their proposed business idea. Such immediate response was not expected and welcome with pleasure.

The students also got to visit Cuchi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh city to get an appreciation of the history of Vietnam.

The highlight of the visit was the final dinner where the students had an opportunity to spend significant time with the CEOs of the different companies they visited and learn more through informal interaction.


Technopreneurship Study Mission: Israel 2009

 When we think of science and technology, the countries that often spring to mind are Japan, Germany, and the United States. Twelve students embarked on a trip to visit Israel's buzzing technopreneurship scene. Israel in fact ranks fourth in the world in scientific publications, and counts IBM, Microsoft, Intel, HP, Cisco, Google among its list of technology heavyweights that have opened up R&D and regional business centres in Israel.

Over the weeklong trip, students had the opportunity to meet professionals from a wide spectrum of technopreneurship activity: venture capital firms, start-ups, research institutions, and government agencies. For the pre-trip class projects, the students worked in groups to present an up-and-coming start-up and propose a new business idea. The highlight of the trip was when the students met some of the entrepreneurs from these start-ups; the students finally got to quiz the entrepreneurs on their experiences, and even pitch their business ideas in person. The projects became more meaningful and vivid, and made for an inspiring learning experience

Entrepreneurship is so ingrained in Israeli society that it is the norm rather than the exception. Various speakers attested to this - the social environment is encouraging when one embarks on an entrepreneurship journey, and there is an established infrastructure where entrepreneurs can get both financial and administrative support. This study mission also saw the burgeoning of working relationships between the SMU Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and various Israeli institutes.

Of course, no trip to Israel is complete without paying homage to some of her most famed sites. The students visited several historical places of interest such as Bethlehem, the Yad Vashem memorial for the Holocaust, and the Western Wall. The icing on the cake was without a doubt, the rejuvenating dip in the Dead Sea.


Last updated on 16 Aug 2017 .