SMU alumnus Jeff Tung has made an endowed contribution of S$1 million to enhance the P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund.
From a platform that buys and sells items for K-pop fans, to one that provides online tuition, SMU’s annual P.A.K. Challenge has inspired budding entrepreneurs to submit numerous business ideas, all in the hope of getting the mentorship and support they need to help turn their dreams into reality.
And this business plan competition is about to shift into a higher gear. SMU alumnus Jeff Tung has made an endowed contribution of S$1 million to enhance the P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund, which he established with fellow SMU alumnus Benjamin Twoon in 2015. This Fund supports entrepreneurship activities undertaken by the University’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE), including the P.A.K. Challenge. The bulk of the new endowed gift, which is the single largest gift by a SMU alumnus to date, will be used to enhance the P.A.K. Challenge.
Jeff graduated from the Bachelor of Business Management programme at SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB) in 2013, and is the founder, Executive Director and Chairman of Sheng Ye Capital, a Hong Kong-listed technology finance company. He is also a member of IIE’s Enterprise Board and of SMU’s International Advisory Council (China), and this year was named one of 25 business school graduates in the 2020 Class of Influential Leaders honoured by AACSB International.
“As an entrepreneur, I deeply appreciate the development and mentorship I received during my time at SMU,” he says. “As Sheng Ye Capital explores opportunities in Singapore, we are committed to local talent development. I hope that my additional gift will allow more aspiring young entrepreneurs to act on their passion and kickstart their journey into the world of entrepreneurship. Don't be afraid to take the plunge. The road less travelled usually goes further.”
Indeed, P.A.K. stands for Passion, a spirit of Adventure, and the courage to Kickstart one’s business ideas. The P.A.K Challenge was launched in 2016, and is open to students from local universities and polytechnics. With the new gift, SMU participants will be able to take part in a new Pre-Challenge Programme to hone skills such as pitching strategies, developing concept plans and financial evaluation.
The P.A.K Challenge will also become the Singapore Round for the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition — IIE’s flagship start-up competition. The gift will enable the Challenge to be better supported in areas such as marketing, logistics, and collaterals production.
Cash prizes for winning teams of the Challenge will be increased, with a top prize of $50,000. Winning teams will also be offered co-working space at IIE’s new incubation space at SMU Connexion, and will be inducted into the network circle to support future Challenges through knowledge-sharing and mentorship. A part of the new gift will also provide funding for the operations of student entrepreneurship club Eagles Inc, which organises the P.A.K Challenge.
The gift marks SMU’s and LKCSB’s 20th anniversary, as well as the fifth anniversary of the P.A.K. Entrepreneurship Fund. Said SMU President Professor Lily Kong: “I would like to express our appreciation to Jeff for his significant gift to support the growth of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in SMU. The University has plans to step up efforts to cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship talent by scaling up our programmes and support towards venture-backed start-ups. We also aim to increase our ‘innovation density’ by positioning our city campus as a meeting point to connect like-minded people with different talents and ideas. Jeff’s gift will provide further impetus to these efforts. Jeff has remained deeply involved with SMU post-graduation. His contribution exemplifies the SMU ethos of giving back to society and paying it forward for the next generation of students, and will continue to inspire other SMU alumni to do the same.”