Professor Jacob Phang was a keen advocate of technology entrepreneurship and committed to creating a generation of entrepreneurial-minded people who are constantly finding ways to make ‘dents in the universe’. He always asked his students, ‘What’s next?’ and challenged them to make things better.
In his memory, family and friends of the late professor established a scholarship at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for engineering students who have gone on a NUS Overseas College (NOC) programme and were active in venture creation and entrepreneurial activities. Professor Jacob Phang was the CEO of NUS Enterprise from 2002 to 2006. His advocacy of technology entrepreneurship led to the setting up of NOC which now operates in various entrepreneurial hubs around the world.
NUS Biomedical Engineering graduate, Thor Vei Jye, was very grateful to be awarded the Jacob Phang Memorial Scholarship, which supported his tuition fees in NUS after he returned from the NOC programme in Philadelphia.
During the programme, Vei Jye picked up useful design and prototyping skills under the guidance of his engineering manager. He even participated in an International Business Case Competition which was held in Latvia in May 2013. Despite not having any prior experience in business-related modules or competitions, Vei Jye managed to qualify as a finalist. To him, it was really a case of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.
Growing up, Vei Jye was encouraged by his mother to pursue studies in the field of engineering. “According to her, engineering brings about innovation and inventions which benefit mankind,” he says. In addition, a short work attachment at the Singapore General Hospital during his junior college days sparked off his interest in the healthcare industry. During his time at NUS, he furthered his interest in innovative healthcare designs by being involved in research projects such as devising an insole pressure measuring system for detecting foot ulceration in diabetic patients.
Vei Jye is thankful for the Scholarship because not only has it given him the confidence and peace of mind to concentrate on his studies, it has also allowed him to experience ‘lessons’ which cannot be learnt from textbooks. “I’ve felt such warmth in a foreign land when my American friend invited me to celebrate festivities with his family. It made me realise that there are many kind people in this world,” he shares.
Having benefitted from the Scholarship and been placed on the Dean’s list in his final semester, Vei Jye hopes to reciprocate this gift by working hard towards his goal of becoming a technopreneur. “I’ve read about Professor Jacob Phang’s contributions to NUS Enterprise, which eventually led to the development of the NOC programme. I really admire his working attitude and indomitable spirit in providing invaluable advice to his research students. I hope to emulate him and to pass on the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills that I have acquired to others in future, knowing that I have big shoes to fill.”
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