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Credit Suisse partners Young Founders School, runs entrepreneurship bootcamp for secondary students across Asia

YFS is the world's first entrepreneurship program for high school students globally

Credit Suisse today announced that it is the headline sponsor of Young Founders School (YFS), a technology-focused educational non-profit organization which aims to change the way entrepreneurial education is taught to secondary school students. YFS will be holding a Bootcamp in Singapore on 3-4 March 2018 for around 30 students aged between 11 and 17 years old, as well as bootcamps in Hong Kong and China in March and April.

At the Bootcamp, the students will learn from mentors from the tech industry,  the latest startup techniques such as lean startup, product market fit and competition analysis. They will also get the opportunity to develop their startup ideas into fully-formed business pitches, and present to a panel of Venture Capitalist judges for funding. The winning team will receive funding of US$1,000 towards the development of their startup.

The upcoming Singapore Bootcamp is supported by over 20 mentors  from Singapore tech titans as well as startup companies like Google Evie.ai, Canopy and SAP. The judges are venture capitalists from some of Singapore’s largest Venture Capital firms such as Kenrick Drijkoningen from Goldengate, Tiang Lim Foo from Jungle Ventures’ Seed Plus and Jinesh Patel from Dymon Asia. There will also be a fireside chat with the co-founder of Property Guru, Steve Melhuish, after pitches by the students.

Business ideas from the winning teams at YFS’ previous Bootcamps include an Internet of Things ("IOT") enabled device for walking aids to prevent falls for the elderly or those with disabilities and inform their loved ones in real time, an app that helps people facing mental health issues by suggesting mood-improving missions or tasks for those experiencing negative emotions, and an online platform for high school internships.

YFS was founded in Hong Kong in 2016 by a Credit Suisse employee Billy Naveed, who is Credit Suisse’s Co-head of Hedge Fund Sales and the bank‘s Equities Digitization lead, who works closely with startups and tech investors across Asia. Billy himself began as a ‘young founder’, having established two startup ventures before age 16. Commenting on the program, Billy Naveed said, "The YFS is the world’s first entrepreneurship program for high school students globally. It aims to give high school students real world startup experience and CV-boosting skills, as well as unique mentorship opportunities with inspiring entrepreneurs.  The organization is growing quickly and we hope to expand to other markets across South East Asia soon, as well as launch our online platform to reach high school students anywhere in the world.  We are grateful for Credit Suisse’s ongoing support and look forward to welcoming other partners aligned to our vision in the future."

Commenting on the partnership with YFS, Francesco de Ferrari, Head of Private Banking Asia Pacific and CEO Southeast Asia and Frontier Markets, said, "Credit Suisse is proud to be the headline sponsor of YFS. The aim of YFS resonates and complements very well with Credit Suisse’s vision as "The Trusted Entrepreneurs’ Bank of Asia". Entrepreneurship is deeply embedded in Credit Suisse’s DNA – the bank itself was created more than 160 years ago through the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of our founder Alfred Escher. Credit Suisse is committed to standing behind our entrepreneur clients, as well as focusing on the entrepreneurial education of their next generation.

Our world is changing so fast, there are many potential young entrepreneurs out there and the possibilities are endless. We believe that students who attend these specially curated programs will benefit tremendously from the invaluable guidance shared by some of the most successful entrepreneurs and organizations we have brought together through YFS‘ and the bank’s network. We hope that through the YFS programs, participants will get to hone their entrepreneurial skills and get exposed to the inner workings of the business world and build a solid foundation for their future endeavors."

The YFS runs two flagship programs:

  1. Ideation Express - A two-hour short course for students who are exploring entrepreneurship for the first time, guiding them through the key skills that are the foundation of the entrepreneurial mindset. Attendees are then invited to apply for the main Bootcamp. 
  2. Weekend Bootcamp - The signature course which involves eight hours of workshops and 10 hours of breakouts with successful local entrepreneurs.  The participants are taught about all the elements of a pitch deck in an intense action packed weekend. At the end, they will pitch in their teams in front of parents, teachers and the local Venture Capitalists for funding.

In the past 24 months since its inception, YFS has run nine startup Bootcamps and seven Ideation Days in Hong Kong, China and Singapore  involving over 600  students, 55% of whom were female students, and more than 250 mentors from companies such as Alibaba, Google, 9GAG and GoGovan, as well as a number of staff volunteers from the bank.

From left to right: YFS Director Crispian Farrow, Billy Naveed, SeedPlus (VC) Tiang Lim Foo, and Credit Suisse Head of Private Banking Asia Pacific and CEO of Southeast Asia and Frontier Markets Francesco de Ferrari, with the winning team at the first YFS Singapore Bootcamp in November 2017. The winning team developed Qanemate, an IOT enabled device for walking aids.