RS Components partners with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to nurture future engineers and technopreneurs of Singapore

RS Components partners with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to nurture
future engineers and technopreneurs of Singapore

A three-year industry and academic collaboration includes
the first fully student-run RS Shop

SINGAPORE, 23 October, 2015 - RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc(LSE:ECM), the global distributor for engineers, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to confirm a three-year partnership that will plant the seed of entrepreneurship and innovation in the school’s education programme.  The partnership includes the establishment of the first student-run RS Shop in Singapore, funded by the RS University programme.


(From L-R) Ng Kee Wan, Director, Electronic & Computer Engineering Division, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Peter Lam, Deputy Principal, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Pauline Swarbrick, Head of Sales, Southeast Asia, RS Components; and Eric Lee, Head of Technical Marketing, RS Components at the MOU signing ceremony

Two final year Business Studies student entrepreneurs, Zane Tee Kai Li (age 19) and Sebastian Alejandro Rozo (age 18) have been selected by Ngee Ann Polytechnic to run the retail operation under the guidance of RS and Ngee Ann Consumer Co-operative Society Limited (Ngee Ann Co-Op). As part of their entrepreneurship learning, RS will provide them with a start-up fund as well as training to master the RS eCommerce trade process and systems.  The students will gain hands-on experience running a retail shop, from taking orders, managing stock, deliveries and making manpower decisions.


Zane Tee Kai Li (L) and Sebastian Alejandro Rozo (R) have been selected to run the first RS Shop in Singapore

“The Singapore government has continuously stressed the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in its next phase of economic development. The student-run RS Shop will be a unique endeavour to nurture entrepreneurial talents in a campus environment. The MOU confirms our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to support the development of engineering research and entrepreneurship learning opportunities.  This partnership further reiterates our commitment to industry and academic collaborations in Singapore to empower young engineers,” said Pauline Swarbrick, Head of Sales, Southeast Asia, RS Components.


(From L-R) Peter Lam, Deputy Principal, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Pauline Swarbrick, Head of Sales, Southeast Asia, RS Components; and Eric Lee, Head of Technical Marketing, RS Components at the official launch of the first RS Shop in Asia

Ngee Ann Polytechnic has an established ecosystem to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the campus. From kickstart funds to incubator programmes, students have many avenues to develop and commercialise their ideas.  “The RS Shop will provide an opportunity for students to run a real retail business.  Eventually, we hope our students will be inspired to build and sell their own products through such real life exposures,” said Patrice Choong, Director, The Sandbox, Ngee Ann Polytechnic. “Today, they can design and prototype their ideas in our laboratories, showcase their products in our virtual store and sell their creations. Interested students can easily buy these creations through an in-house app we have developed,” added Mr. Choong.  The Sandbox is Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s innovation and entrepreneurship playground.  

“Running the RS Shop will give us a chance to put into practice what we have learnt in our business course.  It's exciting to experience the day-to-day operations of a physical shop. Through this opportunity, we can also learn more about engineering, which is a new domain for us," said Zane Tee, co-owner of the RS Shop.  

Together with Zane, co-owner Sebastian Alejandro Rozo has set some goals for their RS shop venture. He said, “While NP staff and students are our primary customers, we would like to expand our customer base to include students in other tertiary institutes. We also hope to raise the importance and awareness of engineering through organising tech festivals and exhibitions on campus.”


Student entrepreneurs Zane Tee Kai Li (L) and Sebastian Alejandro Rozo (R)

In addition to setting up the RS Shop, the recently signed MOU includes an annual grant which supports any initiatives that nurture engineering research and learning opportunities in Ngee Ann Polytechnic.  These can include book prizes and learning materials and tools such as 3D printers or new development kits such as Arduino, mbed and Raspberry Pi. 

To help students gain real-world experience, RS has committed to internship opportunities and study tours of its production lines for Ngee Ann Polytechnic students. RS will also run engineering design workshops and competitions based on its DesignSpark Mechanical and DesignSpark PCB tools to help the students learn basic 3D modelling and PCB design skills. 

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