Published on 15 Sep 2021

Leave a Light On

A chance encounter led our alumni to start Project Starlight – a community initiative set up as a platform for entrepreneurs to leverage each other’s strengths

At one of his weekly house visits, alumnus Don Wee Boon Hong, Grassroots Advisor and Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC, met a young artist who was born with muscular dystrophy. Despite his physical disability, Michael (not his real name), has a keen interest in art, and has produced more than 100 works of art. He has also set up booths at events and carnivals to sell his artworks.

“I was deeply humbled by this young man who wants to overcome his physical difficulties to make a living in his own way,” recalled Don. He promptly referred Michael to four other grassroot volunteers at Brickland Constituency, to see how they could help his business.

Setting up Project Starlight

Together, fellow volunteers and Nanyang Business School (NBS) alumni – Mohamed Abbas, Co-founder of Rely (APAC); Starrie Lee Shu Ting, Consulting Analyst at Delaware Singapore and Vice-Chairperson at Brickland Community Centre Youth Network; Shaun Ko Yu Lun, Customer Support & Community Executive at Mintable Pte Ltd; and Ng Li Shan, Marketing Intern at Haribo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd and final-year marketing student at NBS – set up Project Starlight.

The community initiative is aimed at helping a close-knit community of entrepreneurs to share and tap on each other’s skill sets. With collective knowledge and experience, these entrepreneurs can bridge the gaps that are missing in their various business plans and operations.

“We believe in the potential of helping these home-based entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and used Michael’s business as our pilot project,” said Shaun.

Creating a Marketing Playbook

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Michael could no longer take up booths to sell his artworks. The team decided to help him sell his artworks online by first creating a marketing playbook. Over two weeks, they studied strategies to improve his personal branding and came up with a set of guidelines for Michael to follow, showing him and his parents how to utilise the playbook, as well as how to read backend data provided by various social media platforms

“We also discussed how to target various potential long-term clients who will be interested to purchase his products on a recurring basis to allow for a sustainable revenue stream,” explained Li Shan.

Paying It Forward

After the playbook was completed and distributed, they could see an increase in audience engagement that converted into actual sales. Everyone was thrilled. Michael was appreciative of the new insights that he had gained from the team’s work. He was also glad to have learnt the business direction and the importance of refreshing his content often.

“His persistence is something that we believe everyone can learn from,” said Starrie. “We should never forget to give back to a society that has contributed to our growth. What good is success if you do not pay it forward?” added Abbas.

Moving forward, Project Starlight is looking at building an eco-system in the community.

Contact to find out more about Project Starlight.