Sleepless nights, local rules, friends and experiences that you will never forget

by Gintare Jasiunskaite, European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute

Sometimes life gives you such opportunities you cannot simply resist. You may think whether to grab this chance or not but if it’s related to travelling and knowing new cultures the answer should always be YES!

Tautvydas Petruskevicius is the best example of how successfully to use life’s given carrier opportunities.

During his young entrepreneur’s career, Tautvydas has already participated in five different Erasmus projects. He took part in Erasmus for Active Youth projects in different countries like Armenia, Poland and North Ireland. Moreover, last summer he had a chance to attend the three months “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” business mentorship program in Italy. However, his travels and adventures do not end here. Tautvydas has recently returned from “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Global” business mentorship program, during which he spent an unforgettable time in Singapore!

So as you have already understood, he has very interesting things to share with all of you, young entrepreneurs, who are still looking for an inspiration or the right path to begin your business journey. Thus, this story will be with some exotic Asian spices, since Tautvydas agreed to share with us his impressions from the breath-taking trip while it’s still fresh!

The Land of Opportunities with its Unwritten Rules

Singapore is a country of opportunities, a blend of Asian and European culture, in which everything goes according to local rules. Nevertheless, in Singapore, unlike in Europe, entrepreneurs, politicians and, in general, the whole community do not spend too much time talking about possible work or forthcoming projects. As Tautvydas noticed, it’s a country where everything is based on efficiency. Decisions are lightning fast, made without additional politeness and without excessive planning. Speaking about entrepreneurs, they do not care what they will do after 5 or 10 years, they see what they can and what they have to do now and start doing it right away. Sometimes you may think that it’s simply a trait of arrogance or conceit. However, it’s not.

Another noticeable cultural aspect is the caution of society and business representatives, as well as compliance with the rules. In Europe we always strive for compromise and win-win situations, also, we tend to risk in both business and personal lives. Unfortunately, in Singapore, there are not many compromises. Tautvydas learned that even the simplest things that do not contradict any rules, but are not customary for Singaporeans, will not be implemented.

One more interesting cultural aspect according to Tautvydas is the working culture itself. Singaporeans appreciate their work and are extremely dedicated to it. Besides, they are a very hard-working society which aims to be fully effective. The food culture and eating habits illustrate it perfectly. As Tautvydas observed, the bigger part of Singaporeans does not cook at home. They tend to eat outside or to order food at home. This is due to the desire to save time and assign it to more useful things.

Lastly, in Singapore, the local order is strictly regulated and is based on a wide range of prohibitions and severe punishments (capital punishment or death penalty exists until these days). It is also prohibited to spit, gather in large groups of people, eat chewing gum, collect tree leaves in parks and other common activities. Nevertheless, this complicated system really works. The city is incredibly clean. Although Singapore consumes unreasonably high amounts of plastic and is not very clean, trash is not a problem. They are burned and ashes are used to build new islands.

New Acquaintances and Valuable Experiences

As Tautvydas says, during this program “I not only learned the subtleties of mentoring business, but I also learned to understand the uniqueness of Singaporean business culture. Although it was really difficult to adapt, two months later I didn’t want to leave”.

He actively participated in all activities of the Lithuanian community. Tautvydas noticed that Lithuanians in Singapore are different — most of them are young professionals who have come here to work in international companies.

“Together with Lithuanian Diplomacy representative Ieva Palmquist, and the soul of ChangeMakers’On community Simona Simulyte, we launched the campaign to raise awareness of Lithuanian country in Singapore. With Ieva help I initiated and organized the creation of the Lithuanian community website” — says Tautvydas.

Tautvydas together with Vivian Lau — the CEO of Junior Achievement Asia Pacific

In two months I had a number of possibilities to represent Lithuania and existing business opportunities in our country. I actively participated in a number of events: the SME Conference, where my mentor curated a panel discussion about the fourth industrial revolution. It was a unique experience to ask questions about the meaning of product design now and in the future. I also attended the London Capital Markets Seminar at the Park Royal event. At this event, I have been trying to represent Lithuania as best as possible. It was a great networking event which expanded my perception of Western business features in Singapore.

Furthermore, one day I accidentally got an invitation to be a volunteer at the Slush conference. The Slush Conference is a ten-year-old initiative which started at the university but now is expanded globally. During The Slush, I had a unique opportunity to communicate with one of Hyperloop’s founders — Bibop G. Gresta, with an Italian who creates quantum computers and with CEO startup from Singapore who constructs actual missiles. It was an experience that has truly enriched my worldview. Volunteering at various kinds of events is not only a VIP ticket to see everything from the inside but also to open up a new door to the life that makes you think about certain problems. The chance to hear life stories of other people — this is the true beauty of communication.

Tautvydas and Hyperloop’s founder Bibop G. Gresta (on the left)

Moreover, volunteering at Junior Achievement Singapore events have also given an extraordinary experience, useful contacts and most important — friends. Because of them, I managed to get to other events organized by the University Students’ Union, in which I found even more friends. The Lithuanian community also helped a lot, because everyone was very friendly and advising.

Tautvydas and “Junior Achievement Singapore” team

All good things take time and patience

The search for mentor lasted very long. It was a stressful 2–3 weeks period, during which I used my network for the first time in my life. I wrote nearly 100 letters and had many sleepless nights. However, all the efforts paid off. I am grateful to those who helped me, and to fate, who gave me this opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who seek to improve a better tomorrow. I was patient and learned not try to control the whole situation. Of course, I did not give up and with the help of friends and acquaintances, I finally found my mentor in Singapore. That moment when I received a letter from a manager of the Junior Achievement Singapore with a simple text message that one businessman agrees to become my mentor was amazing.

Tautvydas together with his mentor and Lithuanian Diplomacy representative Ieva Palmquist

I am a person who loves innovations. I have participated in four hackathons in Lithuania and Estonia since art, architecture and all the latest technologies are my motor of motivation. During the mentoring program “Aviation Virtual” I have learned how to use the latest AR/VR technologies and have contributed to the implementation of various projects. Moreover, I learned how to use the Cave system and its benefits. One of my projects in the Cave system was the creation of the 3D chair model and its usage in the VR office environment. Now I understand that all the efforts were successful and I am one step closer to my dream — to change the world, and most importantly get to know myself again.

Cave system and Tautvydas project — 3D model chair

“My project is not over yet, so I plan to return to Singapore next summer, where I will be able to extend my Lithuanian representation and to continue learning not only from mentors but also from all other experiences” — says Tautvydas.

Thank you, Tautvydai, for sharing your story and good luck!

Did you like this story? Hop over to Kostia Kutyk’s recall of his experience with “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” — just click here.

And if you are now wondering how to catch a chance to participate in “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” — learn more here!

Or maybe you are already a successful entrepreneur who is willing to share your entrepreneurship wisdom? Become a host and collaborate with entrepreneurs all around Europe!

Have any questions? Contact European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute — the best team is waiting to help you find the right host! :)