Internship Experience | Business Development and Partnership

Internship Experience | Business Development and Partnership

Hello! I’m Ryan Ong, a freshman business undergraduate specialising in Finance from the National University of Singapore.  As a freshman, I really wanted to fully utilise my summer holidays to gain internship exposure, something that I had lacked coming from the Junior College Educational Route.  I was keen on taking up an internship at a Start-Up, particularly driven by the vibrancy of Singapore’s Start-Up scene and the organic work process in startups, allowing a lot of autonomy in whatever you do. I chanced upon an internship listing that SimplyGood had put up on my school’s career portal. I liked the idea of reducing carbon footprint through simple methods that could be taken at home and could seriously see the value proposition in it for both consumers and corporations. I put in an application and the rest was history. Now that I’ve been here for 12 weeks, I have no regrets!

What my role at SimplyGood?

Abit more about my role at SimplyGood, I served as the Business Development and Partnerships Intern. My tasks and responsibilities include sourcing and application of grants and funds, Commercial Sales Generation through CRM software HubSpot & Apollo and supporting Jeremy, our Founder & CEO with any materials pertaining to SEED Fund Raising.

Sourcing & Application of Grants & Funds

Well for a StartUp, grants and funding are incredibly important as they contribute to funds that could be a lifeline to any Start-Up. My role requires me to continuously look out for suitable grants and funding that I deem suitable for SimplyGood to take part in and propose it to Jeremy during our weekly Grants Meeting for further discussion. In total, more than 90 grants and funds were proposed during my tenure and SimplyGood with more than 20 applied. A notable grant that I applied for was the DBS Foundation Business for Impact Grant that awards up to S$250,000 to businesses dedicated to delivering impact. It took a lot of time and effort to prepare and I recall the countless meetings with Jeremy and key stakeholders spent on discussing this particular grant. A tip for the next intern: Always Start Planning and Preparing for your grants at least 2 weeks before the deadline to give yourself ample time for any last minute changes.

Commercial Sales Generation
Commercial Sales and Partnerships are an important revenue avenue for SimplyGood. More than 35 organisations such as DBS Bank, Standard Chartered and City Developments Limited  have partnered with SimplyGood over the short span of 2 years. I had the opportunity to work with an incredible sales team consisting of Scott, Vanessa and Jeremy who all had a wealth of experience to offer when it came to commercial sales. As a greenhorn with regards to conducting sales, the team were extremely patient and nurturing when going through with me the entirety of the commercial sales process. My role requires me to utilise HubSpot CRM Software to generate leads and sequences for the Commercial Sales Team to take over and successfully pitch to. During my tenure, I went through thousands of contacts and quickly ascended to reaching out to more than 500 contacts weekly in a bid to drive commercial sales.

SEED Fund Materials
When I joined back in May, SimplyGood was in the midst of preparing for their SEED Fund. When Jeremy offered me the chance to learn alongside him, I jumped at the opportunity to do so (As any Finance Student would haha). My job would require me to assist Jeremy with preparation of some materials required to be sent to potential investors. Some things I did included the checking of our financial projections before our quarterly review to investors and attending to the Due Diligence Reports prepared by interested VCs.

What did I learn during my time at SimplyGood?
Well during my tenure here at SimplyGood, the experience has been SimplyRewarding. Working alongside Jeremy, I was able to get exposure and experience working at a sustainability start up. I was able to sit through multiple commercial sales pitches conducted by Scott and Vanessa who are seasoned sales professionals. I learnt first hand how commercial sales are conducted and ultimately progressed to tailoring my own outreach campaigns to target the right audience appropriately. I’m certainly still not an expert at it but the experience definitely places me in a better position compared to when I first started.

Working at a StartUp also trains one to multitask. Perennial Manpower Crunches are a norm within early stage startups, there would be a need for every member to wear multiple hats. I saw firsthand how Jeremy had to continuously toggle between his roles from conducting investment pitches to closing commercial sales deals to coordinating marketing campaigns. I respect him for his willingness to grind and hustle and it proves to say that running a startup is certainly no easy feat. Working at a startup taught me how to deal with work pressure and juggle multiple roles and responsibilities.

StartUps by definition are new entities, so everyone is new to the job and consistently learning more about their professional roles. I learnt to be an independent learner as there certainly isn't time for anyone to handhold you to ease you into your role. Working at a StartUp is dynamic and ever changing, the art of figuring out the roles on my own and being adaptable would indefinitely prove to be invaluable for my future endeavours.

Challenges along the way?
It was naturally hard to grasp some of the concepts with regards to fundraising and commercial sales generation. However, Jeremy was extremely nurturing and patient with me which helped smoothen out the entire process. (Thanks alot Jeremy!)

Applying for numerous grants doesn’t necessarily mean success. Countless setbacks were often encountered when applying for grants (but don’t give up !) Lacklustre response from commercial clients - Well essentially, the role does involve cold emailing and it does mean that “No” or “No response” is an outcome that you would have to deal with frequently. It was a bit disheartening at first but hey, it's a first for everything :D

Final Words:
Without a doubt, I would certainly take up another internship with SimplyGood.
SimplyGood has given me not only a rare opportunity to gain industry exposure but also to learn without the fear of making mistakes. I would highly recommend anyone interested in exploring more about the Sustainability StartUp scene in Singapore to intern at SimplyGood. You will be meaningfully occupied and driving change in one of Singapore’s leading sustainability StartUp.

Special thanks to Jeremy who was willing to take the chance on a freshman who lacked experience. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn alongside you and the team. I would like to thank everyone at SimplyGood for the memorable 12 weeks and wishing everyone continued success as I await to see the new chapter unfold for the company!

Written by: Ryan Ong