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Start-ups offer 300 jobs at career fair

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1,100 jobseekers hoping to get new start at start-up career fair

Entrepreneurs and those hoping to join a start-up received a boost yesterday from the labour movement's U Startup initiative.

The first U Startup Day featured an inaugural career fair at ACE Ideation Centre at one-north involving more than 100 start-ups offering over 300 jobs in areas such as e-commerce, fintech and medtech.

About 1,100 jobseekers attended, and about 16 per cent of the 1,000 who registered for the event were over the age of 40.

The founders of the start-ups also held a dialogue with National Trade Union Congresss ecretary-general Chan Chun Sing on topics such as financing and talent.

Since its launch last year, the U Startup initiative has reached out to about 1,000 start-up founders and partners to understand the landscape.

Leveraging on the labour movement's growing network, U Startup provides workshops, access to funding partners, domain experts and career coaching services for start-ups to expand their businesses.

For instance, it has a network of funding partners with a funding range of $25,000 to $2 million.

Mr Chan told the media yesterday that the start-up scene is vibrant and attracting many workers.

"This is a good sign, but because the employment models, products and services (and) contractual models are different, the labour movement must also evolve in tandem to the evolving needs of our start-ups," he said.

Mr Chan added that the start-up scene is diverse and needs people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

According to the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (Ace), total funding for start-ups here surged from US$157 million (S$219 million) in 2012 to US$1.19 billion last year.

These start-ups, especially those in the technology sector, face a pressing need for talent.

"However, with competing manpower demands from multinational companies and the public sector, an equally strong talent supply to start-ups is necessary to ensure they reach full growth potential," said Ace in a press release.

Ms Deborah Wee, co-founder of online furniture store HipVan, which has 30 employees, said it is always looking to hire someone who is a "good fit" with its company culture.

She said: "A lot of people think start-ups are sexy and the job is so fun, but everything they dislike in a corporate job can also be found in a start-up."

Ms Toh Jiaxin, client success manager of local start-up Glints, an online talent recruitment platform, said not everyone would find a job at a start-up appealing.

She said: "It might not pay a lot, and there might not be many opportunities to move up the career ladder. Besides, who knows what is going to happen to the company next month?

"But it can also be rewarding, because you could also get the chance to witness the unprecedented growth of a company."

Mr Lew Pak Kian, 45, who left his job as a technical analyst in a bank last October, was hoping to find new opportunities at the fair yesterday.

The father-of-two said: "I have been taking up web development courses online, and I hope to gain some experience and exposure by working at a start-up.

"The pay might not be high, but it is better than nothing. Besides, I could learn something and even start out on my own one day."