Eleven schools are now on board a programme that aims to give students here a feel of what it means to be an entrepreneur, as part of efforts by the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) to encourage more Singaporeans to run their own businesses.

The $15 million Entrepreneur-Adopt-a-School initiative was implemented at the start of this year, following recommendations within ACE for a more structured approach to cultivate and learn about entrepreneurship in Singapore.

Under the programme, ACE teams up with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to give students here a feel of what it is like to run a business, and to learn from those who have taken the plunge.

It is being rolled out over a three-year period and targets secondary schools, junior colleges (JCs), polytechnics and ITE colleges.

Schools participating in the programme will be given up to $20,000 annually over the three-year period, and will have to match 10 per cent of the grant provided.

Those that have signed up include Singapore Chinese Girls' School, Hwa Chong Institution, Broadrick Secondary School, Zhong Hua Secondary School and Cedar Girls' School.

Broadrick Secondary School student Liew Han Wei, who was among a group of students from the school attached to Sakae Sushi outlets to learn about its business operations, said that the stint was a valuable experience.

Said the Secondary 4 student: "Through our interaction with the staff at Sakae Sushi, we learnt to be adaptable in unexpected situations. It helped to open up my mind, and to think out-of-the-box."

Sakae encouraged the students to propose and develop solutions to improve the company's operational efficiency and service, and even asked them to start working on prototypes of new products.

At Outram Secondary, students have attended a dialogue session with Adrin Loi, Ya Kun International's executive chairman. He shared with them some ideas for improving a retail store within the school that is run by its students.

Outram Secondary holds an MOE Niche Status in Business and Enterprise, and has channelled the grant from ACE into training its students for nationwide business plan competitions, developing prototypes of innovative products dreamt up by its students, and supporting them in running the school café and retail store.

ACE chairman Teo Ser Luck, who visited Outram Secondary yesterday, said: "I am very impressed by the students' enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneur-Adopt-a-School initiative is a novel approach where the enterprise is brought into the classroom, and students are brought outside to the business environment."

In addition, learning takes place through direct interaction between the students and the entrepreneur.

Added Mr Teo, who is also the Minister of State for Trade & Industry: "With the entrepreneurs giving them access to their business operations, the students are given the rare opportunity to venture into and experience the real world of business."

ACE aims to have 30 schools on board the programme by 2015.