SINGAPORE - Mr Alvin Yeo was staring at a crossroads.

On the one hand, he had worked for public relations firms for several years and could easily have continued down that path of security and stability.

On the other hand, he yearned to strike out on his own.

The MyPaper Executive search contest, now in its seventh year, helped him take the plunge and become a business owner.

Mr Yeo, who claimed the top spot last year, left his PR job to start his own creative solutions company - Dope Communications - which provides an "A-Z solution from public relations and events to the registration of patents, to name a few".

The contest will see corporate-savvy young professionals vying for the top prize of $10,000. The event, which was launched yesterday and runs till May 23, will see contestants sent for professional training in grooming, business etiquette and efficiency.

"The contest gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams and take that leap of faith," said Mr Yeo, who was inspired when speaking to his fellow contestants about their start-ups.

The various public-speaking workshops and events that were part of the contest made him "less afraid to venture out on my own... It taught me to go with my gut feeling even though I am young and relatively new to this scene", Mr Yeo added.

Since starting Dope Communications less than a year ago, he has seven clients. Knowing the risks of starting his own business, Mr Yeo said that "with great success comes many failures but we do not let those get to us".

Other alumni of the MyPaper Executive contest have also embarked on a journey of self-improvement, using what they learnt during the competition.

Ms Rebecca Sit, an assistant manager in corporate communications at the Singapore Academy of Law, not only gained more confidence to speak to clients and vendors, but she also learnt to strike a better work-life balance.

Ms Sit, who took home the Sweet Touch Most Charismatic Executive Award at last year's contest, is also a competitive dancer and the owner of an online shop.

Having been a competitive dancer for 14 years, the 32-year-old had no issues performing in front of people but was still slightly uncomfortable speaking in front of large crowds. It was not until the contest that she conquered that fear.

"It has given me a different level of confidence. This was especially during the public debating section, where I learnt to react quickly and calmly on stage in front of an audience," said Ms Sit, who ranked among the top six in the competition.

Last year, the Singapore Academy of Law organised a charity concert in support of the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Being the project manager for the event, Ms Sit had to liaise with suppliers as well as judges and lawyers to put the event together. It raised $303,000 for the fund that night, which also saw her taking part as a performer in the dance segment despite being swamped with the preparations for the concert.

With her new-found stage confidence and management proficiency, Ms Sit is now more open to trying and exploring new things because "you never know what good may come out of it, but if I don't try, I will never find out".