LIKE many others around his age, Mr Nathanael Tan, 19, spends much of his time on school assignments and projects.

But apart from his academic life, the third-year Information Security student from Nanyang Polytechnic goes through the rigours of managing his own entrepreneurial venture.

He runs a technology start-up that does information-technology work as well as sound engineering, which he co-founded with a friend last year.

Mr Tan said: "If I fail, or have to accept failure, I'll pick myself up and try again."

Tertiary-level students such as Mr Tan have turned to starting their own businesses, which require low levels of capital and technical expertise, such as online portals or blogshops.

There is also a range of government-funding options available, such as those offered by Spring Singapore.

While the actual number of tertiary students who are entrepreneurs is small, interest in entrepreneurship appears to be strong.

According to the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students survey, carried out online last year, 1.1 per cent of the 3,133 students surveyed from the three public universities and five polytechnics across Singapore were entrepreneurs.

This is an increase from the survey's figure in 2008. In that year, 1.2 per cent of the 2,319 students surveyed were entrepreneurs.

About 90 students also enrolled in the Master of Science in Technopreneurship and Innovation Programme this year, up from 64 last year. The course aims to develop promising entrepreneurs and leaders.

In addition, NTU's Minor in Entrepreneurship programme attracts about 200 students annually.