WHILE the low appetite for risk is becoming less of an issue for start-ups in Singapore, the lack of international networks among entrepreneur hopefuls remains a problem.

This was the view of a panel of speakers at a public forum yesterday organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"We need to encourage Singaporeans to be more risk-taking," said panellist Bernard Yeung, who is dean and professor of finance and strategic management at NUS Business School.

However, people are now "more outgoing, more willing to experiment, to try the extraordinary, the fun things", he noted.

Wong Poh Kam, director of NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, told BT on the sidelines of the forum that mindsets are changing as a result of "having entrepreneurship education programmes to expose our students to the entrepreneurial opportunities outside of Singapore".

"We see more young NUS graduates now who would rather start up their own company or work in early-phase start-ups than work with big companies or the government," he added.

A concern for local start-ups is the small domestic market.

"We try to get the companies we start to realise that within a four-hour plane ride is more than half the world's population in terms of countries," said panellist Frank Levinson, who is founder and managing director of Small World Group, an investor in start-ups and non-profit ventures.

Johnsee Lee, chairman of Development Centre for Biotechnology, a non-profit organisation in Taiwan, highlighted the importance of learning from and networking with the international community.

"If you're a Singaporean who wants to start a company and enter China, India or Asean markets, you should do well by making good friends with those who are from these countries so that when you start your business, you can tap on this social network," said Prof Wong.

Other panellists at the forum were Dongmin Chen, dean of School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Peking University; Jesper B S

ørensen, professor of organisational behaviour in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University; and Vineet Rai, founder and CEO of Aavishkaar Venture Management Service.