Rusydi Khairul, CEO of Reactor School On His Plans To Help Future Leaders Move From 1+1=_ to _+_=1

“We believe that not every student should be an entrepreneur, but every student should be entrepreneurial.”
by Zat Astha
Reactor School

Photo: Veronica Tay

In six words, how would you describe what you do for work?

Cultivating the galaxy’s best young founders.

Why is your work important to the world today? 

School teaches students a type of thinking called Causal Reasoning, or 1+1=_. When students graduate, life demands them to use a different type of thinking, called Effectual Reasoning, or _+_=1. There are laws and frameworks to follow — you know where you want to be, but there is no one fixed answer.

Entrepreneurship Education (EntreEd) helps students to deal with uncertainty and gives them a sense of self-agency to build their own careers, whether they want to be a founder or not.

What do people most misunderstand about what the work you do aims to achieve?

Reactor School

Photo: Veronica Tay

Reactor School is a startup school and pre-accelerator for youth that operates at the intersection of education, tech, and venture capital. A lot of what we do revolves around helping students turn their ideas into projects and their projects into companies.

But Reactor is more than just an academy; we are a startup ecosystem builder that works with high schools, universities, and government agencies to drive outcomes such as career readiness, social mobility, and job creation.

Despite our mission statement of “Cultivating the Galaxy’s Best Young Founders”, supporting a student’s startup journey is important regardless of whether they want to be a founder immediately after graduating or beyond. We believe that not every student should be an entrepreneur, but every student should be entrepreneurial.

What would success in the work you do look like?

Occasionally, I would receive an email or LinkedIn message from a Reactor Alumni to update us on a project they’re working on, a startup they’ve launched, or a fundraising round they’re closing. This is the most rewarding and fulfilling part of this decade-long journey. Once, one of our investors spotted an alumnus wearing his Reactee (the name we affectionately call our Reactor t-shirts) on the train.

We believe that not every student should be an entrepreneur, but every student should be entrepreneurial. 

I’m glad they find a sense of pride in being a Reactornaut and that they found EntreEd useful in their startup journey. Our alumni’s success is, by extension, our success too.

What three things would make your bigger work goals easier to achieve today?

First, improvements in infrastructure and accessibility. To bring Entrepreneurship Education to the more rural parts of Asia Pacific, we are now working with various partners to provide infrastructure such as high-speed wifi, personal electronic devices, and student financing options. This helps bring economic growth to lesser-served areas.


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Secondly, we spend a fair bit of our resources on professional development for our educators. Educators are first responders when students face issues with their projects or startups.

We have since run professional development programmes for educators who do not have a background in entrepreneurship, innovation, business, and/or tech. This improves the capacity of schools and the learning outcomes of students.

Thirdly, access to mobility programmes: Most of the time, student entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know. By bringing young founders on overseas business study missions and pitching events, we help to widen their worldview and provide them with exposure to potential partners and investors.

When you look at the state of the world today, what is the one thing that gives you hope?

If there’s one thing that gives me hope, it’s the various projects and startups our Reactor Alumni are working on. Many of them are trying to solve difficult world problems, from sustainable food production to robotic process automation and helping small businesses to digitise to develop more equitable education outcomes. I see Reactor as an impact multiplier and an entrepreneurship education as a chain reaction that pays it forward.

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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