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Leader: Khairul Rusydi

Khairul Rusydi

30, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF REACTOR SCHOOL

Khairul Rusydi thinks that while students in Singapore and South‐East Asia do well at pen‐and‐ paper testing, they are not equipped with the truly important skills to help them excel at work and in life. That was the impetus he needed to start Reactor School, which designs and develops entrepreneurship education programmes for students aged 13 to 24.

“Reactor’s programmes allow students to be immersed in a start‐up environment, so they can learn to be comfortable with uncertainty,” he shares. “I believe this will set them up for success no matter what they decide to do in future.”

He certainly walks that talk. “As the company scales and grows, especially in our operations overseas, there’s a need to keep picking up new things. This could mean putting certain hr processes in place, or learning how to localise strategies for the markets that we enter,” says Rusydi. He also shares that Reactor’s office used to be located inside a school, but it was forced to relocate when the new principal no longer wanted them there. “That actually turned out to be a blessing. When we were evicted, we had to learn how to scale up.”

Reactor has so far worked with over 70 schools and 10,000 students across Asia, and Rusydi is currently working on taking its entrepreneurship education programmes to Laos and the Philippines. And while it sounds, quite literally, out of this world, he says he eventually wants to build the first school on Mars: “There will be extreme levels of uncertainty involved in the building of a colony on Mars. It will be a start‐up for humanity.”