Time to act

I studied in VNIT Nagpur and during my time, it was decided that the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) which was supposed to be set up in Aurangabad be shifted to Nagpur. My alma mater hosts the new IIM (that too in my department!). Coming from Aurangabad, it was indeed a major setback for me as I was hoping that we get a premier educational institute in Aurangabad. I was imagining that it would have boosted the industry if such an institute was present in the city. This was a mere beginning it seems. From then till now, lots of news followed regarding companies choosing to invest in cities other than Aurangabad. For instance, Kia Motors chose Andhra Pradesh (1), LG Electronics went to Nagpur (2), Foxconn is being given land in Palghar etc. This string of setbacks was discussed by many and many expressed angst towards the leadership. It was indeed important for the city to get these projects.

I had developed a habit that when something doesn’t feel right, try to find the core of the problem.

So I thought, not having these companies was the problem.

Why was that a problem?
It was important for the city.

Why was it important for the city?
Because Aurangabad is heavily dependent on its industry. The industry gives jobs to the people of Aurangabad. Many people from Marathwada come to Aurangabad for these jobs so that they can earn a living.

It all seems logical till now except, whenever anyone has a problem, they act in some way by which they feel the problem might be solved. What I and many others did as a part of this act was to blame the leadership. This was done in hope that the leadership would recognize their failure and act upon it.

It is very clear that creation of jobs and developing the economy is the major concern. That is the root of the frustration. To blame the leadership for not acting and hoping that things will work out is a very dormant way of solving the problem. It implies more of avoiding the responsibility of creating jobs and blaming the leadership for being inactive when we ourselves are inactive! I asked myself, what have I done to solve this problem? I did not have an answer. If we the people of Aurangabad really care about the development, it is our duty to stand up and start walking. Why can’t we create businesses which then create jobs? Silicon Valley is famous not because the leadership worked hard for its upliftment, they might have. People created business ventures there which now rule the world in way. Come to think of it, we don’t even need Kia, LG or Foxconn. When the world sees that the people of Aurangabad and Marathwada are able enough, they will seek us automatically.

Thus, I have chosen not stay dormant anymore. Educating people on how to start and run a business is a big issue and we have chosen to work on this front. Startup Weekend Aurangabad is one such initiative and the aim is not to have the next multi-billion dollar idea. The aim is to empower people so that they run a business, however big or small and feel that they are helping the community.

थेंबे थेंबे तळे साचे.

Your pitch CAN be funny!

Are you hesitating to do a pitch at Startup Weekends? You should NOT any longer! With the help of this guy, David Nihill, you will become a pro in winning the audience’s attention and sympathy. I loved his talk at Google HQ in Dublin, and his book is also very helpful.

Workshop: How to Become a Better and Funnier Speaker?

The interesting fact is that David Nihill was terrified about public speaking. After years of studies and experiences, he returned confident and.. funny! Now he performs at multiple stand-up routines and story telling competitions in front of big audiences. Inspired by this story, I would like to remind you, that everything is possible, just believe in yourself!

David Nihill: “Do You Talk Funny?” 

Ready for your own stand-up? Do not hesitate any longer and join our stage in Utrecht in November 2017!

Get your ticket here!

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Starting up new ideas in Kapiti

Startup Weekend is back for a second year in Kapiti. Ready to help guide new startup ideas to success is MJ Brodie, who led the winning team last year. When asked to describe her experience in three words, she quickly replies “nervous, excited, awesome”. MJ is a local from Paraparaumu, who had never participated in anything startup-related before. “I was so nervous, I almost didn’t go along. Several times I was so close to pulling out, but I am so glad I went”.

MJ pitched her idea to help homeless people, and her newly formed team called SeekShelter went on to win Kapiti’s first Startup Weekend on 2016. The idea attracted interest and support from Wellington City Council, and the team have been working with homeless shelters over the last year as they work on their startup. “It has been amazing, to think what has happened, just through taking a chance to share an idea with other people”.

This year, MJ is back helping with Startup Weekend, taking part in the organising crew, and will be mentoring teams over the weekend. “Startup Weekend is such a great experience – you learn a lot about what it takes to run a startup, but a lot more about yourself”. She credits Startup Weekend with giving her more confidence to try new things. Asked what she’d say to others about Startup Weekend, she says “It’s hard to know what to expect going in, but just try it. You will surprise yourself, and have an amazing time”.

The next Kapiti Startup Weekend is on 28-30 July 2017. Anyone is welcome to attend, and more information and tickets are available from www.kapiti.co.

Start(up) with the why

We’ve been working really hard this year to get Kapiti Startup Weekend organised, and putting together all the ingredients to make it a fantastic weekend.

Kapiti is a fantastic place to live – the beaches, weather and the people…and a great new expressway – but it is also (unkindly) referred to as “God’s waiting room“. If you are in the 15-39 age group, you are a rarity. When we ask why, it seems to be because we don’t have enough of the range of businesses based here that mean that we can work here too. A lot of us who live in Kapiti commute to Wellington, Levin or Palmerston North to work.

In order to really thrive, we need a wide range of jobs that keep talented (15-39 year old) people here, as well as Kapiti being a great place to live for retirees. And a great place to start making this change, is by encouraging startups – right here in Kapiti. So that is our why.

But just being passionate about this hasn’t got us where we need to be…yet. We need YOU to throw us a lifeline, and support us by coming along to Kapiti Startup Weekend.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere of a startup weekend. Even if you have been to a startup weekend, you can’t really describe it – because it is a different experience for everyone. Sure, you can describe the mechanics…

registration, dinner, mingling, ideas pitch, team forming, sleep! breakfast, getting out of the building and surveying people with a whole lot of questions, lunch, making stuff, figuring out costs and revenue, dinner, more hard work, less sleep! breakfast, figuring out your business model, market size, lunch, putting a slide deck together, final pitches, dinner and winners…

but that doesn’t describe the emotional rollercoaster you experience as you work through the weekend, nor the stretch outside your comfort zone, or the sheer excitement in making stuff happen, and really come to life.

Why you should attend is probably best captured in this infographic:

As for us, we are a keen bunch of locals, who are trying to build more than just startups. We want to support building a community of people who are interested in startups, and who accept that startups are an important part of our local ecosystem in Kapiti. We’ve already got some enthusiastic people having a go at incubating startup ideas through the Kapiti Digital Challenge (for under 24’s). And we are trying to get accelerator activity started here too. If we can succeed, then we can fundamentally change Kapiti from a playground economy, to an entrepreneurial economy.

So the question is – will you join us?

Startup Dictionary – Validation

Validation is the phase which too many new entrepreneurs will unfortunately skip. It separates the organized innovators from the just hopeful and enthusiastic ones. Validating your business idea basically means asking questions, considering your ideas, choosing the best and discussing about it with experts and potential customers.

Validation saves time and money. Usually the most useful question is whether the potential customer is willing and capable to pay for your service or product. Ideas are cheap. You must also ask yourself if you are willing and capable to produce the service or product. The goal of the validation process is to find out if the product is viable. And always you should remember to leave the building: go out and discuss your ideas.  

Behind the Scenes of Startup Weekend Oulu – Udgum

Udgum Khadka – Marketing Team

My mindshift shifted from then. 

I love travelling and meeting new people.

A secret favorite of mine is a Salmiakki cake. Salmiakki is a salty liquorice tasting candy which Finns love.  

Favorite part about Oulu is the compact, amicable and supporting community.

The one special experience related to Startup Weekend is obviously when I participated and won the first ever Startup Weekend Oulu. My mindset shifted from then.

Top secret business idea is a business letting a person experience opposite gender’s life for some days or even weeks!

From business idea to successful startup: how did I win Startup Weekend Utrecht

Startup Weekend creates opportunity to learn, connect, develop and spend some quality time together with like-minded individuals. However, we all expect it to be more than just a weekend. Probably you have asked yourself ‘Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Is my idea good enough? Should I actually try?’ . And guess what, you are not the only one. We could count loads of different public figures and successful CEOs who were only one decision away from a totally different life and a dream come true.

Put aside all the ‘what ifs’ and take a moment to hear a story from Tey – the owner of TYKN and the winner of Startup Weekend Utrecht’ 16. Sorry, not just a story, the success story, full of inspiration, faith and great memories – enough to make you to make your own decision. Enjoy!

Why did you join Startup Weekend Utrecht?

After working 4 years in the Netherlands, I became a Refugee. I am of Syrian Origins and was sitting in my room at the AZC of Zeist. So I thought to myself, why not go attend the event and participate? It was my first time ever pitching and never heard of Startup Weekend.

Could you describe the winning pitch?

On my driver license, it is written I was born in Unknown because I do not have a Birth Certificate. I was born in Kuwait and the Gulf War destroyed my certificate. After applying for asylum the stories of Refugees losing their documents was similar to mine. Since I am a Bitcoin Evangelist, then I saw the opportunities this technology can offer in solving this problem. By leveraging blockchain technology we are able to protect public records against permanent loss and unlawful changes.

Can you share your experiences and feelings from Startup Weekend Utrecht?

Food was lovely and the Mentors were always happy to answer our questions! I also liked the location and the cool BMWs there! However, it was intense two days. First I had the largest team, so managing them was a challenge. Second we had a diverse team and very young members. I had to explain the solution and Blockchain technology to all of my 10 teammates. Slowly we dived in the details of validation, business model canvas, and pitch practice!

How would you describe the atmosphere of the event?

Rich of surprises and a place to discover your limits. A place to discover what owning your own business is like for two days.

How did participation at Startup Weekend influence your business?

It gave us credibility and motivation to continue forward with our idea. We always present ourselves as winners of Startup Weekend Utrecht.  I would like to say thanks to the whole team that gave us the chance to change our lives and the lives of millions of people.

For whom would you advise to attend the event?

Everyone looking for a chance to succeed and believes in himself that he / she can do that!

Do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs?

You will hear the word Roller Coaster a lot – it describes the emotional phases you go thru in the life cycle of your business venture. Well the word is not even close to get the real meaning… All in all, my advice – do what you love and you will never fail!

If you feel like building your own success story, register NOW!

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#SWBrunei: Questions Answered

#SWBrunei: Questions Answered

What is Startup Weekend Brunei?

Startup Weekend is an initiative by Google for Entrepreneurs. Startup Weekend Brunei; get from idea to action in 54 exhilarating hours and be a part of a global movement!

Start building your future in just 54 hours Startup Weekend: Learn, Network, Startup.

The FIRST EVER Startup Weekend in Brunei looks to have 50 participants, 10 mentors (local / regional), 3 judges and 1 facilitator. This year, our goal is to simply present entrepreneurship in its raw nature; exciting, fun and beneficial. The 50 participants will be made up of 25 students and 25 more seasoned or experienced entrepreneurs.

What is the objective of Startup Weekend Brunei?

Our worldwide network is filled with community leaders, corporate partners, mentors, and investors who embody principles that are aligned to our organization’s heart.

The chances for both groups of people to be in the same room, let alone work together are pretty slim. What would happen if we bring together high energy idea tanks/skills, with a group of people experience and knowledge under their belt collectively totalling up to XX years? Magic perhaps. In other words, the possibilities would be further and wider than the horizons.

Who can join? Are there any specific qualifications or requirements?

Startup Weekend Brunei is open to Students and also Seasoned Entrepreneurs. However, we also welcome the public to join and be a part of the global community. There are no specific qualifications or requirements to join, whether you are a designer, techie or visionary, we open our doors to you! If you’re here to network, or simply develop more skills, this is your chance! 🙂

Do i need to have a business? What if I don’t have a business idea?

No, you don’t have to have a business. It will be a plus if you do! If you don’t have a business idea as well, it is alright as well! We’re all students and constantly learning! 

How about the fee? How do we pay?

For students , $50 and regulars , $70. Payments are only allowed via cash. You may also drop by our office at KHUB, level 5 at Anggerek Desa.

Payments must be paid before the 21st July. In order to arrange for payments, please contact our team at +673 7246463.

Can we pay via walk-ins?

After registrations, we strongly advise payments to be made via cash before the event. This is so we can confirm your spot and finalize the list before the event itself. However, should you are not able to pay before the event , you may come early and pay for the commencement of the event. Final registration is at 3PM.

During Registration, what is the purpose of the code?

The purpose of the code is to track our participants. It also enables our participants to pay via cash without any additional fees charged.

What is inclusive in the payment?

Awesome stuff from the STARTUP WEEKEND BRUNEI tshirts, pens and notebooks! 🙂

Where is the event venue and when will it be?

It will be located at Progresif HQ . It will be held on 21st July 2017 to the 23rd July 2017.

What are in the programs?

Participants will be placed into teams which will be announced. A mentor will be allocated for each teams. Throughout the weekend, we want you to come up with your dream idea. Whether it be a website or an application or anything that can be off benefit to mankind, we want you to make it happen. The program is a 3 day event which will include workshops such as Market Validation workshop, Tech Check, One to one mentorship and also Pitch fire.

Who is the facilitator of Startup Weekend Brunei?

The facilitator is a valuable member of the Startup Weekend community. They are experts that have undergone training to properly manage the tone, flow, feel and logistics of Startup Weekend. Their role is to support the teams and make sure everything goes smoothly during the event.

The facilitator will help to ensure that all our Startup Weekend events in Brunei maintain a level of consistency in terms of quality and energy that is similar to other Startup Weekend events all across the world.

We are honored to have facilitator is Jowynne Khor, Director, Community & Events at Malaysian Global Innovation & Creative Centre. Based in Singapore, apart from her role in e27, Jowynne has also been working with Startup Weekends all across Malaysia and now more regionally. She has been organising Startup Weekends for the last 2.5 years. e27 is an online community platform that connects people and reports tech startup news and trends relevant to startup communities in Asia.

Who are the mentors ?

Startup Weekend Brunei’s mentors are of regional network with global experiences in their respective industry. They will be present to guide the participants and focus their attention on building a strong foundation for a solid startup through problems, market size, customers, value proposition and business model. They will also assist in directing the teams towards becoming experts in the applicable sphere of their potential startup.  They are :

  • Aimi Ramlee , Co- Founder & Chief Business Development Officer of Tyne Solutions Sdn Bhd
  • Wirdy Hamidi, Multidisplinary Designer & Illustrator
  • Aizuddin Fakhri , Web Developer & Founder of Naindah.com
  • Asri Razak, Enterprise Programme Manager at DARe
  • Maverick Foo, Business Development Strategist at BDlabs.co
  • Debbie Ang, Freelance Content & Digital Marketer, Lecturer, Trainer at Tmax Venture Sdn Bhd / Key Content / Diamond Heels AG
  • Fatin Arifin, Marketing Manager of Brunei Halal, VP of Young Entrepreneurs Association Brunei & Founder of Cogent Inc.
  • Barbora Grexa, Managing Director & Co Founder of Nuara Group
  • Reenu Lodha, Digital Marketer
  • Jeremy Chua, Business Development Mentor and Coach

How about the speakers?

Well trained from reputable backgrounds, our speakers are carefully chosen to ensure that they can assist and provide you guide on how to direct your ideas to the right directions and to the right audience. They will provide talks that are beneficial whether it be for when you are pitching for investors or simply to a customer. Their talks will be able to useful on how to manage your businesses as well and ensure you to stay motivated throughout the journey.

  • Stuart Lee, Trainer and Award Winning Speaker
  • Bobby Fadhiullah Tudun, Senior Business Counsellor in LiveWIRE Brunei
  • Yazid Azahari,  Senior Project Manager for Microsoft Brunei & Brunei Solutions Development Centre
  • Zaim Ismail, Senior Engagement Manager for Microsoft Consulting Services, Brunei.

Who are the judges?

Our panel of 3 judges will be evaluating the final presentation on Sunday 23rd July 2017, and it will be a great way to provide additional valuable feedback to the teams. This will provide a great learning experience for the teams that pitch on Sunday especially for those who are pitching for the first time.  

They are

  • Rahimah Yusoff, Co-Manager & Lead from Women Tech Maker
  • Radi El Fassed , the head of Product Development at Progresif
  • NJ Hamdi Matussin , the Creative Director at Mixmediaworx.

Is this a competition?

Startup Weekend Brunei is not a competition, however, we do encourage participants to utilise the full use of the event to their benefit. Build networks, share ideas and work smart! There are prizes to win which can help you and your newly established team to push the idea to be the next big thing! Did we mention prizes? So watch out for our prize announcements! 😉

Who will benefit from Startup Weekend Brunei?

We believe by building this community , we are also welcoming the next generations of leaders. Startup Weekend Brunei also empowers the leaders of respective industries to give back to the community and help each other grow.

What are the prizes included on the last day?

Our prizes will be informed upon the launch of Startup Weekend Brunei.

Who are our organizers for Startup Weekend Brunei?

The organizers consists of a collaborative team for Startup Weekend Brunei which are The Creative Core BN and East and Charlie Co.

The Startup Weekend Brunei teams are

  • Jason Tse Tow , Project Leader
  • Shuu A. R , Lead Organizer & Founder of East And Charlie Co
  • Charlotte Lim , Project Manager & Co Founder of The Creative Core BN
  • Amali Roslin , Media & Public Relations
  • Sally Hani , Designer
  • Afiq Mohammed , Technology & Marketing


Feeling hyped up for Startup Weekend Brunei? Registrations are open until 20th July!  SIGN UP and if there are anymore questions, do drop us an email at startupweekendbrunei@gmail.com or contact us at +673 7246463. We shall see you there ! 🙂

Skills to succeed as an Entrepreneur

Skills to succeed as an Entrepreneur!

Our team is excited for the first ever Startup Weekend Brunei. By hosting this event, we hope we can help more people join the Startup Weekend community globally. Please check out http://bit.ly/startupweekendbrunei to find out more about Startup Weekend Brunei.

You may wonder what skills are needed to begin your entrepreneurship journey. The journey does not have to be difficult. In fact, setting on your entrepreneurship career may be one of the most fun thing to do. You will learn and discover the unexpected. Not to mention, you make new friends or find more business opportunities along the way. There’s a lot of ways to make yourself useful in a startup. Good news is that you don’t have to know everything. You simply need the right ones and a winning attitude. This list aims to help you to tune into the positive entrepreneurship mindset and become successful.

Ability to adapt and stay focused.

There are so many distracting factors that can hinder and slow you from achieving your goals. An entrepreneur must strive to overcome challenges and ensure that he is able to achieve the set vision. Some ideas and strategies may not work and you may resort to an alternative. That is completely fine because you will grow. Be resilient and don’t lose sight of your goal because the moment you snooze, you will lose.

Accepting failure and try again.

There will definitely be bumps along the way. You may be rejected by an investor or you may not launch your product upon schedule. Do not dwell on it. Take it as a lesson and see where you did wrong. Entrepreneurs should do their homework beforehand and gather the necessary knowledge and resources to enable better execution. There are numerous reliable tools that can help you be more efficient and productive. There are situations where a failure would seem impossible to bounce back. Fortunately that is all in your mind. You can always strive to persevere and hit hard the next time.

Always communicate and connect.

We would like to stress how important it is to communicate. Communicating involves listening and understanding your employees, mentors, clients, vendors, customers and investors. Follow up with them. Try to figure how your business can be of value to them and how your product can solve their problems. Connect with them and you may potentially open up more business opportunities. Take time to assess their feedbacks and ensure them that you’re there to help. On most occasions, they can also be the one helping you.

Develop leadership skills.

One of the beauty of starting up a business is to work together and become proactive. The ability to lead and motivate others to deliver is crucial otherwise, the business will be inefficient and end up wasting its resources. Learn how to delegate effectively and listen to your team mates. Ensure that you’re easily accessible and keep a positive energy. One of the misconception of leading is that there can only be one leader when in fact, all the team members are leaders of their own!

Continuously learning.

Entrepreneurs at one point will realise that they do not know everything. They will want to know how to do many things as well as getting to know the latest trends. It is important to allow oneself to be open to learning whether it be in business knowledge or learning a new programming language. Do not be afraid to set aside some time to read and try new things.

All of these skills can be learnt and there are vast skills that can be particularly useful in a Startup. Being an entrepreneur can be daunting , but do not let it discourage you. While there is no certain skill that can make you the best entrepreneur there is, there are skills that can help you succeed. If you’re thinking you’re lacking in any of these skills, don’t fret, we’re here to help! SIGN UP at Startup Weekend Brunei and let’s build those skills up! See you there! 🙂


Why Edtech Matters.


This year, I am co-organising the third edition of Startup Weekend Education in Dublin. For those who still haven’t heard what a Startup Weekend is, it can easily be summarize in six words – build a startup in 54 hours. If you would prefer like a more detailed explanation, I suggest you take a look at this amazing article written by my buddy Katalina!

Now that you know what we are talking about, you might wonder why we decided to focus on education. Indeed, why not just keep the regular Startup Weekend version held every year at Google? Since I cannot talk for others, I will explain why educational technologies (edtech), and therefore a Startup Weekend Education, is so important to me!

As long as I can remember, I have been very eager to learn new things (I am currently looking for taking some flying lesson!). I was always excited to go back to school after long holiday breaks and I never minded having homework. I was, and still am, an extremely curious person.

However, during my last two years of High School, when I specialized in Sciences for my A-level, I started to have some huge difficulties.

I would study Mathematics or Physics for hours with a private tutor to only get an F when I was at my best! During these two years, I started to have the feeling that my teachers or the French Education System failed me. And I just cannot stop thinking of what would have been these high school years if I had access to educational technology tools to help me. It is true that Edtech tools do not only help people with special needs learn at their own pace, they also help students personalize their learning experiences through adaptive learning, or help teachers teach large group of students through blended learning.

Years later, this question – does Edtech could have help me in High School – led me to write a Master’s thesis on French Edtech Startups while I was working on the creation of an app that combines language learning and AI (if you want to check it out: meet Mr Smith). This enquiry also led me to join Learning Tech Labs, where I am organizing monthly events, and then to join the Startup Weekend Education team. It might be easy, even cheesy, to say that I want to be part of the ongoing change in Education but that’s what I truly want! If that’s what you dream of too, join us for a weekend of creativity in September!

Rachel Fay