The perfect scheme for most startupers begins with a good idea and leads to a global company, operating in many countries.
Around 35% of teams stay together 3 months after a startup week-end and roughly 10% have raised money, says Joey Pomerenke, Startup Week-end CMO. Yet, the 2-days event is a good workshop to remind you how to build a global company.
The SWHK#7 happened 3 months after I arrived in Hong Kong. Enough to realise how thriving the Hong Kong startup scene was. A bunch of events had been organized the week before, around the StartmeupHK Venture Program forum. It was very exciting to meet so many people within the ecosystem: entrepreneurs, accelerators, co-working spaces, lawyers, governments agencies… And the Startup Week-end was a really nice conclusion to this week.
It was the first time I took part in such an event. I was really curious about the experience. It happened in Cocoon, a cool co-working space in Hong Kong, where we could work all week-end long. Startupers and students, local people and foreigners, designers, developers and business people, participants, mentors and judges, all kind of people gathered up for the week-end. More than 70 people dedicated themselves to building startups during 48 hours.
It began on a Friday night. After a short introduction, we formed teams.
The team & project.
I joined a Brazilian guy’s crew. We were 7 people. 6 business people, 1 designer and no developer. Let me quickly sum up the project we worked on.
Rafael, our team leader & Arman, our designer
Issue: In Brazil, many people order products on Alibaba. But when the products are delivered, their characteristics (quality, color, size, material…) often don’t match the order.
Solution: The idea was to create a platform, like fiverr, where Brazilian buyers could send requests for quick and cheap quality controls. On the other side, we wanted to build a community based close to the factories (in Hong Kong to get to Shenzhen for instance) to reply to the requests. A basic control would have been a picture and a few questions to answer.
Oh, something I forgot about the team. As I told you, we had one person from Brazil, but also one from Holland, one from Mexico, one from Moldova, one guy from Hong Kong of course and we were two people from France. We had so many different backgrounds to come up with the right solutions. Well, it didn’t really go as planned.
Our strength quickly became a weakness in the Startup Week-end, and we finished the event with no real valuable proposition to offer.
Being so different was very time-consuming. In 48 hours, you have almost no time to discuss. You need to get things done quickly to unveil your MVP on Sunday night. None of us were convinced with the business model, as it might not have been viable in our own countries. We lost valuable time discussing a lot.
It was very hard to get some potential-customers feedbacks as none of us but our team founder knew any Brazilian person who could answer our questions.
However, here are a few best practices I could figure out from this experience.
#0. Make your product scalable
This is a prerequisite. Startupers know that better than anyone, of course: being scalable is about creating the processes that will allow you to easily answer a growing demand.
This is how we thought our product. It was almost a tacit agreement that led us to this web platform solution, where a growing community could have quickly answered a growing demand for quality controls.
Being scalable is mandatory to access any investment money or any accelerator, as it is at Nest, one of Hong Kong top accelerator programs and as it was at the Startup Week-end final pitch. Yet, it might have been useful to follow Paul Graham’s, Y Combinator co-founder, advice there before getting into this scalable model.
#1. Test foreign markets first
During the Startup Week-end, it was highly recommended, if not mandatory, to use Value Proposition Design Tools & Business Canvas (for anyone interested in Hong Kong, you can join the Meetup Group). The purpose of this tools was to get product/market fit and so customers as quickly as possible.
Using these tools to go global and discover new markets makes completely sense. And we did it during the Startup Week-end. Here is what we learnt about the project.
It would have been very hard to get customers in France, Holland or Mexico (no trust).
In Hong Kong, nobody really saw the need for such a service. They simply change the provider if the product doesn’t match the quality requirements.
First Conclusion: When you have a product or service that works somewhere (here in Brazil), this is not obvious it would work anywhere else. So, test your markets.
#2. Think local
Another conclusion to our tests came directly from eastern Europe and Russia. It appeared the service we planned to develop, could have been useful to women from there who wanted to buy directly on markets in Chinese market. You get some products’ picture from a local community member, who can also buy it and ship it to you.
We weren’t convinced we had a real opportunity there, and we finally didn’t focus on it. But I came to a second conclusion. Think local when you want to expand a business abroad. You might find new & unexpected opportunities.
A good and local example might be Uber. They successfully launched their company here in Hong Kong and I remember this conference, where they displayed outstanding figures (regarding previous launches in San Francisco, Paris and London). I was all the more surprised that I always heard Hong Kong taxi service was really good.
Just go on their website. You will see how they adapted to the market, launching Uber Taxi (order a regular taxi through Uber) and Uber Cargo (probably directly inspired from successful companies here, EasyVan and GogoVan).
Uber website for Hong Kong
#3 Form an international team
This is stating the obvious, but good to be mentioned. Work with local people on the markets you want to settle in. You will have a way better understanding of how business works there.
From one desk in Cocoon, we managed to reach people in 5 different countries to get feedbacks on our service. We also had great insights from our Hong Kongese teammate, who knew how to deal with factories, providers and where to find them here.
Iana (Moldova), Jacky (Hong Kong) & Hosni (the Netherlands), working on our project
The Startup Week-end was, above all, a human experience, where you learn to work with others to solve real problems and create great companies. That is for sure.
Even if you have a startup already, the Startup Week-end might offer you good insights, hands-on experience and fun. That’s essential.
I’ve been observing global strategies for more than two years now, and this is the problem I am trying to solve with my partners: we created mercurr to make it easier for tech startups to go global. The Startup Week-end confirmed the ideas we had. Think global from day 1, don’t be afraid to explore & test unexpected markets and work with locals. It will get you on the road to global success.
In 2012, Thomas and I launched a non-profit media organisation, focusing on French entrepreneurs all around the world, the W Project (only available in French, but a few videos like this one!). From march 2013 to march 2014, we travelled in 13 countries and shot 70+ interviews.
Thomas, Edgar & Brice, mercurr co-founders
Post written by Brice de Matharel:
Startup Weekend Hong Kong was one of the most hands-on experiences I’ve had for learning about startups, it’s really a great place to make friends who are passionate, active and ready for challenges. Our team consisted of a designer, a full stack from silicon valley, two marketing managers, two business consultants and a fulltime programmer. We were constantly challenged by our mentors and the team built a strong bond through hard work, team spirit and persistence.
It really wasn’t easy but it was more than rewarding. To me, SWHK was a great lesson to learn more about my strengths and weakness; to run through a business idea and build a prototype within 54 hours was a great reminder of how quickly a team can move at full speed. I also built valuable connections at SWHK, in which a friend became a mentor of my current startup – JOBDOH.
After startup weekend, I was determined to head down the startup path. Knowing that having a great team with a validated idea is the key to a successful startup, I was very lucky to meet my cofounders Xania and Eric at the Google EYE programme. Our group camped at cafes twice a week to build our business model and prototype until we received our first funding from Cyperport. That was one of the first breakthroughs for us, also the one that gave the three of us the courage in working on JOBDOH fulltime.
I have learnt so much over the past year, some of the most useful ones are being able to accommodate to changes, act fast and build quickly. Being in a startup is like riding a roller-coaster sometimes, especially on bad days where you get more rejections in a day that in a year and of course awesome days when we win an award or get funding. It is almost like a sport, a continuous learning process and one of the biggest challenges that we faced was in product development. We tried to cater to too many different customer groups. Since we spent a lot of time on perfecting a product for very different groups, tweaking our service and product over and over was quite draining for the team and we ended up with a product that tried to do too much rather than a great product that focused on a segment.
We have now chosen a vertical to focus on now and that made the process flow as well as the marketing and branding plans much clearer and effective. Another challenge we are facing now is talent and hiring. In the earliest stages of a business, the biggest investment made is often the employees, both from a monetary and trust standpoint. At the same time, it’s important to build a good team and sometimes time is of the essence.
Discover JOBDOH’s profile and three job postings:
Article written by Mary Cheung
Pictures from http://startupstockphotos.com/
Photo credit: Cynthia Cheung by Kevin Nguyen (2013) @Smileforstrangers.blogspot.com
I can tell you first-hand, you will get the most out of a Startup Weekend with an open mind and open arms. I went to my first one in Silicon Valley while backpacking knowing absolutely nobody and had no idea what to expect. I made some incredible friends and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share the energy and experience in Hong Kong, hence I volunteered to be an organiser for SWHK#7 (Nov 2014). Being an organiser not only allows you to enjoy the Startup Weekend fun (and stress) for 3 extra months, it also provides a more holistic view of the city’s startup scene. Not to mention you get to connect with some of the most amazing people who are also giving up their time and energy to help others discover their dreams, passion and make new friends. I want to elaborate on why Startup Weekend is the best place to find co-founders and talents, I know many of you came for this very reason, and I have recently found mine there!
1. The right mentality
Let’s face it, people are busy, even with no reasons.
Where else will you be able to meet someone who is willing to give up a full weekend and a couple of hundred dollars (HKD) just to meet others who will do the same? People who come to Startup Weekend want to make things happen. They are determined, focused and driven. Moreover, the unique combination of skills to make a modern startup successful are all present at the weekend for you to grab. Opportunities favor the prepared mind, what are you waiting for?
2. Make or break in 54 hours
I know hiring is difficult, finding a startup soulmate, even more so!
How well do you know a person from an interview? How well can you know a person after working with him/her for 54 roller-coaster hours? You get what I mean. Put it this way, these 54 hours will cost you a lot less than hiring / partnering with the wrong person. On the other hand, what is 54 hours when you can find a unicorn who shares your vision?
3. Up your chances
I found mine there, and I’m not alone.
Many people have asked me, “What’s the chance of anyone actually meeting a co-founder at a Startup Weekend?”. My answer is, “A lot higher than anywhere else”.
I met a fellow organiser who was enthusiastic in a problem I was trying to solve, and that’s all it took to start a mini hackathon on the side during the weekend. You make your own luck.
I hope you find this post encouraging, stay tuned, we look forward to meeting you very soon!
p.s. We are looking for sponsorship and would love to have your support 🙂
Article written by Cynthia Cheung @cyniec
What am I going to do with my life? That was my thought process going into Startup Weekend Fall 2013. I was simultaneously rejected for the Rhodes Scholarship, a consulting job, and had just wrapped up a frustrating week at a case competition; needless to say, I was not in a good mood. I figured that Startup Weekend would be a better use of my time than wallowing in self-pity.
Coming into the event, I had a vague idea for a product based off my experiences hiking. It quickly became apparent though that no one else was interested. Fortunately, I found an idea I liked, Rent My Dorm. Rent My Dorm was supposed to be the answer to a problem that plagues university students, where to get the necessities to fill your dorm. We proposed buying furniture, bedding, etc… in bulk and then renting it out to students. We soon discovered this was not realistic, as the costs for storing things in Hong Kong would make the idea prohibitively expensive.
The team then pivoted to Mungo, a mobile focused e-commerce platform. We would make it easier to buy and sell items on your phone with a particular focus on university students. Mungo was the idea we ended up pitching, but we didn’t win.
The original group’s collaboration ended with a project for our entrepreneurship class at CUHK. We further researched the idea, but our classmates and teacher were all unimpressed. As the Fall semester wrapped up, my group became to pack up and prepare for their moves back to the US and Europe. At that point, I had to decide to give up or keep going…I choose to keep going.
On my own
Like many recent graduates, especially in the winter, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had heard about a program at Cyberport called CCMF; so, I figured I would apply. Unexpectedly, two days after returning to the US for the holidays, I was invited back for an interview. I made the decision to forgo family time for the hope I could make this idea work.
Lesson One: “If you are not willing to sacrifice everything, you will never achieve anything”.
Through a stroke of luck, I was awarded funding from CCMF while still being unsure of what exactly I was going to do. I did some research and noticed that Hong Kong’s charities were particular lacking in donations because traditional Asian culture avoids second-hand goods. I then decided to rebrand Mungo to Traider. Traider was supposed to combine Trade + Aid. Like Mungo, we would make it easy to buy and sell goods through your phone; however, if your item remained unsold we would find a charity that could use it. Like many participants at Startup Weekend, I did not know how to program nor did I have the resources to hire someone.
I spent the next few months trying to cobble together a business, but I was not getting anywhere. I had heard Cyberport was sponsoring a Hackathon; so, I figured what did I have to lose. My team and I ended up winning and were awarded a free trip to Shanghai for MoDev. Unfortunately, I suffered a serious facial injury during rugby; so, as you can tell from this photo, it was not a highlight of my life.
Lesson 2: “If you want to start a startup, learn programming”
I came back from that trip with a fascination for the amount of people who only know “business”. To be a successful founder, you need two out of the three following skills: Hustle, Design, or Programming. Regarding the last point, I don’t mean the technical talent required to manage a banking server as many HK Universities teach; instead, you need the ability to creatively program and create technical works of art. Recognizing I cannot design to save my life, I decided to investigate programming and stumbled upon One Month. While there are many great coding resources: Code School, Code Academy, Code.org, Teamtreehouse.com, One Month was the only one that taught me to build something I would actually use. After finishing the course, I launched traider.hk, but I still had no one using it.
Last May, I again returned to the US, but I still did not know how I was going to make this idea work. From talking to advisors, I recognized I needed outside help; so, I contracted On-Off Design. On-Off Design proved instrumental in transforming the idea I had into a viable business. Through them, I discovered my true passion was reducing waste in Hong Kong. I noticed almost daily there were articles about recycling not being recycled or Hong Kong’s landfills running out of room; so, we decided to do something about it. EcoPort was born from this idea, to simplify recycling. We are working with companies to turn sustainability into a competitive advantage. We also plan to work with local schools to promote recycling to the next generation.
The biggest problem impediment to recycling in Hong Kong is the government’s opinion that recycling has to be an all or nothing proposition. We believe that sustainable changes come about in stages, and we must nurture it at the grassroots level. Like the story of the young child throwing back starfishes, we believe our client’s small changes will over time make a big difference. We plan to launch our app within the next month, and will hopefully be employing the elderly who already pick up waste. We plan to provide them a more stable income and less working hours because not only does Hong Kong throw away stuff, it also throws away people.
HK’s Startup Economy
In one word, it sucks. Hong Kong’s community still has a long way to go. Some of the people you may meet: “Failed at X Tried a Startup”, can no longer make money in property so are now “angel investors”, and people like me who have a lot to learn about the world, but also have nothing to lose. One of the biggest problems is the Startup Events. They at times seem equivalent to an AA/Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where everyone bemoans their startup problems, and people offer tactile advice. We then have so called “experts” who reiterate the same concepts but are invited to speak at event after event. It would be nice to see more events that explored topics broadly. For example, I attended the CSR Asia Conference last fall and found it more rewarding than many startup events. I got the opportunity to interact with a completely new set of people and gain exposure to actual problems. I think it would be great to provide entrepreneurs cheaper access to the events, but also present an opportunity to discuss what problems they discovered. In my opinion, this would be a much more rewarding “sharing session” than the events we are currently forced to endure.
Starting a Business
Starting a business in Hong Kong, at least the registration, is a relatively painless. You find a company secretary and they will handle your incorporation. Legal and Accounting issues are important, but I have found they do not need to be address immediately. Figure out what exactly you are trying to do, and then you should be able to find reliable professional services. One solution, I can recommend, is fellow SWHK alum Dragon Law, it may seem pricey up front; however, you will reap the savings in the long term.
Visas applications are never fun in any country; however, the system is particularly straightforward in Hong Kong. It is best to have One Million HKD in your bank account before applying. This amount shows the government you are serious and also show plans to hire local talent. Stephen Barnes, http://www.hongkongvisageeza.com/ , is one of the best resources; so, if you have questions, ask him.
Talent in Hong Kong is an organic problem that increases and decreases in difficulty on a daily basis. If you are hiring recent graduates, know that most of them are good at doing one thing fairly well. Due to the paramount importance of the DSE, many graduates still lack the ability to think outside of the box. One overlooked opportunity is Hong Kong citizens who have graduated from schools outside of Hong Kong. They may be more difficult to find due to the lack of a system like JISIS; however, the success of people like Stephen Lam at GoGoVan proves it is worth investigating.
Figure out quickly how badly do you want your idea to succeed. Many people are going to tell you it will fail, or you are wasting time trying to make an idea succeed. If you are coming from a stellar academic or professional background, this may be hard to endure. If like myself, you are used to things not working out, you may find this rejection easier to endure.
Look into what programming language is best suited for your environment.
Big Data, Algorithms: Python
Social Networks, “Artsy”: Ruby
Asia, MENA, Africa focused mobile app: Java
US or Western Europe: Swift and Objective-C
Video Games: Unity or Java
Knowledge is power. If you are not constantly learning, you are missing out. I keep a Goggle Doc of some of my favorite stories; so, I can reference them later. It is also a useful exercise in extracting key details. Some of the sites I use for news.
News – General: Economist, Quartz, Flipboard
News – Tech: StartupsHK, Tech in Asia, Venture Beat, Product Hunt
Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneur Magazine, Mattermark, First Round Capital, LKR Social Media
Podcasts: Rocketship, James Altecher, Startup, Reply All, This American Life
Lesson Three: “Follow your passion”
If you are only building something to make money, you will probably not succeed. It is never easy to create something new, and you only need to read the paper to realize fabulous wealth != (does not equal) happiness. Although 90% of business fail, if you are following your dreams, you are more likely to possess the perseverance to be one that succeeds. Best of luck in your Entrepreneurial Journey and feel free to connect via Twitter jaysig91 or email Jason@ecoport.hk .
Article written by Jason Sigmon
Images from Jason or http://startupstockphotos.com/
It’s a hard road you’ve chosen. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. However, if you insist, I’ve written a simple cheat sheet for you to constantly remind yourself if you are staying on the path.
Here it goes…
Make something people want – Paul Graham at Y Combinator
You’d be surprised how often people end up “making something I want”. After all, aren’t we all egoists?
Solve a big problem, the bigger the problem the bigger the opportunity – Vinod Khosla
99% of the ideas I’ve heard during my teaching/advising/mentoring starts out with an allegedly cool idea and not a painful problem.
Has someone solved this problem before? If so, can you do a better job? (aka competitive analysis)
The corollary is that if you found someone else’s solution after you’ve identified a problem it is likely not a painful problem for you because you never looked for the solution before.
How many people share this problem?* How much value are you creating by solving this problem? Quickly estimate the value of your solution and see if it’s worth further investigation.
Remember that resizing your market is a balancing act. The bigger the target market the more complex your solution. (Side note: Hong Kong is a very small market in terms of Internet size. If you target only HKG customers you better be offering a lot of value per transaction to make it worthwhile.)
Speaking of value, “no value, no customer”. Value is what makes users come back for more. Be very clear to yourself and others about your value proposition.
So, you think you have a solution that creates value. Can you list the assumptions you are making? Your aim is to use whatever means possible to quickly and cheaply validate your assumptions. How do you do that, you ask. This is the hard part; there is no formula. There are bags of tricks, like A-B test, false doors/buttons/offers, etc. Come ask me if you need help.
Do not achieve failure – Eric Ries
Following a business plan faithfully for an unproven business model will likely take you successfully to a business failure because most business models are not viable.
The entire process should be scientific. You start with a hypothesis (assumption), and design an experiment, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which returns data to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Collecting the data is important, and so is listening to your customers. They will both lead to a potential change in your business model. Big changes are called “pivots”.
An MVP is an experiment, nothing more. You should resist any temptation to add features/services/functions willy nilly without data to back up it’s utility. For example, if your assumption is that customers want a 3D view of your product, why not add a button offering it. Of course don’t surprise your customer when he presses this false button. Either tell him it will be coming soon or offer an alternative means. Build the feature only when you have enough interest.
Startup is a “temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” – Steve Blank
Picture an ocean of business models (see example below). The vast majority are not viable; ie. value created does not cover the cost of creating it. Your job as an entrepreneur is to navigate this ocean of business models to find land (viable business model).
One last thing. Starting a laundry service is not a scalable startup. Starting a new Internet search is a scalable startup. The more you take advantage of automation the more likely you can scale your value creation with great multiples.
Good luck and go change the world!
Article from William Liang, Ph.D.
* This does not apply to Blue Ocean thinking where you are solving a problem that does not exist in the consumer’s mind yet.
As a mentor, a typical scenario that I have often witnessed during Startup Weekends is that Friday idea pitches are either 100% business-focused or 100% technology-focused. This sounds obvious and it is, it’s a reflection of the person who gives the idea pitch. However, the value of Startup weekend has to kick in and often the team leader (who also gave the pitch) forgets that. For instance, a solution might be conceived to resolve an identified problem but the mechanics and execution of the idea might not be technologically feasible. On the other hand, I have also seen pitches that are viable with regards to programming and development but are not sustainable long-term as a commercial venture.
A big value of startup weekend is to substantiate and give “face” to your idea. Still a lot of team leaders forget to validate and iterate. Making a user fit is hard, harder than people think. If you are a charismatic business founder, it’s easy to convince your teammates that your idea should be selected and if you’re a technology founder, it’s easy to “wow” teammates with your technical skills. However, is that a user fit?
Therefore, one recommendation that I can offer to teams would be to first, validate your assumptions. As a start-up, your ideas will be based on a number of presumptions about the target market, their behaviors and needs. Ensure that your idea can solve that existing validated problem and second, check that it is within the scope of your team’s technical abilities to program the application or software. Use metrics to support your decision and your direction. In forming your hypothesis, the statement “We think” is incorrect. Instead, using phrases such as, “we know 1,000 people have this problem because we talked to every single one of them” provide a better basis for supporting your idea.
Talk to passersby, gauge whether they fit the profile of your intended customer and get their input on your product. In doing so, you can understand the consumer’s mindset, make adjustments to the original set of assumptions you made with your team and refine your product or service offerings. Evidently, the proportion of individuals that you arbitrarily discuss your products with may not be the customer you had in mind. However, their feedback may be invaluable in that you are able to determine how other market segments perceive your product.
With regards to growth hacking techniques, one method that I advocate and highly recommend using would be pre-written tweets. Users can click on a link and a Twitter dialogue box appears with content and call-to-actions which serves as an easy “share”. To conclude, a piece of advice that I’d like to provide to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to remember that the average relationship with an investor is typically longer than the average marriage. In other words, make sure that you and the would-be investor are compatible. As in any relationship, two-way communication and clear expectations build the foundation of a successful partnership.
Jeffrey Broer, Founder of Grayscale Ltd, Co-founder of Surround App.
Contact Jeffrey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jebbery
The 10th edition of the Entrepreneurship Winter School will be be launch by ThinkYoung, Huawei and the University of Hong Kong.
ThinkYoung, the University of Hong Kong and Huawei are going to launch its 10th edition of the Entrepreneurship Winter School in Hong Kong. The programme, which will last 5 days, from the 5th to the 9th of January, will be hosting many entrepreneurs coming from all over the world, providing a great cultural mix. The aim of the programme is enabling participants to develop their business ideas and encourage them to reach their professional targets.
The Entrepreneurship Winter School is one of the ThinkYoung’s projects. It takes place twice per year both during the summer and winter in two different locations, Hong Kong and Brussels. ThinkYoung’s Entrepreneurship Schools were first introduced during the summer of 2010 in Brussels with the intend to help young Europeans who had creative start up ideas but did not know how to set up a business. However, up to date, the school has gained experience and has grown tremendously.
Through the Entrepreneurship School, they allow young entrepreneurs to unlock their true potential, which is done by helping them to build up their confidence and expand their skills to develop their entrepreneurial ideas. Christian, a French student from the Winter School in Hong Kong 2014, experienced this: “Overall, the visit here really changed my mind about shaping a company”.
Entrepreneurship School initiatives are possible because of the team of mentors who supervise and support the implementation of students’ projects. In the next edition, seven successful entrepreneurs are ready to help young people with creative start up ideas but without knowledge on how to set up a business.
Charles Mok will be one of them. He is one of the ICT industry pioneers in Hong Kong, as Honorary President of Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, former Chairman of Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, and Co-founder of Internet Society Hong Kong.
Another speaker will be Alex Tang, the CEO of SXC Asia, who leads the company’s business expansion in Greater China. The School will also count with the participation of Cindy Ko, an influential fashion blogger based in Hong Kong. She has been featured in major magazines and covers many-large fashion events, including Fashion Week in New York and Australia.
Apart from them, our list of speakers will be fill with other successful entrepreneurs such as Joao Seabra, (founder of Jump Willy), Jim Coke (founder of Hilmann Reinier) and Simon Squibb (founder of multi award-winning).
Can Entrepreneurship be taught? Maybe this question does not have answer. However, the speakers will bring their experiences to the table in order to inspire the participants, all in a very didactic way. Away from the typical lecture approach, the Entrepreneurship Schools works with a unique methodology. They are not professors or boring lecturers, only exciting pioneers who can offer knowledge by sharing their experiences and giving the participants advices, which they cannot find in books.
What is clear is that the week from the 5th to the 9th of January will be full of activities for all students attending the school. “It is very intense. Every day, morning and afternoon, there are entrepreneurs talking to us, answering our questions”, said a student from the Summer School in Brussels 2014. “We learn lessons from their failure experiences. Now I know how to avoid same mistakes when I will open my company”.
During the week, the participants will also visit the headquarters of Huawei in Shenzhen, one of the biggest and most innovative technology firms in the world, founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei. The multinational has expanded from reselling PBX products to becoming a leading global ICT solutions provider. “The presentation of the company gave me the feeling that Huawei is like a big family”, mentioned by Dimitra, a Greek student who really enjoyed the School and company visit.
The visit in Shenzhen will enable the students to catch a glimpse of Huawei’s work and experience first-hand how the company innovates. Huawei has initiated a number of activities to boost ICT skills and entrepreneurship among young people, using its strategic position as a global ICT leader to reach out to students and connect them with opportunities.
Its Telecom Seeds for the Future programme for instance is an umbrella initiative launched to bridge the gap between what is learned and what is needed in the industry. “The Huawei president was taking time for us, it is not an usual thing that such a big company having one person just assigned to students. We are just students here” commented a student from the Winter School in Hong Kong 2013.
All in all, the 10th edition of the Entrepreneurship Winter School is committed to be an opportunity to students from over the world, where seven successful entrepreneurs will share their experiences and knowledge with the aim of making their students’ dreams true.
Starting from today, Bridges Executive Centre (www.Bridges.HK) will share some important HK Business Startup tips with Startup Weekend participants here. Bridges has been in business for 10 years and helped over 8,000 locals and expats incorporate and grow their business in HK. We hope our provided knowledge can give you some insights and help you equip yourself with entrepreneurial skills for your next venture challenge.
Referred to the Q ‘Can I Set up a HK Company in 2 Days?’, the answer is ‘yes’, you can do so by purchasing a ready-made shelf company. As its name suggests, a shelf company is an entity that has already been incorporated and is available for selling now. It is legally registered in HK without any assets or liabilities.
This entity is popular for people who do not have preference in the company name and can’t wait too long to get it incorporated. Below please find the pros and cons comparison of a shelf company:
|Advantages of a Shelf Company|
|Short Processing Time||If you cannot wait until an all-new company is incorporated (usually takes around 10 working days), you can opt for a shelf company that only takes 1-2 working days to finish the setup. It is preferable for businessmen who stay in HK for a very short period of time.|
|An Almost Instant Option||Under some circumstances, you will need to do business immediately by having a company registration number on hand, like making an urgent business deal or entering into a tender.|
|Quick Bank Account Opening||If you opt for an all-new company setup, you will need to wait for around 2-weeks time to get the firm incorporated and bank account ready. Comparatively, if you buy a shelf company, you can open the bank account right away after the purchase, and start your money transactions quickly.|
|Various Business Nature & Longevity||At Bridges, our shelf company list has different kinds of business nature options for your selection, such as investment, IT, garment, etc. to fit your needs. What’s more, besides of those that are formed for months, we also have aged shelf companies for you to deliver reliable image to stakeholders.|
|Disadvantages of a Shelf Company|
|Limited Company Name Choice||When you buy a shelf company, you need to choose your company name from a given shelf list, and cannot specify your preferred company name from the beginning. However, you can change the company name after the purchase.|
|Maintenance Fee||Since a shelf company has been set up for a period of time already, it could incur different maintenance fees shortly after the purchase like Annual Return fee, accounting and audits arrangement fee, etc.|
Have any further questions? No worries. Feel free to ask here and a member of Bridges’ team will answer your questions shortly. And, don’t forget a discounted ALL-IN-ONE Company Setup Package with HK$1,000 off is now offered to Startup Weekend participants like you, click here to learn more details of the package and enjoy.
Participating in Startup Weekend Hong Kong in April earlier this year was an invigorating experience, one we heartily recommend to every member of the startup world. We had the honor to be mentors and can sincerely say that there is nothing quite like being in a room full of like minded people all chewing on the same meta problem, that of how to launch a business. It is exciting to watch and interact with the development process in fast forward motion, with passionate teams of smart, dedicated people tackling the main elements of the startup dilemma- problem, product, and profit- in just a single weekend.
Hong Kong is a hub of different cultures and world class centre of business and industry, and as such, SWHK teams are able to work on truly unique and interesting problems- always a big plus for startup entrepreneurs. On the other hand, one of the tougher challenges startups face here is how to address scalability. In many ways, Hong Kong can be looked at as two different cities with a majority local population who is preferential to being serviced in Cantonese and a far smaller expat population within which English is the lingua franca. Focusing exclusively on the expat market seems to have serious limitations.The best SWHK team are addressing issues faced by the greater Chinese market, the Asia region or, if truly ambitious from the get-go, ones with global reach.
One of the most engaging and inventive parts of the SWHK process in our humble view is the product creation phase. The energy from the teams is palpable as they brainstorm together and argue ardently in a sea of colored post-it notes and busy white boards. Whilst we found that many teams had potentially great products, few were in the ‘blue ocean’ vein. Creating a new product that must instantly compete to survive is time consuming, expensive, and difficult. Teams that look to create a product with no direct competitors- true disrupters- end up actually creating their own demand. They are able to use their resources to focus on execution instead of out-marketing the competition. When kicking ideas around, it’s important to ask yourself: Has this been done before? Can I do it significantly better?
Once the product is agreed upon, the teams need to work out how their ideas can make money. This part is quite possibly the most challenging. There are growth entrepreneurs. There are product entrepreneurs. There are customer entrepreneurs. Our aim is to be the profit entrepreneur. We live by the extremely wise tenet: Be profitable, not sexy. Building the next Facebook sounds like a great idea. So does creating the next World of Warcraft. But will you make any money? It’s easy to forget about the numbers. Us tech news geeks get our heads filled with stories of multi billion dollar valuation for companies without a revenue stream. Those stories are like Hollywood actors. Sure the lucky ones make it big, huge even. But 99% fail miserably and work at your local diner serving you coffee for the rest of their lives. We all want to work on the next Google, but the reality is many web platforms have shaky revenue models. Great startups have solid revenue streams and are able to convert their idea into actual sales. There is only so much advertising revenue you can generate without actual product/service sales. To make decent money from online advertising, you need around a million monthly page views- truly a Herculean task. Understanding your profit drivers is the most difficult part of business. If you can put together a plan to solve a a problem AND generate cash flow– well, you just might change the world and make money doing so.
Given the many pitfalls of entrepreneurship and the juggling act that is starting your own businesses, SWHK is a great place to work out some of these kinks before launching for real and we highly recommend the experience to any budding entrepreneurs around.
Sonalie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenqueenhk
Tracy on Crunchbase: http://www.crunchbase.com/person/tracy-turo
JoyfulHelper at RISE@CoCoon
At JoyfulHelper, we believe in equality and professional treatment for migrant domestic workers. Our mission is to help migrant women lead a happier more meaningful life. We do this by matching them with employers who will treat them with respect, creating a happy work environment. We also help them develop new skills and knowledge to empower them to contribute meaningfully when they return to their home country.
We offer our services online, so that we can reach as many people as possible and meet the unique time and internet access challenges faced by domestic workers.
How JoyfulHelper started
Mark and Martin, the cofounders of JoyfulHelper both share a passion for helping society and using technology to improve the lives of others. JoyfulHelper was born at StartupWeekendHK, when Mark and Martin met and realized they shared the same vision for helping migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong and across Asia.
After StartupWeekendHK they decided to make JoyfulHelper their priority and immerse themselves in the market identifying what are the pain points they could address using technology.
Why did we join RISE@CoCoon?
Joining RISE@CoCoon was a natural progression from StartupWeekendHK, as the focus was on the steps a startup needs to go through at its early stages. We knew that the program included great mentors and speakers who themselves had successful startups.
With limited capital, we wanted to make sure that we put our attention on the activities that would lead to the greatest growth and impact.
What was the most valuable lesson?
The program provided us with a wealth of resources to prepare for each class with excellent reading, videos, and exercises. We were also introduced to frameworks for managing information and decision making in the formative stages of a startup, with the goal of getting us toward product-market fit.
One of the first frameworks introduced to us was the SPA treatment for segmenting markets, helping us determine their size potential and accessibility. A useful and quick sanity check for any startup!
Who would benefit from attending the next sessions and why?
Entrepreneurship in HK has been thriving recently and the number of startups has been on the rise. Not all succeed because, let’s face it, transforming an idea into a viable product is hard. That is, it is hard without the right tools, frameworks, customer and market focus.
RISE helps early-stage startups validate and fine-tune their idea and design a product that is the right fit for the market. It does so through an extremely thorough use of models and frameworks and also by bringing industry experts sharing their feedback and their recipes for success.
RISE is great for first time entrepreneurs or tech-heavy startups looking for market-driven product direction, as well as anyone looking to practically apply the tools that make businesses focused and successful.
If you have a passion for using technology to help lives of migrant women, and want to contribute to the benefit of society, we are looking to grow our development team. Contact us at email@example.com.
Post written by the team behind JoyfulHelper.com