That’s a wrap on Startup Weekend Kuala Lumpur Women! What a weekend it was — full of networking, teamwork, learning, new challenges, tons of coffee consumption, innovative approaches, secret dance parties and awesome pitches. Most importantly though, it was a weekend full of empowerment, support and the familiar Startup Weekend magic that turned fresh new ideas into incredible realities. 💡💪🏼💯
The main goal of having a women’s edition weekend is to encourage and inspire more female leaders in startup teams, and to connect more women to the vast number of resources and mentors available in our startup community. Male participants are welcomed — but with a smaller quota of available spots so as to encourage a larger participation rate of women in the roles of participants, mentors, organizers and judges. SWKL Women aims to help elevate entrepreneurship and inclusion around the world, one Startup Weekend Women at a time.
The format of Startup Weekend Women does not differ at all from general Startup Weekends. It still is focused on enabling participants to test their ideas and meet awesome people they probably would never have met otherwise! It is about learning how a startup works, what problems a startup might have, how to co-work with others (both men and women), how to deal with VC, how to lead a team, how to create a narrative about your startup, how to talk to your customers, why you need to understand your customer — and being amazed by people’s creativity, by people’s strength, and by people’s ability to learn and awe! We wanted to give participants all the right elements of a crazy, intense, fun weekend that showed them how much they can learn, create and grow in just 54 hours! Throughout the weekend, they were also introduced not only to a bunch of ambitious dreamers, but also to a network of experienced mentors, startups founders, enthusiast, community builders & investors.
THE WEEKEND COUNTDOWN.
On Friday there was a room full of ideas 65 bright-eyed participants, and19 ideas pitched — one presented as spoken word poetry. That night, 11 teams were formed, ready to kick-start their crazy weekend together. Over the next two days, the teams worked tirelessly to bring their 60 second pitch into something tangible and sustainable. We had the pleasure of having 24 remarkable mentors join us over the weekend to challenge, guide and support our 11 burgeoning teams.
As a few of our mentors noted, although there were no idea restrictions or themes over the weekend, almost all — 8/11 ideas — were centered around social impact. It was incredibly inspiring and heartening to see how these amazing women-led startups came up with tangible ideas not just to make money, but to positively impact society and the people around them. #WomenYouAmazeUs
Two days later we had a room full of new and innovative business concepts and our 11 teams were ready to pitch their idea in front of our jury and the greater audience! *EXCITED VIBES IN THE AIR!!!*.
It is incredibly humbling to see so many awesome and innovative business ideas born and built at this Startup Weekend! Although the spirit of Startup Weekend isn’t the competition — but rather the education and experience — on Sunday evening everyone (teams and organisers alike) were curious to see which teams and ideas were able to convince the panel of judges on their viability and sustainability. So, there were a few prizes to help their startup grow after the weekend was over.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
After thorough deliberation, our five judges finally came to a consensus. They loved all the ideas so much, that they decided to award two honourable mentions — just because they couldn’t fit all the amazing ones into the top three. So before we share the winners, a big shoutout and thank you to our five all-star judging panel:
- Choo Dee Wei | Partner at Dee at Netto, Fatimah & Ng)
- Eugénie Laarman-Boekel | Global Sr. Brand Manager Friso at FrieslandCampina
- Freda Liu | Producer & Presenter (Enterprise Lead) at BFM Media
- Jes Min Lua | Founder at RecomN
- Zahira Sughra Zainuddin | Head, SVP GHRM Office, PETRONAS
Honourable Mention | THE GREEN NETWORK – A mobile based app to advocate green initiatives through incentives by changing the mindset and behaviour changes for urban dwellers to prioritise recycling in their daily lives.
Honourable Mention | CONFIDENT STARZ – An online and offline platform to promote confidence, healthy body image and girl power amongst 9 to 18 year old girls.
2nd Runner Up | MISS TRAVELLER – An online platform dedicated to connect and assist (sole and group) female travellers in search of adventure from start to finish.
1st Runner Up | ON TIME – A (Waze-like) mobile application to track public transport in Malaysia using peer-to-peer data.
Winner | PINK COLLAR – A socially responsible online platform that upholds the safety and rights of vetted domestic workers, and connecting them with vetted households in search of their services.
CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE!
YOU’RE ALL WINNERS IN OUR BOOKS! We believe that it is possible to keep moving ahead after Startup Weekend and we dare to believe that the spark that we fired on Startup Weekend is a real possibility to get your startup off the ground!
We are, always, so humbled by the brilliant women we are fortunate enough to constantly be surrounded by. Keep on kicking-ass ladies (and gentlemen). We’re always going to be cheering you on!
Lastly, and most importantly, we at SWKL Women would like to thank all the members of our amazing organising & supporting team, weekend Googlers, mentors, participants, partner, supporters and friends who helped make this weekend one for the books! A very special thank you to Google Malaysia for hosting us; MaGIC for supporting us; and MissMafia for being an awesome community partner. This weekend would not have been possible without all these amazing people behind it.
Follow up at Startup Weekend Women APAC to be up-to-date on all the latest Startup Weekend Women news & events in Asia Pacific!
Upcoming cities include Singapore, Shanghai, Ulaanbaatar, AND MORE!
For more info, drop us a line at Startup Weekend Women KL. And lastly, if you’re keen to organise a Startup Weekend Women in Asia Pacific, please drop Lalitha Wemel a note at lalitha(dot)wemel(at)techstars(dot)com.