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8/5/2015, Kuala Lumpur – JW Marriott


“You can make all the difference in the world…and we’re counting on you to do it,” Secretary Kerry said while speaking to an excited group of Startup Weekenders yesterday. The entrepreneurs came from all over Southeast Asia to participate in Generation Startup Weekend (aka Startup Weekend ASEAN), an effort led by Techstars Community Programs and its partners at Magic, YSEALI, and the U.S. State Department to bolster entrepreneurship in Malaysia and the ASEAN region as a whole.

The energy in the room was extraordinary, with entrepreneurs cheering on almost every one of Kerry’s points and excitedly telling him about the startups they were currently working on. He showed a genuine interest in the projects and was particularly excited about a handful of teams and individuals:

  • Navnidh Bhalla (Singapore) and Hans Ivander (Indonesia) from Forest Fire Solution a Drone Technology designed to help firefighters battling large fires
  • Louise Ivan Payawal (Philippines) from Apollo Asia a Solar and Kinetic Energy Powered Wireless Charging solution. They formed a team with members from four different countries which included Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia and actually ended up winning the Startup Weekend.
  • Brian Soo Hon Wye (Malaysia) from NomNom a Social Mobile Food Application
  • Patricia Wong (Malaysia) from Hearts2Offer a Youth Volunteer Portal Top 9 SW ASEAN. Her team consisted of members from three different countries which included Myanmar, Brunei and Malaysia.
  • Nazreen Mohamad (Malaysia) from Readiscuss an Online Social Debate Portal

Kerry went on to explain how important it is for this generation to drive entrepreneurship forward and that there is an incredible opportunity to change the world for the better upon us.

“Life is defined by making life better for others and giving back to one’s community,” Kerry said toward the end of his comments.

He closed by reminding everyone not to listen to the cynics, not to ever be embarrassed or think twice about being excited about something, to go for it and pursue what you want.

As Kerry and his group filed out, the entrepreneurs returned to Startup Weekend which has now concluded. The winners from the Apollo Asia team will take part in the first Techstars Community Summit for Community Leaders starting on Friday August 7th. They also won a sponsored trip to the United States to meet U.S. entrepreneurs and technology incubators.

You can learn more about the Summit taking place this weekend here.


Mitchell Cuevas
(@mcuevasm) I am the Sr. Marketing Director here at Techstars, am passionate about helping entrepreneurs, and am obsessed with finding, playing with, and implementing all the best new marketing (and other) technology I can get my hands on.