In October 2013, Malaysia played host to Global Startup Youth (GSY), which was aimed to catalyze the next generation of high-growth ventures and young entrepreneurs.
500 youths 18-25 year olds from over 105 made 54 teams that were joined at the hip for 3 days.
Their task: create an application with the 3 main judging criteria in mind
1) How Innovative was the application / idea
2) Create a working prototype and
3) How well was the idea pitched bearing in mind the need being solved.
The categories were education, health, environment and women empowerment.
Each category had a winner; these 4 category winners had the opportunity to pitch at the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit to a panel of highly qualified judges. GES hosted 4000 participants, largest summit run for (GES), which was running concurrently to Global Startup Youth in Malaysia. The first GES was held in Washington in 2010, Istanbul in 2011 and Dubai in 2012.
The winning team, Milestone (participants from Malaysia, Norway, New York City, Canada, New Zealand and Seattle) pitched in the Education Sector. They developed an application that aids youth in finding their dream jobs. Using a smart algorithm and LinkedIn as a tool, the application compares user’s career plans with the trajectories of role models and shows possible paths you could follow for the future whilst showing connections around you who could possible be mentors and offer advice and assistance.
They won an all expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley where they will be given the opportunity to meet companies as well as a three-month incubator program in Malaysia to develop their project further; which will hopefully aid in bringing their idea to fruition.
While there were sleepless nights, language barriers and general best friends being made, the more adult section of the program was the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).
Security was at an all time high with US Security of state John Kerry being the keynote speaker. The theme from John Kerry’s speech and the reason for GES is a follow up on Obama’s emphasis on entrepreneurship as one of the most powerful ways for individuals to improve their own economic circumstance.
There were panel discussions, keynote talks, networking sessions, judging panels and smaller satellite events being hosted around Kuala Lumpur at the same time. It would have been awesome, if you could send a different body part to see all of them as there were 4 discussions happening at any given moment, which made you think carefully of panel choices. The titles ranged from Empower Entrepreneurs, Connecting Entrepreneurs; Crowd funding, Disruptive Innovations and Woman as a focus.
There were some mentionable speakers like our very own Raelene Rorke (SpringAGE)from South Africa, Jonathan Ortmans (Kauffman Foundation/ Global Entrepreneurship Week) Adeo Ressi (The Founders Institute), Sanjeev Khagram (Occidental College) and Don Tapscott (Wikinomics) to name a few.
The take out’s for me have been huge.
One of the most memorable speakers in a break away session was Edward Jung from Intellectual Ventures. His ideas on building eco-systems are revolutionary. He talks of mega cities and the role of government as a key stakeholder. This made me think of countries that are pioneering in the entrepreneurial space with the likes of Chile and Singapore as examples, their government’s act like enablers. This really seems like a crucial element of the puzzle as simple as it sounds.
Coming from South Africa, where we have a lot of organizations, not always working congruently as possible and more in silo’s it was inspiring to see all these different startup entrepreneurial organizations coming together, sharing their idea’s, willing to participate and get stuck in and involved in the bigger picture.
The main players at the table for the side events were Global Entrepreneurship Week (Our South African page has currently 7 events at time of writing this article) there is so much happening in the South African eco system; we should be jumping on the bandwagon to be apart of this movement. There is so much Global support.
Global Startup Youth (GSY) is the brainchild of Dash Dhakshinamoorthy who sold the vision to the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia. The government backed the idea and underwrote the expenses towards the program.
Rebecca Hwang said she was deeply moved by the collaborative focus and positive energy of the participants considering that had to overcome language barriers as well as cultural and gender differences.
Up Global - A non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities. Also the umbrella organization of Startup America and the infamous Startup Weekends. South Africa currently run 1 startup weekend in CT and JHB…to put it in perspective Startup Weekends in America are run as often as once a month.
Startup Nations: is home to the global startup movement. It is the platform for leading startup organizations and catalysts from around the world to convene and to lead the global startup conversation. Startup Nations is a place where change happens to advance our local, national, and global startup ecosystems.
My role for GSY (Global Startup Youth) was as a mentor and a judge. What was prolific for me was just to be there, to meet so many people who want to help, who have the resources to make a difference, it brought the world from global to neighbourhood.
We are not alone in the challenges we face, there are people who have pioneered this entrepreneurial landscape, we should sit up and listen, government need to get involved and start being enablers, this is not doing the work for entrepreneurs but assisting in creating a path.
To grow our own eco system some of the starting points are to partake, get involved, attend events, offer mentorship and keep wanting to grow and learn.
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