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Sonalie Galardi-EsteSonalie Galardi-Este, one of this weekend’s mentors, looks forward to sharing her experiences of taking calculated risks in businesses. Besides the need for a novel idea, the founder of Ekowarehouse and Green Queen stresses the importance of “looking at your business model from many different angles”. From considering how it addresses a need in the market, to analysing its potential for revenue, profit and growth, a business ought to have a plan for sustainability, she says. According to Sonalie, decisions must be backed by facts and figures, and complemented by extensive market research if you want to convince investors. Information is often regarded as a sacred and competitive currency; valuable insights on the client’s characteristics and the city’s customs often guide businesses to better execute their ideas.
The Aftership TeamFor those wondering if HK Startup Weekend is more style than substance, Aftership, the Hong Kong-based company that won the competition in 2011, has now garnered US$1 million from its investors. Andrew Chan, its founder, went in with a simple idea of an internet-based service that tracks shipment packages and then notifies and advises customers on their shipping performances. Andrew met his co-founders at the Startup Weekend, and his company has since expanded overseas and built a sizable network of stakeholders. The assets of clear communication, trustworthy collaboration and being receptive to feedback has also guided many other competition contestants towards remarkable success. The effective team spirit they build over the weekend helps create a strong synergy and, in the act of teaming up on one idea, reduces the competition.
As entrepreneurial stalwarts ourselves, we look forward to hearing the ideas pitched by the participants. Part of Generation Y & Z, the winners could be the leaders of tomorrow. And if so, when looking back, they no doubt would remark that the 54 hours spent at Startup Weekend kick-started their fate and fortune.