“Normally you don’t wake up early on a Saturday morning. But you’re not normal, you’re entrepreneurs !“, and that’s a great kick-off and summary of the Ideas.Inc StartingUp 2012 Grand Finale, that took place on September 22nd at Sentosa.The events puts an end to a business challenge that builds startups and help develop a culture of entrepreneurship here in Singapore.
First, inject inspiration and energy
If it’s not abnormal for an entrepreneur to wake up early (and : reach Sentosa) on a Saturday morning, however it’s nice to have an inspirational speech right from the beginning as a breakfast.
First, with an overactive MC. Then, with Minister of Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, successfully bridging the gap between gangnam clips on Youtube and necessarily disruptive entrepreneurship. And this is also to offer a vision : SMEs are the backbone of the Singaporean economy, with 99% of the companies, 70% of the workforce, over 50% of GDP. One warning though : new companies based here ought to look outwards, and think from an early stage to develop overseas.
Prof. Freddy Boey from NTU Singapore then delivered another high energy speech, talking how, in supposedly heavy industries (transportation infrastructure, heart surgery), he proved able to keep his entrepreneurial skills awake and efficient, without necessarily setting up companies. As he used to repeat : focus on what you do the best, and usually, it’s not running a company, but produce ideas and make them live. His lessons are the following :
- keep it simple : a complex scheme is nice, but has chances to fail when face to a reality which is even more complex.
- do what you are good at, and let other run companies if you’re more of an expert
- learn to walk away from a good idea, to work on a better one. There’s plenty of ideas, one will work, don’t worry about a perfect idea
- don’t invest in yourself, it’s too emotional, have your ideas go through validation from others
What young Singapore startups look like
To be perfectly honest, I was with French friends already familiar with French and American start-up scene, and we didn’t understand every project presented on stage during the pitch challenges. But again, those kids were trying to explain in 100 seconds a project to an audience of 300 hundred people, and we were sitting comfortably (though frozen to death by another extremist air-con device).
Here’s my selection of projects, the one I believe in and that could really make a hit, here or/and abroad, with a few more months of work :
The Adventure of Bunny Tori
A special game for kids, to discover the musical talents thanks Kinect technology. This project roughly allows to transform any space in a musical environment (your table being a drum), then makes the kid interact with the kid so that he could discover new skills and abilities. Here’s some more info.
Ever been to a restaurant ? Then you’re familiar with two problems DineBook tries to settle : too much queue outside, or nobody inside (more the owner’s problem). The app hopes to develop a kind of yield management with discounts so as to maximize seats vacancies. The business model is sturdy with a fee taken at each reservation.
Going to Ideas Inc is also a means to network. I did collect, say, a dozen of interesting contacts. How many more I’d with I’d done ! This app may be a way to enhance the networking capacity of an event, as it sorts every one of them accordingly to its theme (and, I guess, its visitors ?), so that you wouldn’t go to 4 events when one is enough if it matches your business interest. More to come soon.
This one really can’t fail in my opinion. An app for all fashion-addicts to trade your old clothes, look into your friend’s cupboards and drawers, and shop virtually into new collections offered by retailers. I can remember of many sites providing one of this feats, but no one to gather all of them. If the marketing and social media strategy is a focus of Fashfix, then, it should be a hit.
More of a personal crush than an already good product, but still, to be encouraged. These girls tries to make you eat better ! Just think of every time you go to the restrooms, and feel uncomfortable because of oily or junk food. Learn again to eat well, and pooh better (hey, I should sell them this punchline).
The most awarded venture of the day wants to be a competitor to both Apple and Samsung, with a 99$ tablet that enhances all you can do on your phone. Not sure of the exact features and place for this product, but again, you complain everyday about your phone, when those kids built a real device, and that’s enough to be talked of.
To conclude, I’d repeat again that it was not a “normal Saturday”, but the whole event was neatly organized, with a jittery MCs, smiling kids that actually DID things when most people think only of it, so thanks Nanyang Technology University, sponsors and organizers, that’s fresh air to begin the week with.
Oh, and one more thing. Please, start-up, have at least a landing page and a Twitter account at your name, a good idea is a start, a prototype is great, no communication or marketing about it makes you a nobody with no chance to grab any market share… (quote on demand ^^)
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