How did I know about this MIT Global Start-up (MIT GSW) conference that was held in Guatemala City from 25th to 27th March 2015? It was because Unitec runs an Entrepreneurship for Global Impact workshop series. I will write about this Unitec’s workshop as soon as I complete it on July 2015. This time, I want to write my experience at the MIT GSW conference.
I attended this MIT GSW conference because I wanted to meet new people from around the world and to listen to whatever topics/ideas they have in their mind. This conference itself had its own programme that discussed different topics about how to start-up a business, where to look for funding resources, how to keep being passionate and focus when facing challenges etc. If you are new to this entrepreneurship idea or you want to know more about starting up a business then this conference suits you.
For me, I preferred to meet and talk to these young people from around the world. They are brilliant and inspiring people. They have guts to take an action to achieve their goals. I remembered there was this young student who had an idea and he presented his idea at the pitching challenge in front of the conference audience. Unfortunately, he did not go to the final. After the pitching he came to me and said that the panels did not favour his idea because it might be too small project for them. I told him to do it by himself. I thought it was a good practice for him so I encouraged him to take an action. I told him to work with his friends and to finance it by himself. I also advised him to take a step back if his project operating costs exceed his budget. I told him to take advantage of him being a student and utilise his networks at his university. He said he would do it. I hope his project can be developed into something big. It would be a delight for me to read the news about his project in the future.
I also met a young lady who is a home décor designer. She wants to create products that use Guatemalan fabrics to help her own people who produce the fabrics. She is targeting Europe market and has a chance to enter Germany’s market. The problem was that there are enquiries regarding the material used and production processes. We discussed that the European customers are more environmental sustainability oriented so I asked why she did not involve in the production process, from selecting and using ingredients process to the Mayan women who make the fabrics. As a designer, she has a responsibility to convey the message from the customer to manufacturers and vice versa. I told her that I am a housewife who is on holiday at the conference so it is her job to design something that can convey the message to people like me who is called a shopper from hell by my husband lol.
Besides these young people, I also met professionals and have a chat with them. It is inspiring to see how they are willing to come to this conference and be updated with the latest trend within the youngster mindset.
One thing that really impressed me was the team from Brazil who participated in the Business Plan Competition. They have this business idea that is very feasible. Unfortunately they did not win the competition. I love to invest in their business and help them to deliver. I do hope one of the panels will invest and help them because they deserve it. I think their product will help small medium businesses to be more efficient and productive. Damn, why did they not win the competition?
After I returned to NZ, I would like to do something to help these young people implementing their ideas even though I can only contribute a small amount and I understand that it will be a very high-risk investment. After completing my workshop at Unitec, I think I will set up a limited liability entity in NZ that focuses on foreign investments. It is a very risky option but I just rely on the finance philosophy “High Risk High Return”.
I may go to MIT GSW 2016 to meet new young people in a different country. If you are interest at attending the similar conference you can contact MIT GSW. I confirm that I am not paid by the MIT GSW organiser to promote its programme.