Over the weekend, a number of aspiring and established entrepreneurs got together at Flinders University (Victoria Square Campus) and worked on amazing business ideas for StartUp Weekend Adelaide (#SWADL on Twitter).
And, I ended up taking part in this StartUp Weekend for the first time as a mentor, having been invited by Vanessa Picker, one of the organisers of the event and the recipient of Young Australian of the Year - South Australia 2012 award.
Even though I would've loved to be part of the three-day #SWADL event, I only ended up attending most of Sunday's proceedings. Having never attended an event like this before, it was quite something else to witness.
Raised in my family's business/es, I have lived the entrepreneurial life for as long as I can remember. My maternal grandparents ran a business that helped to raise nine children (yes, 9!). And, both sides of my parents have brothers/sisters/etc who got into business too. So, it was almost no surprise that my parents started their own business.
That's why I started getting into business at a very young age, at the prompting of my parents. One of my first business ventures was an unofficial retail sales project at age 10.
As a family, I remember sitting down at the dinner table with my parents and siblings, dreaming of business ideas over rice and pork sinigang. It was just something that we enjoyed doing.
Now, I am running my nth business (yes, I had so many, I lost count!)... And, I still enjoy exploring business ideas.
That's why even though I felt awkward approaching working groups at StartUp Weekend Adelaide in the beginning, I still ended up enjoying asking the participants some questions about their business ideas. I find that I am genuinely interested in how to make an entrenpreneurial idea work.
Having talked to some of the groups and hearing a number of them present their final pitches, some of my observations include:
- Data + Mobile + Geolocation seem to be the most popular themes across the different business ideas that I've heard about.
- With the Data Munch team winning the event, it supports the fact that there is definitely a growing interest in Big Data. (Congrats again, Data Munch team!)
- It is true: The best and most interesting business ideas are those that offer solutions to real problems.
- Knowledge of those real problems come when you've experienced the issues firsthand (and/or has heard many people encounter those issues).
- If you're given a time limit to give a pitch, make sure you practice your pitch to fit in the allotted time. Such a shame not to hear some of the great ideas because the timer rings (or buzzes)!
- Health industry is an area that a number of people seem to be interested in.
- If a business is thinking user generated content, they must consider the value for the user to contribute. Why would they give you their time? Their content?
- Didn't seem to encounter a lot of deliberate thought on incorporating gamification. Or online community. Even though the business idea seems to be a shoo-in for them.
- Being a part of a community of entrepreneurs can be inspiring and invigorating.
At the end of the day, I came away thinking about how amazing it is to see how much people can accomplish, especially when working in colllaboration, even just over a weekend.
It did make me wonder if it would ever be worth me exploring the idea of taking part in a StartUp Weekend as a participant one day. Maybe. Though, frankly, I am not sure how many ideas I can realistically pursue whilst building my own latest startup.
Having said that, the #SWADL event also helped me to keep thinking about the idea of investing in startups. I've been playing with the idea of diversifying my investments and startup investments was something I've started to consider early this year. I still have a lot to learn in the world of investments, so I'll just see what will transpire.
In any case, I am glad to have taken part. Other than getting in to the buzz of building business ideas, I also enjoyed meeting some of the participants, the organisers, and my fellow mentors. I hope to attend another StartUp Weekend some time.
If you're keen to read more about the #SWADL event, check out Chris Hooper's Storify summary.