Thursday, October 16, 2014

Project inspire 2014

Project Inspire 2014.
So glad to hear from the social entrepreneurs on their ideas.
Once again brought me back to the thought : how do you hold yourself up to the name of being a social entrepreneur or for your business to be a social enterprise?

Is the criteria as long as you give back to the community?

Then isn't that what most businesses are doing. Secretly though. I mean we all give in huge sums back to charity and physically be there where the community needs us most - and use our business in one way or another contribute back to the society - in terms of hiring ex-convicts, handicaps etc; donate sums of money for causes we too believe in and many others. Specially for Singapore because the community in need is relatively within our reach.

To me at least, people only have the right to say they are a social enterprise if they have to take the extra effort to go into the villages and give up their job for a specific cause, at no pay. That's the extreme sacrifice deserving of that name. But well. this is my take.

So here's a download of a few of the ideas.

Reach - I had my questions about this.
Because its just like a job employment company.
So I asked if they would charge.
And they said in the long term they would but the main thing was low cost and to get those who have benefited to pay it forward and teach the rest.
I don't know - seems like a business model to me.

She won the money.

And next, gosh i forgot the project name. But their idea is to loan out sums of money to needy university students in Philippines. Problem: Alot of students have to quit school but of the lack of funds. So their solution is to loan the money to the needy university students while also assisting them to find part time jobs so they can work and study at the same time.
The default rate though is quite a risk.

And the next 2 are a combination of business idea and empowerment of women by providing them a living. Finding out most women in Africa are home-locked and suffer from 'abuse' at times from their working husband is because they do not have the money to be independent. Hence this project have seen the skills that these women can do and put it into good use.
canning and drying is a key thing in Africa it seems.

And speaking to candidates from developing countries always amazes me because they really have to use their brains to produce things that we usually take for granted. Example drying of the tomatoes or pumpkins, we just purchase a dryer online. Yet no, for them, they build it from scratch and using some metal strips and fix it with solar panels and glass to magnify the heat from the sun during the day to dry the items. Amazed.

And for this guy, kudos. took on period menstrual problem in India. But because he is a manufacturer of sanitary pads alot of people had doubt if his was more of a branding cause.

And next is about building education in Children.
pay it forward solution as well.

And some showcase of the items!

Coming back after the break, was Mr professor sharing on his mobile application selling. Sounds like MLM to me though. But yes it might work in Africa. Idea is rather than getting people to come to class to hear on how to sell things, one does the lesson in mobile form and can assist step by step via mobile so one can save time and money. 

And next, the most common way that is done.
Handicraft by minority groups and sold online.


And our very own Singapore social enterprises.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Startingup 2014 in Singapore

Made my way to IDEASINC Startup 2014 at Scape (Our Youth Identity) in Orchard.
Started out with much delays.
But surprisingly everyone was very patient. 

And it finally started. With the introduction of the winners of ideainc 2014
some which I had already heard about a month back at another startup conference.
Well, more or less only understood the purpose of tech society.
The rest - was lost in what they were trying to present and couldn't see the uniqueness in the product.
My personal take.

Cash Award of SGD10k each:
The Most Innovative Start-up: Airfrov & Cut Off Point jointly awarded
The Most Socially Responsible Start-up: SDI Academy

Venture awards of SGD100k each:
Spaze Ventures Award: Cash Tap
Go-Vin Ventures Award: Cut Off Point
Tenshi Peak Venture award: Syrup
Cytal Horse Venture Award: Airfrov
3 Incubation Award from Invention Capital: Airfrov, Cash Tap & tradeStack
2 Special Investment Award from Invention Capital : Cut Off Point & Novelsys

The best part of this startup conference was Fred

Fred Then lectured and coached over 2,000 start-ups and companies with a 100% success rate getting start-up teams into the finals of local and overseas competition. He also coaches also successful business owners and executives for higher performance. Fred is the Founder of ThinkSolutions and a Singapore based entrepreneur, business coach and author.Fred created the Effective Persuasion (EP) Method which blends the latest scientific findings to help start-ups and executives be highly persuade, without selling. His has also developed entrepreneurship programs which were used in Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU), Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

I felt so sorry for not having a photo of him up here on my blog. But he was such a fascinating speaker I just had time to take down notes of what he was talking about and my revelations. 

And we also had Jenn Lim who reminded us about happiness and finding one's goal in life.
Summarized in the photos as extended below :)

I'm surprised by the queue of public support for this event. I guess it means many Singaporeans still have the hope of setting up their own one day. Or maybe it's because of the famous zappos speaker which provided me great and new insights on happiness. Or maybe the previous speaker (who was fantastic) providing me insights on managing people.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Linked In List of 10 Bay Area Startups - Techies

LinkedIn released its list of the 10 Bay Area startups that are most in demand by local techies.

Here's the list:
1. Lytro: Makes cameras that uses light-field technology to allow people to shoot first, capturing the entire depth of field, and then refocus later. A new high-end model is being called "the camera of the future."
2. Theranos: Revolutionizing blood diagnostic tests by requiring only a pinprick and a drop of blood to perform hundreds of tests at a fraction of the cost and time. Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford dropout who founded the company with her college fund, was just named one of the richest women in America.
3. FitbitMakes the wristbands popular with everyone from politicians to fashion designers that monitor the wearer's activity.
4. CourseraPartners with universities and organizations to offer free online courses. Some think it could upend higher ed.
5. Minted: Online marketplace for independent art and design.
6. WealthfrontOnline low-cost portfolio manager that's been endorsed by many Silicon Valley techies. Investing guru Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, is the chief investment officer.
7. Bromium: Digital security company that uses a technology called "micro-virtualization" to protect against malware.
8. Twilio: Cloud communications company that lets Web developers integrate phone calls, text messages and VoIP into their software.
9. Egnyte: Provides file sharing for businesses, giving users access to data from any device.
10. Leap Motion: Makes device that allows users to control their computers, Mission Impossible-style, with a wave of their hands.

What do great entrepreneurs know that we don’t?

What do great entrepreneurs know that we don’t?

1. A Large Platform Creates an Unfair Advantage

What’s the biggest difference between Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm just a few miles away? Mickey Mouse.
Walt Disney had a compelling and unfair advantage to secure more money from banks to build a bigger and more expensive amusement park than anyone had seen before. What persuaded bankers to back his idea? Walt Disney had a captive audience of fans who already loved what he did and wanted more of it. Disneyland wasn’t just an amusement park; it was an extension of the platform that originated with Mickey Mouse and expanded into countless beloved characters.
Can you create a platform of fans (of you and your mission) before you even launch your product or service? (Hint: try starting with just a blog and a mailing list and see what you can do.)

2. The Secret to Creating Great Products is Deep Empathy with Your Customers

Steve Jobs famously told Business Week, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
In other words, you can’t always rely on your customers to tell you what they want. That’s why great entrepreneurs cultivate deep empathy with their customers. They intimately understand their hopes and dreams, as well as their fears and frustrations, and imagine products and services that directly address those needs better and more efficiently.
Can you make a list of 50 hopes and dreams, and 50 fears and frustrations that your customers have? How does your product help your customers achieve their dreams and protect them from their fears? Are you telling them this story on your website/blog/social media/mailing list, or just listing your product’s features?

3. There is Less Personal Risk to Starting a Company Than It Appears

Many aspiring entrepreneurs think starting a business is a huge personal risk. That if it fails, it will ruin their reputations or ruin them financially. The truth great entrepreneurs know is that if a business fails, you can always just get a job.
This knowledge helps great entrepreneurs manage their fears. They still feel fear, but they can recognize the irrationality of it and choose to continue on regardless. They no longer use lame excuses to not even try.
Closing a business does not on its own ruin a founder’s reputation. If the founder acts unethically or immorally in the process, that will clearly hurt their reputation. Though the death of a business is a difficult process, it is not a career-ending one.
Can you imagine a worst-case scenario and create a plan for what you would do if it ever happens? Then stop using worst-case scenarios as excuses.

4. Your Blind Spots Can Sink You (So Find Out What They Are)

Just like driving a car, you can’t always see everything around you when you are running a business. You might not realize how your behavior is affecting employee morale, or how your best intentions are actually ruining your company.
Ben Horowitz talks about many of these common blind spots in his blog and book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. For example, he talks about what to do when a key employee comes to you asking for a raise. If you do not know what to do in that situation, you might quickly acquiesce and inadvertently create incentives that turn your company into a political nightmare. (Note: Ben’s advice in this situation is to hire people with the right kind of ambition, build strict processes up front to handle sticky situations and never make exceptions.)
Not knowing how to properly handle difficult situations is a blind spot, and unless you surround yourself with mentors and people who have been through this many times before, you are setting yourself up to fall into these common traps.
Can you ask mentors, friends and colleagues, "What are my blind spots?" If you don’t ask for negative feedback directly, people won’t feel comfortable giving it to you.

5. Startups Are All About Stories and Relationships

Your product is not your company. When you buy an iPhone, you are not just buying another phone. You are buying into the Apple lifestyle. You are becoming a part of a larger story of innovation and technology. You are building a relationship with a brand that can last a lifetime.
The best companies and greatest entrepreneurs in the world know this and use it all the time. Richard Branson’s companies are infused with the “Virgin” mentality that they will provide better service to make the best experience possible for their customers. That’s their story. When you buy Virgin, you are buying into that story and creating a relationship with that brand.
What story does your startup tell? Can you create deeper relationships with your customers through helping them understand the larger story that your brand fits into?

The Biggest Secret Of Them All

Knowing and understanding are quite different. Knowing comes from reading information in blog posts, or books, or listening to podcasts. Understanding comes from trying to practice the knowledge, and usually failing at it a few times over.
If there is one trait all great entrepreneurs share more than any other, it is that they are incessantly driven to turn knowledge into understanding. Challenge yourself to put these five ideas into daily practice and take note of what works for you and what doesn’t. If you cultivate that burning desire and turn knowledge into understanding, you will be walking a path beaten by many great men and women before you.
Lucas Carlson is the author of "The Craftsman Founder Manifesto," which talks about the inner psychology of starting companies, and publishes startup advice and book recommendations for founders on his blogLucas is currently the chief innovation officer at CenturyLink, which acquired his startup AppFog.
This article originally appeared at Craftsman Founder. Copyright 2014

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