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Meeting with the ITP leadership team of the University of Ho Chi Minh City. An impressive presentation where Vietnam is planning to go what innovative businesses concerns.  We also had some great meetings with students, who are very ambitious and eager to learn everything possible about innovative thinking and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs Workshop with roughly 20 top startups and scaleups from Ho Chi Minh City. It was great fun to work with these super engaged and highly competitive teams. One of the things that all of them have in common with any top startup in the world: determination to win.

Investors meetings at the Kova facility. We discussed investor strategies, ways to select startups, due diligence processes and post investment mentoring. We also talked about the necessity to keep top companies in the country to not loose the innovative edge to somebody else.

A wonderful and very personal dinner at the Kova house. We enjoyed traditional Vietnamese food cooked by the lady of the house herself. This was an unforgettable evening.

Great discussions about innovative thinking, investment opportunities, ways to stimulate more innovation and getting startups better supported to be able to compete on a global scale. It was an amazing evening with amazing people.


HANOI

The future of innovation in Vietnam, Conference. Great and an amazing diverse speakers, high energy and very ambitious. We talked about the innovation paradigm and the value of going global for the national prosperity and wealth development.

We were invited by the University of Hanoi to speak about the Innovation Paradigm, the value creation for the national economy and what Vietnam can do to create an innovation economy within the country.

Interesting discussions about how to stimulate innovation and making innovation an even stronger point within an economy. Also we spoke about the value of speaking English as a prerequisite to participate in the global economy.

Meanwhile, Marita ran a workshop for female entrepreneurs. The interest to participate was so overwhelming that the initial 12 people roundtable had to be turned into a 70 attendee  presentation and podiums discussion.

Full house at the female entrepreneurs meeting in Hanoi

A very interesting meeting at one of the largest mobile phone providers. The organization is determined to innovate and bring all new ideas to their customers. It is absolutely amazing to see how Vietnam turned from a rather poor country, dependent on donations, just three decades ago, into a vibrant emerging country.


An equally great meeting at one of the top business banks of Vietnam. Also here, business transformation, innovation and moving from an industry follower to an industry leader is an amazing transition. We talked about how innovative thinking is not just improving the status quo but how to get to an idealistic model and back to reality.

There is a lot we can learn from Nepal. The very beautiful and sometimes considered mystic country could not have more orthogonal dimensions. Nepal is at the very low end of the GDP list, is unfortunately high up on the list of “perceived corruption”, is a nation with the one of the most kindest people on earth, has exceptional talents, a still under developed infrastructure, is still dependant on donations from foreign countries, yet some extraordinarily ambitious people to turn the nation from a “receiver” nation into a fast emerging nation on the way to become a “giver” nation. When such a country, with a new generation of sheer infinite determination can organise to breed talents working on globally latest technology such as Artificial Intelligence, with goal to turn the nation to prosperity – we must ask shouldn’t that be possible in other countries too. We also must wonder if the combination of a new agile government, highly engaged academia, highly motivated entrepreneurs, all working together – is a superior model of the future? Or will the model of a public being permanently on confrontation course with their government, ego driven groups with nothing but steering up the nation with horror scenarios for their own good and media loving to confuse information consumer for the sake of popularity be the winner of the future?

Khem Lakai – Nepal

While we, the World Innovations Forum, has pretty much all ducks in the row here in Switzerland, a very active community in San Francisco, where it all started, and a very good start recently in Bosnia, great energy in South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Macedonia, Nigeria, and other countries, our current Role Model is Nepal. Khem Lakai our Ambassador, had by far overachieved our wildest dreams. After our first Meetup in 2018, and a good exchange during the year, Khem understood, it was important to get top technology created in Nepal. Since natural resources are limited and industrial production is not too well developed yet, competition in other countries is fierce, he decided to help stimulate tech development. Together with Ranjan Mishran, a Nepali who is studying at ETH in Zurich they inspired a team of PhDs from Zürich and other Universities to come to Nepal. The Swiss Embassy in Nepal immediately recognized the importance and supported his actions.

Kathmandu, Nepal

In nearly no time, students in Nepal are being trained and built an AI systems and have been stimulated for Entrepreneurship. With yet another group of Nepali tech enthusiast in diaspora, lead by Prof. Bishesh Khanal who decided to quit his dream job in London to move back to Kathmandu and help Nepal move forward with other very successfully tech professionals and experts in the field of AI. Khem worked closely with various entrepreneurial enthusiasts in the nation, co-sponsored national events with Nepal Tourism Board and mentored youth in politics from all different political parties to raise awareness for a “visionary leadership”:  Nepal is to change the narrative of poor and sorry nation to a successful strong nation.

 

Premier Minister Khadga Prasad Oli of Nepal with World Innovations Forum Chairman Axel Schultze.

A few months later they invited Axel to speak with the Prime Minister Oli about the World Innovations Forum’s overall plans and also having talks with their Finance Minister Dr. Khatiwada. The power play continues this year with a first International Investors Summit in Nepal. Now Axel is preparing to attract international startup investors from the US, Germany, UK, Switzerland and maybe a few other countries to Nepal. While the country is still perceived as a rather corrupt nation, we see already Nepali Finance Minister starting to bring the legal framework in alignment with International expectations. The extraordinary journey is just in the beginning.

Khem Lakai, the World Innovations Forum Ambassador, together with his connections and a very ambitious country is making the sheer impossible a reality. It’s the concerted effort with an exceptional leadership that made this work. It was only a spark of inspiration from the World Innovations Forum,  yet the highly focused, ambitious and self determined Khem Lakai did what he felt is right for Nepal, connected with likeminded people and relentlessly executed. It’s that mindset and the understanding what really makes sense for the larger part of a country that moves mountains. In the meantime a new innovation lab is in the making. Also a collaboration between another Swiss university with a Nepali University is considered to create an exchange between some top Nepali talents and Swiss talents to also shorten the distance between cultures.

Its the right time for the right action with the right people that makes a change possible. This is the spirit the World Innovations Forum is trying to embrace. Our most sincere THANK YOU to Khem and his team of equally ambitious team of exceptional people like Ranjan Mishran, Prof. Bishesh Khanal and many others to build this World Innovations Forum poster child.

Even though Khem is the prototype of a self starter, let us inspire all of you to do what is best for your country as every country is in a different situation. But we are all one world – together.

@MaritaR

 

We have been in Hanoi, Vietnam, from March 7 to 9, 2018 to learn about Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Vietnam. The Society3 and World Innovations Forum Ambassador, Nguyễn Dũng from BKHoldings, Hanoi’s top Accelerator and Co-working space prepared two packed days with insights about Vietnam and a startup event in Hanoi. The two main cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Min city compete for attention and leadership in a great way. Vietnamese are very competitive people and power worker.

Innovation in Vietnam

Vietnam is on the forefront of innovation in the areas of AI, Blockchain, Crypto currencies and other areas based on the Russian Education System. Vietnamese universities create great mathematicians and scientists who in turn work on the above mentioned topics. Our Innovation & Entrepreneurs event was having a gigantic 7 meter LED display. No more projector needed.

Co-Working & Acceleration in Vietnam

BKHoldings Co-Working Space is certainly a leading example of a highly comfortable, yet very accessible space for young entrepreneurs to work in. But here is not only a work space but also an accelerator, helping young entrepreneurs to be prepared to go after the business quickly and avoid unnecessary mistakes. It’s owner, a young entrepreneur himself created that space in a way that everybody can easily communicate with each other and still has a very professional appearance. And talking about communication: It’s worth mentioning that all startups, investors as well as representatives from universities or government spoke fluently English. It appears that there is a clear understanding that if one will want to do business on a global level has to speak the global language. We noticed that first in Bangkok then in Nepal – English is the universal communication vehicle.

Vietnam will be represented at the upcoming World innovations Forum in Switzerland as one of the highly innovative countries in the world. We will share some more insights in the Vietnamese Startup World and some top startups from several industry segments.

 

Most people associate Nepal with Himalaya, Yak, Temples and Monks. And that’s OK – but that was 20+ years ago. Kathmandu, the capital city is a 6 to 8 Million people mega city. The Universities produce entrepreneurs and scientists and the management schools develop top candidates. And the Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal is on the rise.

Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal, Khem Lakai, Society3 and World Innovations Forum AmbassadorWe have been invited to Kathmandu Nepal, from March 4 to 6, 2018 to learn about Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Nepal and share entrepreneurs experiences from around the world. The Society3 and World Innovations Forum Ambassador, Khem Lakai (Photo) made this three very impressive days for us.  Marita and I learned a lot about this extremely friendly culture which has to offer a lot more than Mountains and tracks – even though it is a breath taking experience being so close to the tallest mountains in the world.

Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal

We saw some very interesting startups in all kinds of fields from Medicine to technology and data management. And prior to the event that was organized by our Ambassador For Nepal, Khem Lakai we had a chance to meet leaders from the university, government, and industry on the campus of the Global Management Academy in Kathmandu.

Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal at Academy For Management Kathmandu

At the Event “Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal” we talked about the need to connect entrepreneurs from all countries to learn from each other, inspire each other and possibly create business partnerships across the globe.

Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal with Axel Schultze, Society3 at Nepal Entrepreneurs Night

In many countries, including Nepal, there is a huge interest in connecting with the rest of the world to learn what is needed, what problems need to be solved and how young entrepreneurs can share experiences from technology issues to business model development or fundraising challenges.

 

During the Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal, Marita Schultze addressed several points that are continuously discussed with female entrepreneurs such as the work/family balance, the perceived differences and why female entrepreneurs should not adopt to a male behavior but instead understand their advantages as a woman. “No need to copy a male entrepreneur’s behavior – put your uniqueness in the foreground instead”.

Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal with Marita Schultze, Society3 at Nepal Entrepreneurs Night

Female entrepreneurship is not just something Nepal will do but already has several years experience of engaged female entrepreneurs.

Podiums Discussion,Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal, Society3 at Nepal Entrepreneurs Night

The podiums discussion only emphasized what we already recognized: Nepal is on the verge to become another highly agile country in Asia that has to be watched and taken serious as one of the most potential innovation countries in the world. Clearly Nepal will be represented at the upcoming World innovations Forum in Switzerland and added to the list of the highly innovation countries in the world.

 

And last but not least, Mount Everest is an absolute must see, letting all innovations behind for a moment and meditate about the wonders of that world.

Entrepreneurial Wave Nepal and Mount Everest

Flying along side the Himalaya Mountain Ridge having Mount Everest straight in front of us.

In the next few weeks we will introduce some of the Nepali Entrepreneurs and what they do. Interestingly enough some actually come already from other countries to start their opportunity here in Nepal. One of them is Tirza Theunissen. but we will talk about her and her amazing project in a dedicated post.

Too less traction, no marketing budget, slow growth… the biggest challenges for every entrepreneur. Now, all together we can change that. And here is how we are going to do that.

AS AN ENTREPRENEUR

As founder of an innovative business you cannot get enough traction. Even for well connected people it remains to be a challenge – our planet is simply too big. Getting help from friends, existing customers, supporter…. is a big deal. Every comment counts. This is why we developed a very simple tool called BUZZ. You simply provide a catchy image, a good text for your friends to post – obviously they can change the text any way they want – and simply share it with their network. A good Buzz can easily add several thousands even some million incremental reach.

 

AS A SUPPORTER

In today’s digital world, most of us are well connected. “Having connection” is no longer a privilege but a standard. And now getting some news from innovative companies is something most of us enjoy getting. Connecting the dots: share what you find is interesting with your connections help your connections to be up to speed in terms of innovation and helps the innovative companies to get the word out faster.

With a tool called BUZZ, all you have to do is push a few buttons to share things that YOU think are interesting with your network via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Not every day but simply when it is interesting.

For supporter all it takes is to get to a URL like this: and start sharing. Soon we will provide buzz campaigns for the most innovative startups from around the world so we all can help them get some additional traction.

There is a concept called MVP – Minimum Viable Product.

Even though the name kind of says it all, the concept “MINIMUM” – “VIABLE” – “PRODUCT” indicates that there are as few features as possible, it must kind of work and it is a product – most entrepreneurs interpret MVP as the early iteration of a product they want to build. But that is definitely not the case. Let me explain it in more details:

1) MINIMUM VP
An MVP is supposed to demonstrate your core functionality that shows how your product is different from others. And as such focus exclusively on the core mechanism and process of the new solution. If you build a self driving car, it would be perfectly OK to use an old VW beetle that may have no lights and only one seat. But if it is perfectly self steering – you made a great MVP. Try to implement as little features as possible. Every “nice to have” feature destructs unless it is absolutely necessary to show the core idea.

2) M VIABLE P
Be aware that the MVP will only be used by early adopters and need to be seen by investors and other key people. They are typically smart enough to abstract the concept and imagine where you want to take it. It just needs to show the core feature in a very solid way. It need to work over and over again. The function needs to be robust enough that anybody can envision you build the whole concept in a beautiful way later on. Equally important, let the users experiment with it BEFORE it is ready. You will want to learn as much as possible from those users to build the final product after their feedback. Redoing a product is not only much harder but a rather “ready” product may mislead users to a behavior they may not be able to articulate their pain – rather leave it open in an MVP.

3) MV PRODUCT
Make sure that you have a well thought out business model that is actually the disrupting part of your solution. EVERY business model is reflected in the MVP. If the business model is lame, your MVP will not be too catchy wither. Make the PRODUCT reflect your business model.