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Startup weekend at CST begins

Fourth Techstars Startup Weekend, a business idea competition at College of Science and Technology (CST) started yesterday, attracting more than 60 participants.

The event that has students of four degree colleges under Royal University of Bhutan taking part will end tomorrow.

The 54-hour event has brought together designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts from all domains.

The three-day event is a crash course for the participants to pitch business ideas, form teams, and work with talents to build real products and present it to the judges.

The event was organized to create awareness among the entrepreneurs and encourage youths to come forward with innovative business ideas and motivate them to actually start business.

“With unemployment becoming a pressing issue, such events can make our youths come forward with business ideas, start, earn and  create employment opportunities,” said CEO of Thimphu Tech Park, Tshering Cigay Dorji.

The event has youth pitching their ideas within a minute and presenting to the judges to be voted. The judges will rank the top 15 ideas after which these participants will work on their ideas over the weekend either individually or in a group. They will develop a business model and minimal viable product.

Winners up to top five will be awarded prizes. Bhutan Telecom and Tashi Cell have sponsored free 4g internet Dongales for the winners. Bhutan Information and Telecommunications Center will also provide free workstations to the winners at Tech Park. Techstars will provide free domain.co for the winners.  Further, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will provide opportunity to attend networking events in the region to up to two youths from the winning teams.

Bikash Gurung, a participant said that such opportunities motivate and help youth learn from others and explore opportunities to be entrepreneurs without looking for employers. “Youth, if provided opportunities can be groomed to be better businessmen,” he said.

Another participant said that supporting the winners is important. “We tend to leave if support is lacking. There are young and interested talents who need to be supported,” said Manish Sharma, a civil engineer working with Selisee Bhutan, a software company in Thimphu.

The concept of the weekend competition was developed by Global Venture Capitalist Company, Techstars. Thimphu Tech Park with financial support from Department of Information and Technology and Telecom under information and communications ministry and UNDP are organizing the event. The first event was organized in January 2016. The third Techstars Startup event took place in April this year.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing