(Startup Weekend Chengdu held at Kr Space, Chengdu/Photo by Li Jia)

A group consisted of some 60 aspiring entrepreneurs worked to make their business ideas a reality at Startup Weekend Chengdu held March 24 through 26 at Kr Space in downtown Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province.

The 54-hour events are designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.

Some 20 business ideas were submitted on Friday evening but was whittled down to 7 after voting. Participants split into small groups of at least five people to develop a pitch for their concepts with help from a team of 8 mentors and coaches.

After continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, final presentations were held on Sunday evening at the venue, where each team was given five minutes to pitch and then three minutes were allocated for a question and answer session with the judges. Three winning teams were given certificates at the event.

A pitch for ensuring outbound tourists' safety claimed first prize. Dubbed their company as Koala TEC, the 10-member team wants to create a product called "Koala buckle" which will trigger alarm for travelers abroad when emergency happened.

"Our team leader works on outbound tourism for years, so he initiated the idea of slicing a piece of the outbound tourism's cake. After we did our market research, the safety is people's top concern", Zhang Shijie, a member of Koala TEC, told NBD so.

He said the original idea was modified for several times before "Koala buckle" took shape. "Startup Weekend Chengdu played the important role of offering methods for people who want to create their own businesses", he said.

Zhang, also co-founder and marketing director of a startup in Chengdu, said he joined the event to experience the procedure of turning an idea into plans and actions.

Fan Chao, also a team member of Koala TEC, told NBD that the reason why he participated in this event was to look for right persons to join in his own startup.

"About 7 persons are meeting my expectations, I probably will send invitations to them after further consideration", Fan said.

"I think it is to persist in something to the end," when asked what was her biggest achievement during the weekend, Camille, 21 from France, said so.

The member of Friendly Care explained that "I really not expected that we had two members quitted and we are just 3 at end, but we got the second place, that's a very good result".

The French girl came to Chengdu last September and works at a cafe for internship. Reviewing the past 54 hours, "intense" is the word Camille picked, "it was the first experience I went through like that, we spend all our weekend to do that, we had had a lot of problems, everybody changed a lot of ideas, at end we just went back (to) the first idea, but it was really good experience, truly intense". 

Jasper Lyons, a Chinese language student from the U.K., told NBD that the biggest thing he learnt was that "working with people can be challenge". 

"People have different views and different opinions. That's sometimes difficult to find solution when these people with conflicting personalities", said Jasper. 

His team wants to create a mobile app for people to exchange their luxury handbags. Although his team didn't win the first three places, he pledged he would continue.

"I want to, and I know another guy in the team is also keen to continue, because I really think it works", said Jasper.

Liang Wenling, a copywriter, described herself as a "crazy fun" of Startup Weekend. She regarded the event as "a platform for Inspiration Exchanges and Resource sharing".

(Group discussion at the Startup Weekend/Photo by Li Jia)

The panel of judges was made up of Steven Tong from Startupbootcamp China SBC, Mabel, partner of Angel Plus Chengdu, and Duo Tang, Regional Lead of Sales and Partner Strategy & Operations of Microsoft Great China Region.

Sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs, Vimeo Business and appear.in, the Startup Weekend events were also held simultaneously in Shanghai, Oxford, Karachi, Metz and other cities.

Email: lijia@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Li Jia