12/4/2018 Earth Company’s Tomo judging at the Startup Weekend Women Asia Pacific finals!
On October 20th 2018, Hubud hosted the first ever Startup Weekend Women Asia Pacific finals. Groups from all over Southeast Asia and the South Pacific came together in Ubud, Bali to present their unique startup ideas. Startup Weekends are hands-on weekend long events where participants learn if their startup ideas are viable. Participants range from entrepreneurs with business backgrounds to aspiring entrepreneurs with technical or design backgrounds.
With representations from 9 cities, each team took turns pitching, hoping to win the approval of three distinct judges. The judging panel consisted of Stephanie Arrowsmith, Melinda Jacobs, and Earth Company’s very own founder, Tomo Hamakawa.
The first startup to pitch were Spark Girlz from Toowoomba, Australia. They addressed the issue of the abundance of male dominated science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers. Based on a report, “Student attitudes to STEM are established in primary school and this is when the work on engagement and excitement needs to begin, particularly for girls.” Girls in primary school have very little opportunities to gain skills in building. To tackle this issue, Spark Girlz created project kits that not only deliver challenging electronic and hardware skills, but also appeal to females through fun and artistic packaging. The age group being targeted is between 8-12 years old. They also provide teachers with designs that they are able to print and download and plan to start holiday camps in the near future to continue igniting girls passion for STEM.
E! Women from Manila, Philippines, then pitched their idea on how to create home-based job opportunities for women in their home country. Women in Manila have access to prepaid Wi-Fi but can’t afford to purchase a laptop or PC to work remotely while taking care of their children. They are, as a result, forced to work abroad and leave their families. According to PayPal, “The Philippines has an estimated 1.5 million freelancers, with women having the slight edge at around 65% of that figure.” E! Women proposed to sell laptops that are payable in 3-6 months while charging a 2.5%-3.5% monthly interest rate. They also plan to profit from courses they offer, matching employers with freelancers, and applying fees to when highly skilled freelancers from their network are hired.
Spark Girlz went on to win the grand prize with judges describing their product as tangible, accessible, and greatly needed. E! Women won an honorable mention for their impressive idea. The other groups present were Re:ACT from Brunei, Wakaka from China, Hire Hero from Philippines, REEJIG from Australia, TutorAI from China, Love Bucket from Philippines, and Airposts from Kyrgyzstan.
Report by Rawan Aldossary
(Feature photo courtesy of Startup Weekend Women APAC)