Third Bhutan National Techstars Startup Weekend begins

To create startup culture in the country through promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation among youth, Ministry of information and communication (MoIC) is organizing the Bhutan National Techstars Startup Weekend from March 15 to 19.

Over 155 participants representing seven colleges and graduates aspiring to be entrepreneurs are attending the event.

The seven colleges are College of Science and Technology, College of Natural Resources, College of Language & Culture Studies, Jigme Namgyel Engineering College, Sherubtse College, Gaeddu College of Business Studies, Royal Thimphu College and Bhutan Innovation & Technology Center.

The program is also to provide a platform for youth to explore the possibility technology offers to enhance any ideas.

Minister of MoIC, D N Dhungyel during the opening session said the intention behind this event is to provide the participants a platform to explore and experience what it takes to be a startup.

According to Lyonpo, today startup is a global trend. “We have seen what startups can do. Innovations has been the greatest birth of startups. So we should promote and provide a conducive environment for our own startups to grow, innovate and one day make a special global presence,” he said.

He also stated that the current employment scenario today, intake in civil service is not encouraging.

In 2017, 3,844 graduates vied for 494 vacancies in civil service and the number of the graduates entering the job market is increasing every year.

According to Lyonpo, this has been further challenged with disruptions caused by technology.

He further stated that in such an environment, people need to consider alternatives to standard civil service jobs and more so when the government is providing an enabling environment to make dream possible if one is willing to take the risk and be a startup.

“Youth must aspire to become entrepreneurs, innovators and employers. This is how startups have created jobs and contributed to the economy around the globe,” he said.

DrukRide, an online bus ticket booking system, is also going to launch one of its services during the course of the event.

Lyonpo said that this is an opportunity for all youth to be successful startups owning million dollar companies.”

The program started off with boot camp to prepare the aspiring entrepreneurs for the next 54 hours’ quality and valued session. The sessions are covered by a team of officials from Google and MoIC who are experts in the mobile application development field. They also have experts from Techstars who covered a session on design thinking.

All the participants will pitch ideas and based on the highest votes received, the top 22-23 ideas will be selected so that teams can work on their ideas to develop a minimum viable product.

The winners of the Bhutan National Techstar Startup Weekend will be provided financial support to launch their business.

As of now, two Techstars Startup Weekends were conducted with a Technology Edition. The first Startup Weekend with Technology edition was conducted in BITC, Thimphu in April 2017.

Staff Reporter from Thimphu