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The latest chapter in the ‘Dash’ startup story

Karamjit SinghOct 02, 2013
  • Global Startup Youth brings high performers together
  • Opportunity for Malaysian youth to make global connections

ONE of the more interesting events that will happen next week around the Global Entrepreneurship Summit from Oct 10-11 is a satellite event organised by StartupMalaysia.org called Global Startup Youth (GSY).
 
Over 500 youth, mainly those aged 18 to 25, will gather for four intensive days to come up with apps that would solve societal problems.
 
In the heat of competing against each other, the hope is that they will connect, form teams, work together, learn from each other and ultimately form bonds that would last a lifetime, says StartupMalaysia.org founder Dhakshinamoorthy ‘Dash’ Balakrishnan.
 
But GSY is not what Dash wants to talk about first. To him, the event is just the fourth chapter in the startup story that he likes to think began circa 2008 when he organised the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Malaysia.
 
An initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, GEW connects people through activities designed to help them explore their potential as ‘self-starters.’
 
National campaigns in 123 countries with more than 24,000 partner organisations involve activities, events and competitions that help form and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems that can boost job creation and economic growth.
 
A report published by the Kauffman Foundation after 2008 that gauged the impact of GEW globally listed Malaysia as among the 10 highest ranked nations in terms of activities organised around innovation and entrepreneurship.
 
Not bad for a first time effort.
 
Dash feels that initial GEW was a catalyst for many more entrepreneur events being held in Kuala Lumpur today. Three years later in 2011 he brought the ‘Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia’ event to Malaysia, with 17 icons from California sharing their thoughts and expertise with local entrepreneurs.
 
This was only the second chapter. But Dash feels the impact is still being felt as five Malaysian teams were sent to the United States for a month, and these teams have been doing a good job of sharing their knowledge and experiences.
 
The third chapter was in July this year, when he launched his D-Code camp that had developers from Silicon Valley coming here to teach around 400 young people how to code.
 
“D-Code was more than a hackathon,” he asserts. “It was a deep-dive into learning to code better as we brought some experts from Silicon Valley, including one who had sold his company to Napster.”
 
The guiding hand of these trainers helped accelerate the learning and immersion of participants at D-Code, Dash believes. And more is to come as 11 lucky people from three teams at D-Code will be sent to Silicon Valley to get a taste of the ecosystem there.
 
After helping create a number of different events for the startup ecosystem in Malaysia, Dash (pic) started thinking of what else he could do. The coming Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Kuala Lumpur (KL) proved to be a useful anchor for him to focus his thoughts and just ‘ideate.’
 
The result is the GSY. “I asked myself what else I could do. I thought it would be great to bring in other youth leaders to KL, to mingle with our entrepreneurs and show them what amazing stuff they are creating with the limitations they face … for our youth to realise that others face the same problems, and to open their eyes,” he tells Digital News Asia (DNA).
 
But there is another angle too. With the Ministry of Finance being a strong backer of many of the recent entrepreneur-based programmes, Dash is hoping that the Malaysian participants realise there is a lot the Malaysian Government is doing – more than most nations – to support entrepreneurship.
 
Having said that, the concept of GSY, which brings together 250 young people from 60 nations with 250 Malaysian youth to then form teams and build apps over three days, has caught the attention of the US State Department which is actually sponsoring 40 youth leaders, below the age of 35, to also attend and be part of the potent pix of ideation, energy and creativity that will be unleashed at GSY.

Over and above this, Dash is also bringing in another 60 youth who are leaders in their respective country’s startup ecosystem to attend GSY and make connections with Malaysian entrepreneurs. These 60 youth leaders come from two startup organisations, UpGlobal and StartupNations.
[Above two paragraphs amended to reflect correct breakdown of participants.]
 
With this dynamic mix of high performance youth and proven leaders, Dash expects amazing things to happen at GSY, which will culminate with a one-hour pitching session in front of the expected 3,000 participants to the main GES event.
 
Related Stories:
 
GES: Obama to address role of youth and entrepreneurship
 
Is a golden opportunity being wasted at GES?
 
D-Code aims to make coding cool, then scale it
 
Govt guys to start-ups: Think big, go for it

 
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