Startup Weekend to get bigger

Speaking to the participants of  the fourth Startup WeekendTechnology Edition at the College of Science and Technology (CST) in Phuentsholing on October 29, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said such event should not stop here.

“This must continue and this must spread,” Lyonchhen said.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay further said that all the colleges in the country would have Startup Weekends in the next few months’ time.

“Government is going to finance,” he said.

“Next year, hopefully, before my term is up, we will have another national-level Startup Weekend. It will be a bigger one, more attractive with more energy and brighter ideas.”

Startup Weekend is designed to provide an experiential entrepreneurship education. Students from different colleges and other aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business ideas. Three best ideas are awarded.

Students from CST, Royal Thimphu College, Gaeddu College of Business Studies (GCBS), and Sherubtse College participated in the competition this year.

The event was organised by the Department of IT and Telecom (DITT) in collaboration with Thimphu Techpark, Techstars, and UNDP. The focus this time was on ideas that use technologies such as the Internet, e-commerce, IT, mobile apps, animation, and web.

More than 80 business ideas were pitched at the three-day event. However, only 16 could make it to the final session of demonstration and presentation.

bundle.bt, an online logistics portal designed to deliver parcels by linking regular car owners plying the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway and people who want to send parcels won this year’s edition.

Through this app, anyone who owns a vehicle and ply the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway could register and become a member. They would be the bundlers who will transport parcels for senders.

A person who wants to send parcel to Thimphu from Phuentsholing or vice-versa could drop at bundle.bt’s outpost in Phuentsholing or Thimphu. The parcel would be dropped at the destination outposts from where it could be collected.

During the presentation, Namgyel Dorji, the founder of portal, said it was the first online logistics portal. “It is an on demand delivery system. Anybody could become a bundler or a sender and make some extra cash.”

Namgyel Dorji developed this idea after a book he ordered from amazon.com could not come beyond Jaigaon. He wanted to bridge that gap.

The second winner was Pema Singay and group who pitched the idea to develop Smart Milk Cream Separator (SMCS). The machine separates butter from the milk.

Although such machines are already available, Pema Singay said not many use as they are not user-friendly. A final year electronics student at CST, Pema Singay and his team is also working on a machine to make cheese.

“My friend and I started the project a year ago, it was our dream,” he said, adding that Startup Weekend was a wonderful opportunity. “We are five as a team and we will pursue this dream to the next level.”

The winners were awarded several prizes sponsored by Tashicell and Bhutan Telecom. Top two winners will also travel abroad to attend similar events.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

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