The first ever National Techstars Startup Weekend 2018 was held in Thimphu on 15th -19th March 2018 with the theme “Helping Bhutanese shape and transform their ideas into businesses” and mandates provide a platform for Bhutanese youths to promote innovations as well as to promote entrepreneurial culture and business management skills.
About 600 business ideas were pitched from seven different colleges including Bhutan Technology Innovation Centre (BTIC), Thimphu. A total of 20 business ideas got selected from 157 business that were chosen to contest in the startup weekend.
On 16th March, the first round of 157 ideas has been pitched successfully by each participant within a minute time for each idea. After the voting, 24 business ideas made to final round presentation. One of the ideas called “Pad Vending Machine” (DrukVends) pitched by Mr. Tenpa Gyeltshen, a second year student from JNEC was chosen to further develop business model, market validation and prototype among 24 selected ideas. The business ideas of those participants who could not make it to final were given opportunity to take part in any of the selected 24 groups.
On 18th March, 2018, a five minute pitching presentation was made by each group in the presence of Honorable Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgyel and judges. Out of 24 ideas, only top six ideas have been chosen for various awards. Fortunately, JNEC student’s idea called Pad Vending Machine (DrukVends) secured a special award known as Social Impact Award under social category. The DITT, Ministry of Information and Communication has assured following promises for the award recipient.
- A special Membership to Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre, Thimphu Techpark
- DITT assured support in finding the source of fund to materialize the idea.
- BITC assured invitation to attend cost free workshops, seminars and relevant events
In addition, JNEC students also won a cash prize of Nu.10, 000 for showcasing best cultural programme, a Dance Competition conducted among the participants from seven colleges. The DITT, MoIC and MoLHR have jointly organized the first ever National Startup Weekend 2018 in Thimphu for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Bhutan. All the participants from JNEC shared the learning and experience which will benefit and provide wider scope especially to youth through such programme.