Written by Olivia Hough
Ten teams of startups with new ideas on how to solve challenges surrounding road safety, transport and creating smarter cities met for the first time at Impact Hub Phnom Penh last weekend, where they went on to spend an intensive two full days ideating, validating, and learning about how to start an impactful business, as part of the Toyota Impact Challenge.
What does a bootcamp weekend look like?
Energy and excitement are in the air, and teams have to think fast and work together to keep up with the pace. Teams will learn everything from user experience to assess their impact, from business modelling to pitching their idea. For many, it’s their first time learning about business, and this process can be eye-opening.
“After running numerous programs at Impact Hub for idea-stage ventures I have seen the transformation that startups make, from being an idea in a group of friends to a solid business plan, pitching their ideas confidently and going out and speaking to their market. It’s the teams that show real determination through this process that we look for- because those who aren’t afraid to show up are the ones who we see showing signs of success” – Melanie Mossard, Director of Community, Impact Hub Phnom Penh.
One of the key lessons that teams take away from the weekend is the importance of understanding the problem they are trying to solve, an often overlooked but essential step in starting a successful social business. Teams use the ‘problem tree’ to map out the challenge, the consequences it has, and the root causes. This deeper insight into the problem often helps teams to shape their idea around a particular problem point, to ensure they have a realistic and sustainable impact.
Another big emphasis is put on expressing or ‘pitching’ their idea clearly and concisely so that they can approach potential customers and get the vital feedback they need for their idea. The teams will get further pitching practice when they pitch later on in the program, but in the meantime, they’ll get much-needed practice as they carry out at least 30 interviews to test and validate their ideas.
“A common mistake among ideation-stage businesses is that you fall in love with the solution you’ve come up with, before you’ve had a chance to test if it will have the impact you expected, and if people will use it or buy it. The trick is to fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve, so that you can truly adapt to its needs, and find the most efficient, sustainable business solution that really works.” – Olivia Hough, Managing Director of Impact Hub Phnom Penh.
Teams met with mentors in tech, marketing, user experience, finance and more during a ‘speed networking’ morning, and will continue to meet with dedicated mentors over the next six weeks as they continue to work on their ideas in the run-up to the first pitching day, where 3 teams will be selected for incubation at Impact Hub Phnom Penh.
Learn more about the teams and the program at our Pitching Day on August 2nd at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, and follow us on Facebook for live updates on the teams and program!