Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Startup Weekend in China: Recent Strides in Community Growth

Since the last update, we’ve had a very productive several weeks. There were 6 SW events around China: Hainan, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Xiamen. December and early January have scheduled events in Shanghai, Qingdao and Chengdu. And several new cities are in final planning stages before we got public with those. Community growth is looking strong with new cities and community leaders in existing and new cities. We are seeing greater efforts with engaging Chinese students and universities. Social media engagement is improving as well as better understanding of where to find our target participants and partners, who to talk to, and how to build a following.

Our China-wide sponsorship drive is officially in full swing. We are in talks with a few sponsors and are nearly the final stages for signing our first national sponsors. These sponsors will help us pay for China operations and make us a self-sufficient region. Currently we are working to establish a tech sponsorship and business/office space sponsor as well as formalize a partnership/sponsorship with an incubator/accelerator. We have had great successes with the cooperations with US Consulates in Chengdu and Shanghai.

Travel-wise, I facilitated one bootcamp and one Startup Weekend event in Chengdu and traveled to Shanghai for meetings and Chinaccelerator Demo day. At the end of November in Shanghai, I was able to connect with the local SW Shanghai team and a legend of the Taiwan Startup Weekend community Volker Heistermann who was also in town.

December and January will be busy for me and our Startup Weekend / UP Global operations in China. I’ll be faciliating and connecting with events in Shanghai, Qingdao and Chengdu. Chengdu event in January in particular will represent our first government-led event.

Each of these three cities represents a “hub” in a particular region around which we are building several new teams in new cities. We are certain these places will help us grow in new geographic regions in China.

While China is often described as one of the biggest markets in the world, in reality China is a country of multiple markets, regions, cultures and languages. Our strategy aims to empower local leaders region by region, city by city to guide our growth and development into 2015.

I look forward to sharing more soon in our next China Progress Report in 2015!

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