This past week, I had the privilege of spending time with
500 of the most excited, enthusiastic and energetic young entrepreneurs, nine
incredibly talented Oxy students, and one fearless and inspiring Professor.
I’ve traveled in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia with ten other Oxypreneurship leaders and students from Professor
Khagram’s DWA/Econ 151 course: Entrepreneurial Leadership in the 21st
century. We worked as Student Ambassadors for Global Startup Youth (GSY), a
summit bringing 500 young entrepreneurs together to solve some of the world’s
most pressing issues in the areas of education, health, environment and female
empowerment. The students formed teams to build a working prototype of a mobile
application that could address these issues. The winners of the event presented
their application in front of the 4th Annual Global Entrepreneurship
Summit, which we also had the privilege to attend.
is the first of its kind. Never before has a government sponsored 500 students
(250 Malaysians and 250 students from over 100 countries around the world) to
collaborate and work together on important issues of our time. One of the most
memorable moments of our trips was when our entire team first walked into the
hall that would be hosting the participants for the following three days.
Brightly colored bean bags filled the entire room and posters with the now
famous multi-colored hexagons hung from the ceilings. Dash Dhakshinamoorthy the mastermind of the
entire event, stood on stage cheering “GSY, GSY!” and students joined him
shouting and pumping their fists in the air as they filled the room. It was
clear, this was going to be something special.
I met students from Kazakhstan,
Morocco, Peru, Moldova, Lithuania – and that’s just the beginning of the list. Witnessing
these students form teams and work tirelessly across language and cultural
barriers was inspiring and humbling. Despite having flown in from far and wide
(I heard stories of over 50 hour plane journeys) and being severely jetlagged, every
participant was ready to get to work and contribute to his or her team.
addition to the students, the event brought together amazing speakers and
facilitators who have had prolific careers including Christina Brodbeck, one of
the original founding members of YouTube, and Orion Henry, founder of Heroku
and Roger Dickey, the founder of Mafia Wars. Despite their success and experience, every
facilitator was incredibly down-to-earth and willing to mentor the teams. Being
part of such a dynamic environment made achieving any of my goals or ambitions
more real. I’d meet and talk with
students and professionals who have already been making their way to their
goals. Their drive and tenacity has been infectious, has motivated me to bring
new energy to the work that I do and to Oxypreneurship as a whole.
back at the last couple days, I’m moved most by the energy that filled the
room. Every participant, mentor, speaker and leader brought an enthusiasm and
commitment that turned a simple hall with colorful bean bags into a launching
pad for cross-cultural connection and innovation that will continue to motivate
young entrepreneurs around the world.