Social Startup 48: a Weekend Full of Entrepreneurship and Positive Vibes

Forty-eight hours stuffed with entrepreneurship, who wouldn’t sign for that?

  • Social Startup 48 is not a regular business game, the business model shouldn’t only focus on the profit.
  • Top speakers as Creel Price managed to motivate and inspire the aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Food and drinks kept energy levels high till the grand finale: the pitches.

I was invited by a colleague to advise teams on marketing, strategy and finance. I must admit that being a mentor at 24 might sound a little awkward, but it reminds me that I gained heaps of crucial business experience during the last months at Rocket Internet. This experience is simply unique and incomparable in terms of work load, learning curve and networking. A month at Rocket is a year at any other company. The latter might be exaggerated, but it probably explains why I haven’t met -except for the partners who are joyfully chasing the greens- anyone working for Rocket more than 2 years.

The used venue for Social Startup 48 was the Queen Street Studio in Chippendale, Sydney. A large, open warehouse was transformed in a work space where ideas sparked during the whole weekend. The atmosphere was lively and positive. It was, however, a very busy weekend for the participants. Their challenge was to form teams, decide which business plan was most viable and then … go for it! Websites were built, numbers were crunched and pitches were prepared. To refresh the brain and inspire the teams, some very good guest speakers attended the event. Most noteworthy were serial entrepreneur Creel Price on the future of business and Tom Dawkins from StartSomeGood on crowdfunding (a social alternative to Kickstarter). All movies were shot and edited by Mikey Leung, a talented movie maker who actually crowdfunded all his movie equipment.



It was a high-quality event organized by some very bright people coming from professional and academic backgrounds including McKinsey & Company, Macquarie Bank and Harvard University. And also these organizers and mentors were running as hell.

My main job was to stroll around and give advice where necessary. Reactions were consistently positive and got a lot of credit from the teams. When mentoring, I focused on three aspects:

There is no point in launching a venture if the numbers don’t add up. Even though your business is non-profit , you need a positive cash flow to keep the business running and faces happy.

The best idea will flop if you can’t market it. You need to tell your story in a strategic way. Offline and online. And which marketing efforts will yield the best return?

Turnarounds. What-if scenarios. What is your long-term strategy?

The hard work resulted in 5-minute pitches, feedback and prizes including office space, mentorship and cloud storage services. Some of the startups already have a working website: Hubbo Bike Empower All Hearts Alliance Shop4Change Crowdworthy

It was a great weekend. And so was the food! We were fed with quality food, ranging from BBQ to pizza, Thai and baguettes from Taste. I finished the weekend with a Double Rich Chocolate Brownie at the Winery. It’s a warm, double chocolate brownie topped with cold vanilla ice cream and fairy floss. Worth every penny.


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