Saturday, December 4, 2010

StartMeUp@Stockholm - Day 1 complete!

The big day has finally arrived!!

The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind of activity, but oh, ever so worthwhile!

Lugging in their overnight bagpacks across the snow-blanketed at 8.30 on a Saturday morning, with sleep still in their eyes, the SMUS participants trundled into Blackebergs Gymnasium - I was soooo impressed :) After several bites of breakfast, they got into their teams and started to discuss the ideas that they had collected over the week. Mikolaj Norek then set the camp off with a cool 2 hours of 'planning' activities, taking their ideas and solidifying it, turning them into feasible solutions that had the potential to be executed during the 20 hour challenge.

Then came an inspiring series of talks by Love Sahlin, Ted Valentin and Annika Lidne! Love's insight on how he started his business at 18 made me wish I'd spent those years of my life more wisely, and Ted Valentin's input on how to keep businesses simple was nothing but inspiring. Annika, Sweden's top female social media entrepreneur, complemented the mix with her vast knowledge and expertise while offering her sound advice to the group. Their experiences, combined, sparked off a series of questions from the young audience that was eager to learn more about what they should look out for when starting their own companies during the Q&A session. I never realized how stressful it was to be the moderator of a panel discussion, but I truly enjoyed the experience! I got the opportunity to catch Annika for a quick interview after that, and will post that up as soon as I can get the raw files into my computer :)

After a fika break, we were launched into an intensive 4 hour workshop by marketing and branding consultant, Stefan Melljö. It was amazing. During these 4 hours, the teams were swept through the basics of marketing and branding, and worked extensively with their ideas to arrive at interesting, exciting and creative business plans! All (including Stefan!) were left brain dead by the end of the workshop, their heads buzzing with ideas and stuffed with loads of new information. A good dinner soon revived their spirits, however, and before I knew it, the teams soon launched into self-initiated group discussions where they continued to build on their ideas!

As I took the time to talk to the teams and listen to their ideas, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement building up within me. It was amazing - Their creativity, enthusiasm and zeal were infectious, and kept all of us going past midnight. And in the midst of it all, they never failed to have fun :P The last I heard, one of the teams was about to have a short 'Simpsons night' before they drifted off to sleep! In just a few hours, they'll be up and about again, executing their ideas on the streets of Stockholm! :D

So here I am, 4.30am, recounting the day with what energy I have left. This post ain't well written, and it lacks what little linguistic abilities I usually try to display. But I wanted to pen down (or in this case, type down) these feelings before they evaporate into the few hours of sleep that I have left.

To the wonderful participants of SMUS 2010, THANK YOU for coming! I hope you enjoyed today, and I wish you the best of luck for your Challenge! I'm looking forward to your presentations tomorrow already! *keeps both fingers and toes crossed*

Before I end off this post, I'd like to make a special mention to the wonderful people at Blackebergs Gymnasium, without whom this camp couldn't have gone so smoothly. It was past office hours when we finally reached Blackebergs Gymnasium on Friday night (the SMUSies stayed over since Friday in order to get the place in shape for the event), yet the staff - Ismo and Hussein - waited patiently for us to get there, and took pains to run through the entire school system with us when we got there. I personally couldn't be more grateful! Thank you, Marie, Ismo and Hussein! :)

*excited for tomorrow*

Watch this space for more updates!!! :D:D:D

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