STARTUP WEEKEND. From left to right: PMBA Cohort XV member Erica Marie Pangilinan, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director and Business Advisor Ltelatk Fritz (center), and PMBA Cohort XV member Kylene Hsieh (right).

Bring your business ideas in and be part of the region-wide Startup Weekend Micronesia to be launched by the University of Guam (UOG) graduate students simultaneously in seven Micronesian Islands including Palau.

Startup Weekend Micronesia (SW Micronesia) is a three-day entrepreneurial event that will simultaneously run from November 7 to 9 in Palau, Guam, Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Saipan, and Yap and is the brainchild of 10 students of the Professional Master’s Degree in Business Administration(PMBA) at the UOG.

What started as a school assignment has now gone to the next level as the group, who now calls themselves the PMBA Cohort XV, becomes passionate about the project with an aim of spurring economic activities in Micronesia.

Erica Marie Pangilinan and Kylene Hsieh of the PMBA Cohort XV had been tasked to launch the event in Palau and has worked with several companies including the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Palau National Communications Corporations (PNCC), among others, in realizing the event.

Pangilinan said that the Startup Weekend is associated with the Google Techstars Startup Weekend that is said to be the world’s largest launchpad for entrepreneurs and had already been hosted in over 150 countries.

“In just 54 hours, participants will experience the highs and lows of what it takes to start a business,” Pangilinan said.

Hsieh, meanwhile, said that the three-day event will serve as a venue for participants to build their network by mingling with each other, pitching in startup business ideas, and learning the twist and turns of building a business from mentors.

The good thing about the event is that teams who will have the top three best ideas will be awarded with corresponding prizes composed of tools that will help them build their business. Among these are low-interest loans from the National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP) and about six-month worth of free internet through the sponsorship of the PNCC.

The Startup Weekend encourages interested participants to form their respective groups who will come up and work together on their various business plans.

“It’s really just a push towards helping people where to start with their business, helping them, and guiding them through. It’s a great hands-on experience for participants to really understand what it feels like to build a business plan,” Hsieh said.

Students who are interested to take part in the event will only need to pay $5 while adults will only pay $10 for the registration fee. Interested can easily register by signing up online through the website (Rhealyn C. Pojas)