Working in Hong Kong’s buzziest start-up co-working space’s inaugural summer internship program is an experience I will not forget soon. The word ‘start-up’ conjures up different images in one’s mind. I too, did not have a definitive idea. However, my view of Hong Kong and start-ups got significantly shaped during the brilliant orientation week which was organized by Garage Society. During the week I gained an exclusive insight into the bustling start-up scene in Hong Kong. A company visit to the Uber Hong Kong office was the icing on the cake. The visit gave me a behind-the scene look into one of the most promising tech companies of the world. The staff at Uber patiently took us around the office and explained to us the growing expansion plans of the company in the North Asia region. Talks by Gene Soo, Kevin Bluer and Borris Barreck – all stalwarts of the Hong Kong start-up scene were another major highlight. One the highlights of my internship experience at Garage Society was the opportunity to attend the RISE conference as a volunteer – the largest tech conference held in Asia. It was an absolutely incredible experience to see so many passionate people congregate in one place. I was fortunate to have got a chance to listen to some absolutely brilliant people such as Softbank’s Nikesh Arora, Neil Shen of Sequoia Capital and John Lunn of Paypal. Their insight into the latest technological disruptions was eye-opening. The exposure that I received from meeting new people across diverse fields in the start-up community was invigorating. Working with a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers from around the globe and the ever-positive RISE organizing committee was a very positive learning experience as well. Coming now to the most important part – working as a product and business development intern for Bluer and Company. Coming from a non-technical background, I was definitely apprehensive of working at a tech start-up. However, from day one, Kevin put me at ease. I gained insight into the mobile application development process, conducted industry market research, gained an introduction to wire-framing, worked on a sales and marketing plan, and much more! But more than all this – I learnt so many intangible things working with him. I learnt to always be open to new things – new technologies, new people, new conversations. I have learnt that there is something new to be learnt every day. Most of all, I have learnt to be humble – even after decades of experience of working in the technical field, Kevin had absolutely no airs and was always open to listening to my point of view (i.e. of a novice). I need to a give a special mention to the team at Garage Society – Cheryl, Elaine, James and to the other Cadets who were all very supportive and encouraging. As a non-local student I felt at ease and this was only possible because they went out of their way to make me feel included. This is one experience of my life that I will truly cherish.
Today’s entrepreneurs do not like getting tied down and are inherently drawn towards options that let them progress at their own growth-plan. Personalisation and a sense of creative freedom has picked up the pace and is here to not only rule but also dominate the work culture.
As part of Garage Society’s Well-Being Month, we sat down with Dutch entrepreneur Madelon van de Ven, to learn more about her flourishing plant subscription startup and her mission to get more urbanites to experience the health and well-being benefits of plants.