Bernard Chan wanted to build a startup school, but high rents make that almost impossible in Hong Kong. So he tried to pursue his dream in Taiwan.
He is now convinced he has made the right decision and plans to settle down in Taipei.
Chan’s school – ALPHA Camp – targets two groups of people, those looking to switch careers and those ready to start their own business.
“If you just want to study, you don’t need to come to me,” Chan told StartupBeat.
The 10-week course aims to instill a startup mindset in the students and show them how to create a product the startup way.
Tech economies, mobile development and software knowhow are also part of the curriculum.
Chan also hopes ALPHA Camp can serve as a hub that helps students build up their connections with both investors and other entrepreneurs.
Coming from diverse backgrounds such as software engineering, medicine, accounting and journalism, about a hundred students have enrolled or finished the course.
Startups in Hong Kong are usually stronger in pitching their ideas but weaker in actually making the product. Taiwan has a strong engineering culture, the product part is less of a problem but Taiwanese startups are usually weaker in communication (especially in English) and devising a proper business model, Chan observed.
For that reason, talents from Hong and Taiwan can actually complement each other.
While the number of startups has been increasing rapidly in Hong Kong, Chan suggests people seriously thinking about striking out on their own should first gain some startup experience by working for one.
The way things work in big corporations is not quite the same for startups, Chan noted. “Mindset, culture, skill set are all rather different.”
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