ThinkYoung, is the first think-tank based in Brussels, Geneva and Hong Kong with the aim of making the world a better place for young people, by involving them in decision making processes and by providing decision makers with high quality researches on EU’s youth’s conditions.
How did ThinkYoung get started?
We often participated in conferences and debates and noticed thatvery few young people were actively involved in debates regarding the development of Europe, nor were they mentioned as the subjects of studies and research projects that were presented.
Our founders then decided to start an online think-tank where young people were asked, through surveys, what they thought about the future of European integration. They wanted to raise the voice of European youth. Our first office was opened in September 2009.
The Winter Enterpreneurship School will be the 4th time you are offering this program in Hong Kong. How has the reception been so far?
The reception in Hong Kong has been really good to the point that we created a Junior Schoolfor even younger students who are in high school and between the age of 15 to 16 years old. Before the Schools expanded to Hong Kong they were held biannually in Brussels, with its pilot in Summer 2011. Since its inception the School has gathered over 550 people in its Alumni Network.
Who are some of the speakers at this years program?
Our guest speakers are recognised entrepreneurs; they bring their experiences to the table in order to inspire the participants, all in a very didactic way. Some of the speakers of our Entrepreneurship Winter School 2015 are:
Charles Mok, JP (Legislative Councillor (Information Technology), HKSAR)
Charles is one of the ICT industry pioneers in Hong Kong, as Honorary President of Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, former Chairman of Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, and Co-founder of Internet Society Hong Kong.
He is the founder and partner of Jump Willy (Portugal and Hong Kong), We Came from Mars, Uou, Criatividade Digital, and Idea Lab Diogo Vasconcelos. He won various international and national awards, in film directing, animation, and entrepreneurism, such as the “Young Creative Talent” award by the European Union or the Silver Dolphin at Cannes
Corporate Media & TV Awards.
Jim Coke, founder of hilmannreinier.com
The son of a Jamaica farmer, Jim read Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University obtaining both a Bachelor and Masters degree. After graduating, he began a career in banking as a risk manager before relocating to Singapore and becoming an entrepreneur. Hilmann Reinier Brands Ltd started off in Hong Kong as a coffee manufacturing business developing its own brand (Lily Kerridge) before being listed in several stores under the A.S. Watson Group. All this was achieved within 18 months.
Simon Squibb (CEO of Nest Investments)
As founder of multi award-winning, globally respected creative agency, fluid, Simon worked with an impressive list of clients and partner brands including Estée Lauder China, Fortune, CNN, Wall Street Journal Asia, Li & Fung, Citibank China and Starbucks. As CEO of Nest Investments, Simon leverages his extensive network and experience to mentor and develop Hong Kong based start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Alex Tang (CEO of XCOR Asia)
Alex is the CEO of SXC Asia, leading the company’s business expansion in Greater China. Since a child, he has been intrigued by technology, cars and space travel. His dream is to be the first in Hong Kong to travel into space. With this aspiration, Alex met Michiel through a business partner and ventured into the business of space tourism, taking him a step closer to realizing his dream.
How has the program evolved since you launched?
ThinkYoung’s Entrepreneurship Schools were first introduced during the Summer of 2011 in Brussels with the intend to help young Europeans who had creative start up ideas but did not know how to set up a business.The school has grown tremendously, becoming bigger and better. An example of this would be that every year 300 young people from different countries participate in these projects having the opportunity to cooperate, the chance to learn first hand experience from successful entrepreneurs and achieve the skills and confidence to create their own companies.
What are some cool events/features of the program?
Diverting from the typical lecture approach, our Entrepreneurship Schools function with a unique methodology, this is one of the best features of the program! It is our belief that people interested in entrepreneurship should learn in a proactive and direct manner. We invite speakers who are not professors or boring lecturers, only exciting pioneers who can offer knowledge by sharing their experiences and giving the participants advice which are not available in books or formal settings. Besides learning from successful entrepreneurs, participants will also be taken to Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, where they will visit the facilities and dine with the Vice President of one of the biggest high tech firms in Asia. Lastly, the 5 day programme will finish with a competition of business plans created in teams with people they would have met for the first time four days ago!
Who are the typical students?
ThinkYoung looks for young professionals who have the motivation and the vision to positively influence society in the near future. We strive to have talented pioneers who are extremely motivated to learn from successful entrepreneurs. Having your own experience in the entrepreneurial world enables you to gain more from the School than your peers. Furthermore, the Entrepreneurship School is most useful and relevant to young people who are fluent in English (language in which the sessions will be held), have had experiences with multiple nationalities in the past, and are keen on working in an international and stimulating environment in the present and future. As ThinkYoung focuses on young people, we offer the Entrepreneurship School to people from all over the world between the age of 18 to 35 years.
After the program ends, are there any ways for the students to keep in touch?
We have Alumni events, where they can keep in touch and discuss their ideas of starting up their own businesses. ThinkYoung’s first Alumni event was held at the European Business Summit 2014. They have also the opportunity to use social media platforms to connect with each other that are created during the school.