HKBU student Eric Pan (Computer Science, Year 3) and his team won an award after completing a 16-day entrepreneurship training programme entitled “Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Entrepreneurship and Maker Skills Integrator (MEMSI) Programme”.
Eric and his team Happy Farm developed a user-interactive plant watering sensor by assembling an intelligent chatbot. This viable business idea stood out from six competing teams to win the Most Favourite Product prize. In the six-member team, three of Eric’s teammates come from two Hong Kong universities and two come from MIT, USA.
A total of 14 students from MIT, USA and 16 Hong Kong students from five local universities were selected to join the programme held in Hong Kong this year. Students from different disciplines formed teams to identify and solve problems, develop a solution through team interaction, and build a prototype using advanced technologies.
Eric thinks that a startup’s first priorities are to address the needs of the market and build team chemistry. He said, “There was great diversity in our team and I believe this was the reason why everything went smoothly. We had two business members; two hardware engineers; one data analyst; and I handled graphic design and software. We learnt from each other. I learnt how to do a good pitch, and to communicate with teammates.”
Eric said a lot of people think a startup has to have great engineers to make things happen, however, he believes a team made up purely of engineers does not guarantee success. He said, “You must target the correct market by doing tons of researches and interviews. A startup is more about how you target the right market and differentiate your product from those offered by competitors.” Eric did not see much of a cultural barrier when working with his US teammates and said, “They balance play, work and networking pretty well. I was impressed by the way that peer members of the programme do very well in their own realm while enjoying an awesome life.”