Interview with Global Entrepreneurship Program student & winner of Startup Weekend China!

startup weekend China

Eric Grieben, Ashlene Ramadan and Leo Fouchard, three students of the Global Entrepreneurship Program take home first prize at the Startup Weekend China with their idea SPORTAKUS! 18 students from the Global Entrepreneurship Program class of 2014/2015 took part in China’s Startup Weekend pitch competition in Hangzhou whilst studying at Zhejiang University, the second part of their global program, with students Giuseppe, Clara and Vanessa organising the entire weekend.

Startup Weekend China which took place on 20th – 22nd March 2015 saw 33 startup ideas pitched, with 12 teams chosen to develop their idea throughout the weekend. Teams had just 54 hours to write a business plan, code and design a model, carry out market analysis and prepare their pitch presentation to present to the judges at the end of the weekend. Pitchers were supported throughout the weekend by successful entrepreneurs in China such as Jaap Van Etten, Founder of, Vince Ghossoub, Co-Founder of Falafel Games and Jennifer Zhang, Manager of Huadan Angel investment.

Find out more about Startup Weekend, Hangzhou here

Global Entrepreneurship Program students win Startup Weekend China!

We caught up with Eric Griben, part of the winning team of the Startup Weekend China to find out more about his winning idea SPORTAKUS and how the Startup Weekend developed him and his teammates as entrepreneurs.

Eric GriebenCongratulations Eric! Could you tell us more about your winning idea SPORTAKUS?

SPORTAKUS is an online platform which makes the management of sport teams easier, cooler, and cheaper. We do this by integrating technology into the sports ecosystem. Coaches, for example, can use our mobile app to easily organize their game calendar, track their player’s attendance, or collect membership fees. Our long-term vision is to connect the entire sports community on our platform.

What was the highlight of Startup Weekend China for you?

The mentors were the biggest asset of the weekend. From the very beginning, they got us into thinking mode by challenging our ideas from all angles. Eventually, this made us rethink our concept and we managed to improve it tremendously.

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Which mentors did you work with specifically during the Startup Weekend?

All mentors who attended the Startup Weekend brought exciting ideas to our project. However, the mentors who pushed us the most were Molly Koscina – a foreign service officer of the United States consulate who helped us specifying our value proposition and Jaap van Etten – the founder and CEO of Datenna who shared his expert knowledge of data-driven businesses with us. Their critical feedback helped us immensely to enhance our project.

Meet the judges and mentors at Startup Weekend, Hangzhou here

How did the Startup Weekend develop your skills as an entrepreneur?

Even though the Startup Weekend was only a weekend, it had great impact on me and my team. For 60 hours we had to repeatedly pitch our idea to ourselves, fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, and judges. This training has helped us to be more precise in how we explain our idea. Also, we learned that you cannot get enough feedback. Even on the last day, only a couple hours before our pitch, people came to our project room, brainstormed with us, and helped us to improve our work.

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I always had a strong urge to become an entrepreneur myself. The Startup Weekend has definitely supported that dream of mine. I loved seeing what passionate people can become when they work on ideas they truly believe in. All teams worked very hard while having a lot of fun together. This is the work environment where I wish to be in in the future.

WATCH the highlights of Startup Weekend, Hangzhou on Vimeo here

Discover more about the Global Entrepreneurship Program  which takes place in France, China and the US




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