I had a great time at the the fifth HATCH! Fair in Hanoi. I was there for part of the pitching competition in which young entrepreneurs have three (3) minutes to pitch their businesses to a jury board. (Yes, it’s exactly three minutes. They run a tight ship!) There are three (3) more minutes for the judges to ask questions. Last year, there were 305 applications and 54 “hand-picked startups”, an acceptance rate of 17.7%, not unlike that of the most selective colleges and universities in the US. (UC Berkeley had a 2016 acceptance rate of 17.5%.)
It was an inspiration listening to so many ideas, some of which will be transformed into practice and others not. The highlight was the pitch by Nam “Chris” Nguyen, of College Scout (CS), who finished with a few seconds to spare. I was impressed by his energy, focus, and enthusiasm. Congratulations to Nam for rocking it at the 5th HATCH! Fair!
What is College Scout (CS)?
It’s a Hanoi-based ed-tech startup whose services include but also transcend preparing young people for overseas higher education admission. Most companies focus on the latter. In other words, the professional spotlight is what happens before they board the flight to their host country to begin their studies and a new life. CS does that and much more. Perhaps more importantly, it prepares students for academic, cultural, and social success in a new and often very challenging environment. In doing so, it takes the long and holistic view of each young person as a student, future professional, and global citizen.
For families with students planning to study in North America, College Scout is a “one-stop readiness service”. Unlike traditional education agents and related companies that provide ancillary services related to overseas study, CS provides fun and effective prep activities that increase their chances for success not only in the application and admission process, but in the areas of academic, cultural, and social adjustment. (Full disclosure: I’m a proud member of the CS advisory board.)
What is HATCH!?
According to its website, the mission of HATCH! is to support entrepreneurs and promote the early-stage startup ecosystem in Vietnam. By the end of 2013, HATCH! was among the top names for entrepreneurship development in Vietnam, with activities that have made dozens of international headlines; and, not just for the organization, but also for our innovative startups, and their founders and investors, as well as HATCH! partners and sponsors.
HATCH! is the brainchild of Aaron Everhart, who had this to say about the organization: I’m pretty proud of building HATCH!, which grew from a small coffee-talk meeting in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012 to Vietnam’s largest and leading startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem builder. We’ve built it grass-roots using borrowed spaces, volunteer time, and instant coffee packets. Now we’re proud to be producing Vietnam’s only major international startup exhibition and conference, HATCH! FAIR each year… Aaron’s tag line is “I turn ideas into companies,” and he does!