Lou Chan at the Business Of Design Week 2014 with BMW’s Chris Bangle
As the first ever Hongkonger to be invited on the highly competitive MIT x Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, 29-year-old digital guru Lou Chan has a lot to prove.
After first hearing about the prestigious one-week intensive bootcamp via MIT’s online course Entrepreneurship 101, Chan went through a grueling selection process before finally receiving an invitation to present his start-up idea before entrepreneurs from around the world at the Massachusetts university in August.
Around 50 students will have the opportunity to set up a company in a week and pitch their startup idea to a panel of global investors.
No messing around – this is the real Dragon’s Den!
Chan’s big pitch will be for his concept of “ChannelLab”, a one-stop e-commerce solution that helps digitally stunted offline retailers integrate with all online marketplaces.
Lou Chan explains, “As a seller myself, I need a solution that saves time, increases my exposure and allows me to repeat my e-commerce success on an exponential rate, so I streamline all the repetitive processes. Automating it would be a really useful tool for any sellers who want extra exposure.”
However, the bootcamp opportunity doesn’t come free (or cheap), and after putting down a USD1,000 (HKD7,75) deposit, Chan is hoping a group crowdfunding campaign will help secure the USD6,000 (HKD46,500) he and other students each need for the tuition.
With this approach, every time a USD6,000 goal is reached, another boot camper’s dream comes true.
Though he spent a month shadowing the CEO of Groupon after winning a CTgoodjobs competition in 2011 (yes, this is one lucky guy), Chan attributes his industrious attitude to his subsequent experience with Rocket Internet, a German-based shareholder in Groupon and other online marketplaces.
According to Chan, his 18 months with the company in Berlin provided him with an edge in the highly competitive atmosphere, and was key to his acceptance into the bootcamp.
And while most Hong Kong parents balk at the idea of their kids having anything other than a steady job, it seems Chan has struck gold with them as well.
“My family has been very supportive during my journey as an entrepreneur and they are certainly excited about the fact that I am one step closer to my own vision of entrepreneurial success,” he told Coconuts HK.
“The fact that I am the first and only one [bootcamp participant] so far representing Hong Kong makes it even more surreal, but they [Chan’s parents] are also the ones that always keep my feet on the ground. Their love and support always guide me to stay humble, keep working towards making life happen for myself and retain my love to learn.”
While Chan fears the global economic climate might be causing a crisis of confidence for some, he is optimistic about the future of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong.
“To quote a saying, entrepreneurs are known to be jumping off cliffs and assembling planes on the way down, so with its blessing of housing people with so many different cultural background from every corner of the world, the pushiness that many are feeling [in Hong Kong] will be a good driver for them to try and see things a little bit differently […] It is really about taking that first steps for many, and more importantly so, the endurance to strive for one’s belief.”
In Chan’s eyes the future holds no boundaries, as the sky’s the limit… as long as he gets that USD6,000 tuition fee, of course.
Help him take one step close to his dream by donating here. You never know, this guy could be your next boss.