Written by: Beth Hadley
Aug. 14, 2016
It’s summer in Mongolia, and while many people have been out relaxing in the countryside, 41 bright young entrepreneurs have been hard at work at ITPark in Ulaanbaatar. Over the past 8 weeks, these students have participated in MIT’s Global Startup Labs program, an intensive summer course delivered in partnership with the National University of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
This course runs daily from 9am to 5pm. The course teaches students both technical and entrepreneurship skills as they work to develop and launch a mobile app startup business. The 40 student participants come from a variety of backgrounds and schools: 13 MUST, 14 NUM, 3 high school, 2 from other universities inside Mongolia, 6 from universities outside Mongolia, and 3 post-university students. The average age of students is 22 years old.
The course has been instructed by MIT graduate students in technology, design, and entrepreneurship. Beth Hadley, MIT Class of 2015 Computer Science and Class of 2017 Master’s of Computer Science, has led the technical instruction; Thanh Le Class of 2017 Master’s of Business has led the entrepreneurship instruction; James Addison Class of 2018 Master’s of Architecture has led the design and communication instruction.
Each week at least one guest speaker has shared their personal experience regarding developing and launching technical startups in Mongolia. In addition, about 5 post-university mentors have participated regularly in the course, providing additional instruction and support to teams.
Topics such as mobile app development, user interface design, and lean startup techniques have been covered. The course has also included many fun teambuilding and communication activities, including an overnight trip to the countryside. All course materials are available online and open to the public.
During the course, student have been working in teams to develop a mobile application startup business. The 10 teams pitched their ideas at a Demo Day on August 11. Ranging from an app to reserve basketball courts to one to buy and sell used books, the variety of apps surprised and delighted the audience - and the judges. Many high profile sponsors were involved in the event, including Startup Mongolia, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce, a popular coworking space (Club Coworking), and a leading tech company (ITZone). Prizes included money, materials (technology, books, etc.), paid internships, office space, mentorship, and acceptance into accelerator programs. 80% of students indicated that they plan to continue developing their startup business after the program ends.
GSL Mongolia 2016 was a phenomenal success, and we look forward to many more years of GSL in Mongolia!
For more information:
Facebook Page (Mongolian): https://www.facebook.com/MITGSLMongolia
Facebook Page (English): https://www.facebook.com/groups/988906901224421/
Instructor’s Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org