MANGILAO (UOG) — Seven sustainability-focused business ideas from teams representing the CNMI, Guam, Palau, Pohnpei, and Yap came out of the Startup Weekend Micronesia “Solve 2Day, Evolve 2Morrow” event hosted online from April 27 to 29. The event was hosted by the University of Guam Entrepreneur Society student organization, UOG’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and the Pacific Islands Small Business Development Center Network.
With the assistance of Northern Marianas College, the College of Micronesia-FSM, and SBDC centers throughout Micronesia, the weekend-long event engaged a total of 35 participants on five islands throughout Micronesia with the dream of starting their own business.
Participants pitched their business ideas with a focus on sustainability. The participants then formed teams and built business plans to turn the most feasible ideas into small-business startups. The teams pitched their startups to a panel of judges who determined the winners.
“This year’s event brought forth the diverse communities of Micronesia, along with their sustainable ideas, to solve concerns in their respective islands. The passion and drive from each team just radiated through the final pitches and was easily seen by all those who were present,” said Christasha Aguon, an officer of the Entrepreneur Society at UOG and Startup Weekend Micronesia organizing lead.
The winning teams were as follows:
First Place: SCRAP (Pohnpei)
Concept: Sustainable conservation recycling of agricultural products
Members: Celena Albis, Isabel Emrhedrose Pacyaya Garcia, Erika Lynn Nakasone, and Marissa Quiambao.
Second Place: Package WAAB Wellness Camp (Yap)
Concept: Yap’s first recreation center aimed at holistic health
Members: Jalani Gootinmutnguy, Teresita Laarwon, Demetria Mtag, Jamilyn Mooteb, Sebastiana Tinagpitin, and Joshua Tun
Third Place: Recycle to Print (CNMI)
Concept: Taking recycled materials and creating useful objects using a 3D printer
Members: Kirsten Jensen, Anushi Joshi, Sharon Paek, and Vicente Juan Ythemar
Other teams that took part included: Beep! (Guam), Dachelbil (Palau), Kenehke 4 Wheels (Pohnpei), and Linguistic Learning Services (LLS) (Pohnpei).
First-place winners will receive $2,500 in seed money with provisions, second-place winners will receive three Cricut Explore Machines with supplies and AirTags, and third-place winners will receive entrepreneurship books, notebooks, bags, and other sustainable goods.
The event is associated with Google Techstars Startup Weekend, a program that has been launched in more than 150 countries across the world that teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to create a real company.
UOG graduate students in the Professional Master of Business Administration program and the Pacific Islands SBDC at UOG first brought the Startup Weekend event model to Guam in 2014, to Saipan in 2016, and to Palau, Chuuk, Kosrae, Yap, and Pohnpei for the first time in 2019.