SCET Takes the Global Stage at Asian Leadership Conference

University of California, Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET) faculty, students, and alumni encouraged innovative global leadership at the 2024 Asian Leadership Conference (ALC) which took place in Seoul, South Korea on May 22 and May 23. The goal of ALC is to bring together world leaders from government, academia, industry and the startup world to raise awareness and address key topics and issues that the world is facing and to foster more global collaboration.  Keynote speakers at this year’s Asian Leadership Conference included Sanna Marin (Prime Minister of Finland), Jacinda Ardem (former Prime Minister of New Zealand), Kevin McCarthy (former US Speaker of the House), and Ron Klain (former Chief of Staff for President Joe Biden).  

The theme of this year’s conference was “Era of hyper-uncertainty: innovative leadership that opens the future,” where SCET was particularly poised to contribute, with sessions on building startup teams, creating innovative business models, startup pitching, and global entrepreneurship education. 

“Innovation and entrepreneurship is crucial for global leadership, especially in times of uncertainty, as it enables us to navigate and adapt to rapid changes,” says SCET faculty, Gigi Wang, who led the delegation. “By fostering an innovative mindset, we can create solutions that not only drive economic growth but also address pressing global challenges.”

SCET leadership presenters included Lecturer & Industry Fellow Gigi Wang, Managing Director & Chief Learning Officer, Ken Singer, and Lecturer & Industry Fellow, Victoria Howell, along with UC Berkeley BMOE bootcamp students.

SCET Faculty and Industry Fellow, Gigi Wang led the SCET delegation and presented a session on Innovative Business Models and moderated a panel of SCET student alumni who demonstrated their winning startup pitches

In addition to a popular session on Innovative Business Models, Gigi Wang led a lively session titled “Berkeley Bootcamp Startup Pitching,” where she talked about SCET’s unique pedagogy, the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship, and her very popular Berkeley course, Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, where students create a startup in just five days. SCET students Lucas Walsh, Riya Kumar, and Tanmay Vijaywargiya presented their award-winning startup pitches to a crowd of students and educators from local Korean universities, representing the growing interest from young people in innovation and entrepreneurship.

SCET student alum, Tanmay Vijaywargiya

SCET student alum, Lucas Walsh

SCET student alum, Riya Kumar, presenting her Collider Cup winning pitch, Red Box

Managing Director Ken Singer stole the show with his session “Building a Successful Startup Team,” where he presented various frameworks and journeys for startup team formation. His presentation solicited dozens of questions from an excited young crowd interested in this key skill of forming the right team to build a successful startup.

SCET Managing Director and Chief Learning Officer, Ken Singer, presenting on what makes a successful startup team

“It is often said that the success or failure of a startup begins and ends with the team,” said Ken, who after the talk hosted impromptu “office hours” for more than an hour for a dozen students inspired by this talk.

Victoria Howell hosted an inspiring panel session titled  “Global Entrepreneurship Education,” which explored the current trends in how universities and schools are educating students in a field which is notoriously difficult to teach. Panelists included SCET alumna and venture capitalist, Yura Isabel Hwang, scientist and Oxford lecturer, Jason Lee, and Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at University of Doha for Science & Technology, Sylia Khecheni. 

“Global Entrepreneurship Education” session moderated by SCET faculty Victoria Howell. The panel included Sylia Khecheni, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at University of Doha for Science & Technology, Jason Lee, scientist and Oxford lecturer, and Yura Isabel Hwang, SCET alumna and venture capitalist.

In addition to the SCET presenters, the delegation included Jay Choi, SCET and Berkeley Engineering alumnus who helped organize the delegation, University of Southern California Lecturer Mike Lee, and SCET Chief Marketing Officer, Keith McAleer. 

SCET leaders have been speaking at the conference every year since 2018. The conference organizer, Woosuk (Ken) Choi collaborated with Gigi Wang to bring Berkeley faculty and students to the conference with the hope that they will network and inspire a global perspective for the Korean students in attendance to help broaden their mindset and prepare them for global engagement in business, innovation and leadership.

From left to right: Woosuk (Ken) Choi, Director General of the Asian Leadership Conference; Gigi Wang, SCET faculty and industry fellow; and Riya Kumar, SCET student alumna and conference presenter

The full SCET track unfolded in the following way:

ASIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE May 23, 2024 – Entrepreneurship &  Innovation Track

9:00 a.m — “Business Model Innovation” – Gigi Wang, Industry Fellow & Faculty, UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology

11:00 a.m. — “Berkeley Bootcamp Startup Pitching” – Gigi Wang and Berkeley students Riya Kumar, Lucas Walsh, and Tanmay Vijaywargia

1:00 p.m. — “Preparing the Next Generation at US Universities” – Mike Lee, Senior Lecturer, Digital Entrepreneurship, School of Engineering, University of Southern California

2:00 p.m. — “Building a Winning Startup Team” – Ken Singer, Managing Director & Chief Learning Officer, UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology

3:00 p.m. — “Global Entrepreneurship Education” – Victoria Howell, Director, Professional Programs, UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology; Sylia Khacheni, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Doha for Science & Technology; Jason Lee, Entrepreneur & Lecturer, University of Oxford; and Yura Wang, Berkeley alumna and Head of IR, APAC, Factorial Funds 

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