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Exploring new ideas with AWS

The company’s Idea Launcher helps startups find success in a cut-throat market.

Entering the market as a startup company can either be easy or brutal, with many challenges both daunting and unknown standing between success and failure. With the tech market being hyper-competitive and the pace of innovations and technological advancements approaching break-neck speeds, attempting to gain market shares as a startup company will require entrepreneurs to think outside the box and look for new solutions to existing, unaddressed problems, or streamline services to help industries achieve peak efficiency.

In this regard, Amazon Web Services (AWS) released Idea Launcher for Startups, a programme that aims to extend the company’s services to aspiring tech entrepreneurs such as cloud-based computing to help them establish themselves and thrive in the tech industry.

AWS Idea Launcher in a nutshell

Idea Launcher, as a programme, aims to help startup tech entrepreneurs in discovering opportunities that help shape their ideas towards growth and provide them with the ability to maximise their network by connecting them with other founders and customers from the AWS Startups Programme.

Starting from ideation up to launch, the Idea Launcher spans over six months, empowering early-stage technology startups with the use of cloud adoption, product development, mentorship, and guidance.

Despite being a tech-focused programme, a programming language is not a prerequisite, but entrepreneurs under the programme are expected to be willing to learn about new technologies or have a partner with an IT background.

AWS introduced their Promotional Credits, wherein startups selected for the Idea Launcher can receive up to US$25,000 worth of AWS Promotional Credits. Aside from this, the selected startups can enjoy an exclusive pathway to the HKSTP Ideation Programme with HK$100,000 financial grants, providing much-needed support for entrepreneurs looking to have their companies become the next emerging titan.

Companies under the programme will receive startup guidance through 1-to-1 Office Hours with AWS Solutions Architects and business experts as well as access any training content on AWS Skill Builders to help entrepreneurs learn more about cloud business essentials, building SaaS products, and much more.

Entrepreneurs can also experience the Working Backwards approach towards product development first-hand with AWS, and potentially work towards getting into the HKSTP Incubation Programme.

The programme application is open and interested parties can submit their application up to 23:59 on the 20th of December 2022, followed by the application review period which will last until February 2023. Idea Launcher officially kicks off on March 2023 with the first milestone review from May to June 2023, and the final milestone review culminating on September 2023.

Milestones are expected to give AWS an idea of how the business has been performing through a midway review with a pitch video and report, and a prototype presentation along with pilot feedback.

Applicants are expected to strive towards producing the best outputs, continuously building and improving their idea and prototypes. In any case, failure to reach the milestones can result in losing programme grants and benefits.

Getting into the Idea Launcher

As Idea Launcher is an ideation program for early stage startups, the application criteria isn’t difficult. To be able to join the AWS programme, applicants can apply if you are an HKID holder aged 18 or above, or an incorporated company as a limited business in Hong Kong for less than 2 years prior to the application start date, or simply be a team looking to earn startup support . Applicants cannot be under any other ideation or incubation under HKSTP or Cyberport (except for university startup programmes).

Solo applicants have the option of applying as a team and incorporating a limited company in Hong Kong once approved by the admission panel.

Those who want to join the programme must submit a company pitch deck for evaluation, which the panellists will assess. Pitch decks must be uploaded in PDF format to a shareable link that has to be attached to the application form.

Entrepreneurs who are looking to be included must illustrate their business idea and describe existing pain points, addressable market size, solution flow, monetisation angle, amongst other things.

Applicants that make it to the shortlist are subject to a final review and an interview, being notified of their official acceptance no later than 28 February 2023.

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