Global Startup Weekend Women

    Friday, February 9 - 11, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Global Startup Weekend Women

Friday, February 9 - 11, 2018

Friday, February 9 - 11, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

WeWork Tower 535
535 Jaffe Road
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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A weekend of empowering women entrepreneurs around the globe!

This is a call for you to get your idea off the ground surrounded by like-minded women. Global Startup Weekend women is your chance to collaborate and get involved with a group of motivated individuals who are hell-bent on disrupting their industry of choice. The event is aimed at female participants, however, men are welcome to participate.

What is a Startup Weekend?
Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating. This global grassroots movement of active and empowered community leaders and entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Participants with varying specialities come together to share ideas, form teams and launch startups from the bottom up.

What’s different about this event?
This Startup Weekend is designed to engage more female entrepreneurs and provide them with the necessary resources for long-term success. The weekend will be a focused on empowering women within our community to lend their voice to innovation. It will be one of over 200 Women's Startup Weekends happening around the globe, and the winners have an opportunities to be featured by Techstars Global Startup Weekend.

The innovation ecosystem has never been more exciting than it is right now.
Yet, women still don't fill enough important roles in tech. In Asia, only 31% of management roles are held by women. As tech lovers, women and entrepreneurs, it is our responsibility to grow female representation, in Hong Kong and around the world.

While we understand it takes a community of creative thinkers to help build an idea from concept through to execution, this event will be supporting women pitches only. In doing so, we ensure women are able to hone their creative and entrepreneurial talent in a safe environment that inspires risk-taking and innovation with the help of the broader community of men and women ready to share their expertise to champion change and fuel new ideas. 

How does it work?
The concept is simple: women pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas followed by a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders providing another opportunity for critical feedback before a final winning team is chosen.

Why should I participate?
Whether entrepreneurs find co-founders, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside yout usual 9-to-5 job, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. 

Don't wait another minute, buy your ticket today! 

Still have questions, feel free to reach to Belinda Esterhammer at

Artwork Disclaimer: The Global Startup Weekend Women Hong Kong: Women Logo, is a derivative of "Startup Weekend Women's Edition Palermo 2016" by Luisa Di Martino, used under CC BY. "Startup Weekend Women's Edition Palermo 2016" is licensed under CC BY by Luisa Di Martino.

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Friday February 9th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday February 10th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday February 11th

9:00 am
Morning yoga (optional, bring your own mats)

9:30 am
Everybody arrives, simple breakfast and coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Jo Hayes
Director, Pipeline Initiatives - The Women Foundation

As Director of Pipeline Initiatives at The Women's Foundation, I oversee programmes and initiatives including: TWF’s signature Mentoring Programme for Women Leaders, Leading Women in Futurism and Secrets to Success Speaker Series, 30% Club / Women on Boards related initiatives, Male Allies, HR Best Practice Resources.

Lale Kesebi
Chief Communications Officer & Head of Strategic Engagement - Li & Fung Limited

I'm passionate about influencing and inspiring change in organizations built by design around strategy developed for, and by, humans. Transforming businesses into purpose-led organizations by focusing on leaders and culture, innovation, digital transformation and strategic change is what I do.  I also love advising founder entrepreneurs, social innovators and emerging leaders leading disruption of incumbents.

Lori Granito
Founder, Kitchen Sync

Lori Granito is the founder of Kitchen Sync, Hong Kong’s first culinary incubator for start up food entrepreneurs. She is also the owner of Go Gourmet Catering and the award winning Magnolia private kitchen. She is the co-founder of Little Burro, a growing chain of San Francisco Mission style burrito restaurants. Lori was previously named Entrepreneur of the Year by Skal Hong Kong, an organization comprised of hotel GM’s and top executives from the hospitality and travel industry in Hong Kong. She is a sought after speaker and has recently done talks for Google, several Rotary Clubs and TedX. She is a former chairwoman of the Hong Kong Women Business Owner’s Association and Former Vice Chair of the Soho Association. 

Michela Bardotti
Division Manager Men's Department - Cortefiel Commercial S.A.

A highly experienced professional who in the past twenty-three years in Asia specialised in Outsourcing and Production of Garment, Fashion Accessory, Home Textile, Household, Garment retailing and general textile international business. Since 2008 working with Grupo Cortefiel, one of the top 10 retail chain stores in Europe, with an impressive exposure at international level with its 2000 stores around the world. Michela is leading a team in the Sourcing and Productions Depratment in Hong Kong for all the Men’s wear (Woven, Knits & Fashion Accessories) of all different brands of Grupo Cortefiel, from the casual/denim wear (Springfield) to the formal (Cortefiel) and top brand (Pedro del Hierro & Milano, handling a turnover of more than 200 million Euro/year and a volume of more than 30 million pcs garment exported all over the world.

Sunny Kwon
APAC Marketing Manager - L’Oréal

Sunny Kwon is APAC Marketing Manager at L’Oréal. Graduate at Berkley’s University in Mass Communication and Media, Sunny has more than 15 years’ experience in FMGC where she covered commercial roles as much as marketing and media roles; a Korean by birth, she lived in many Asian countries with open mind while embracing different cultures.

Coaches and Mentors

Anne Peirson-Smith
Assistant Professor - City University of Hong Kong

Anne Peirson-Smith is an Assistant Professor at City University of Hong Kong with an industry background in public relations and the creative industries. She teaches and researches fashion studies, public relations, advertising, popular culture and the creative industries. She is the co-author of Public Relations in Asia Pacific: Communicating Effectively Across Cultures (John Wiley, 2010); an associate editor of the Journal of Fashion, Style and Popular Culture (Intellect Books) and is co-editor of Global Fashion Brands: Style, Luxury & History(Intellect Books, 2014) and Transglobal Fashion Narratives: Clothing Communication, Style Statements and Brand Storytelling (Intellect Books: forthcoming May 2018). She also co-founded the Fashion Salon as a discussion and networking platform for the fashion industry in 2014.

Jessica Wenzell Rikansrund
Co-Founder and Head of Global Marketing and Business Development - Make Technology Inc.

Jessica has spent more than 13 years in the advertising and marketing industry, working at some of the most prominent media companies. A highly respected and versatile sales leader, with expertise at the intersection of Marketing and Technology, her career has taken her from NYC, Manila, Washington DC, and now her current stomping ground: Hong Kong. She is currently the Head of Global Marketing & Business Development at Make, a technology company helping brands drive innovation and creativity through powerful digital platform and emerging technologies.

Janae Hagen
Digital and Loyalty Manager - Starbucks Asia Pacific

During weekdays, I’m focused on developing loyalty programs, mobile apps and personalized marketing strategies for Starbucks markets across Asia. I’m fascinated by exploring the new retail environment, in which brick and mortar shops are building their digital experiences while online companies are finding their footprint offline. On the weekends, you can find me teaching a yoga class with HK Outdoor Yoga or exploring SE Asia.

Patti Hunt
Founder & Director - MAKE Studios

I am the co-founder of Make Studios, a design-led innovation company based in Hong Kong & Australia. Working with clients in the Asia Pacific region, MAKE uses Design Thinking, Customer Experience (CX) and Service Design to build new products, services and experiences. Prior to MAKE Studios, I co-founded regional UX company, On Off Group and was a senior consultant specialising in UX, CX & Service Design. I also co-founded Design Thinking Asia, a grass-roots community network with over 2500 members. In 2016, I founded and organised Hong Kong's first ever Service Design Conference to build awareness and showcase the regions best examples of design-driven innovation.

Sabrina Yang
Chief Operating Officer, NOSH

Hailing from the historical city of Xi’an, Sabrina Yang moved to Hong Kong over a decade ago and began her career as a Management Trainee at The Bank of East Asia. Her drive for continual self-improvement led to her involvement with Launchpilots, a millennial marketing startup, where she headed business development and operations. In 2017 Robin8 acquired Launchpilots. Currently, Sabrina is the COO of NOSH, an Alibaba-funded health and wellness food brand that encourages people to eat smarter through its O2O food concept and nutrition tracking technology. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys cooking, weightlifting and coaching people based on their MBTI personalities.

Jaclyn Tsui
Partner at Altitude Labs

Jaclyn is the Co-founder and Partner of Altitude Labs (, a digital transformation consulting firm with core expertise in empowering enterprises to evolve and develop innovation with greater business agility. To date, their client portfolio includes some of Asia and America's largest tech and gaming companies servicing over 100M+ users. Their portfolio company, Metisa (, a predictive intelligence and personalisation tool is now using data science to help the world's largest retail brands create repeatable uplift in sales.

Verlebie Chan
Program Manager, Microsoft Greater China Region

Verlebie is working as program manager in Microsoft. She currently is focused on driving code-with motions like hackathon and sandbox projects to accelete digital transformation with indsutrial key stakeholders. She is also responsible for nurturing programs with startups, academia and open-source communities with emerging technologies like AI, Data and MR. Organized 1000+attendees events as Tech Summit 2017 and Imagine Cup Hong Kong, she is very active and passionate to tech. She is acting as the lead for Women@MS now and planning another signature event #WomenThinkNext.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Global Startup Weekend Women team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Venue Sponsor

Global Sponsor


Bronze Sponsorship

Community Partner

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Hong Kong is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Belinda
  • Giovanna
  • Felix
  • Eric


Belinda Esterhammer
Founder and Director - Springboard Group

I am a tech enthusiast and digital marketing specialist with international experience. Prior starting Springboard Group - a marketing agency, I led high-profile digital marketing campaigns for EY’s female entrepreneur program in Hong Kong. I have worked in marketing and communications across many sectors including time at UNICEF in the Philippines, an Austrian consultancy focused on governmental institutions, a German B2B and B2G IT company and the biggest online job platform in Spain. I’m a passionate advocate for female mentoring and founded the NextGen Women Network, sit on the committee of TEDxTinHauWomen and I’m also a steering committee member of the Asian University for Women. 

Event Staff

Maggie Luk
Assistant Vice President, Citi

Maggie is a banker at Citi Corporate Banking. She is responsible for reviewing corporate loan returns, project management, and strategic planning for Corporate Bank in Asia Pacific. Prior to that, she was a relationship manager at Citi for more than 5 years, covering local corporates and public sector clients. She specializes in credit analysis and financial modeling.

She has strong passion in building the startup ecosystem and fostering collaboration between startups, investors, and corporates. She has been working as a facilitator and organizer at Techstars Startup Weekend. She works with various counterparties and sponsors to promote entrepreneurship. 

Jessica Wenzell Rikansrund
Co-Founder and Head of Global Marketing and Business Development - Make Technology Inc.

Jessica has spent more than 13 years in the advertising and marketing industry, working at some of the most prominent media companies. A highly respected and versatile sales leader, with expertise at the intersection of Marketing and Technology, her career has taken her from NYC, Manila, Washington DC, and now her current stomping ground: Hong Kong. She is currently the Head of Global Marketing & Business Development at Make, a technology company helping brands drive innovation and creativity through powerful digital platform and emerging technologies.

Lana Lyu
Business Development Manager - Otonomos

Lana is a Blockchain Technology aficionado with 5 years experience in legal and finance consulting. She left the corporate world and joined a FinTech Startup in Hong Kong. Passionate about startups/SME's and female entrepreneurship, Lana leads Russian Club Hong Kong as Vice President supporting Russian business and Russian community. Always being passionate about Women Business and Female Entrepreneurs, Lana started She’s got a business! project together with her Partner, Kristina Pavchenko from FFiles. The goal is to empower and educate female talents in leading their business, fight for female rights and inclusion.

Kif Hong

Divya Samtani
Head of Content and Partnerships - Mettā

Programmer, storyteller, and communications specialist, Divya has worked with some of the world’s largest financial and tech organizations, helping them to define their digital media and marketing strategies. She is currently Head of Content and Partnerships at Mettā where she focuses on the education and empowerment of the global innovation community.

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