Seven young men and women from six different countries invent a dream career app … and follow their own dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs.

Crossing the Border from Idea to Venture
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Crossing the Border from Idea to Venture

In October 2013, seven young men and women—from Canada, France, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, and the U.S.—teamed up to test their skills at inventing an app solution for pressing problems in education. They competed against 540 young entrepreneurs from over 100 countries at the Global Startup Youth (GSY) competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 36 hours, the team had their app: an intelligent algorithm that compares users’ career plans with the trajectories of role models and offers recommendations for the future. They named their app “Milestone.” And they won the competition.

Since then, the winning GSY team has travelled to Silicon Valley*, met with other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and learned what it takes to move ideas to the next level.

Meet some of the winning GSY team members, learn about their experience, and hear what advice they have for aspiring entrepreneurs.


Maria Shunina, a Ph.D. student from Russia, is an engineering student in Norway

The GSY experience
"During three days, we had pitches, brainstorming, coding, and debating. Each team created a mobile app in order to solve a specific problem. The energetic atmosphere of GSY revived all my passions and gave me the chance to be active in different fields.  Moreover, I met so many passionate and inspiring people. No better way to learn and gather ideas and connections for my future projects!"

Getting help from mentors
"Mentoring helped me see a situation from another perspective, feel more confident and self-supporting. A mentor should be someone who can give you the right advice on the initial stage of your project. Moreover, by asking the right questions, mentors help you come to the right conclusions on your own. Mentorship motivated me to continue my professional development and growth."


Zakwan Buang, from Malaysia, is pursuing a degree in business administration

Following STEM
"I am interested in the possibilities and impact that technology can bring into our life. New technology emerges every time as people continuously think of bettering their quality and social life. As a business student, I couldn’t help but to be attracted to the opportunities related to science, technology, engineering, and math."

Experiencing Silicon Valley
"I am proud to have visited the heart of world entrepreneurship. The people are culturally diverse and many people are both smart and polite. I hope that one day I will be able to start my career in a fast-growing start-up company in Silicon Valley, and at the same time build by own company."


Mohd “Hafidz” Rohani, Malaysia, is an entrepreneur and founder of three companies: a local food manufacturer, a printer, and a travel agency

Advice to young entrepreneurs
"Business is not always glitter, glamour, and profit. There is always a challenge and great things to explore in this field. Get involved and be active and get going."

Learn more about GSY on IVInsights.

*Intellectual Ventures co-sponsored , with UpGlobal, the winning GSY team’s trip to Silicon Valley.
Photos courtesy Singularity University

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