A team of international consultants from MTI engaged with Thimphu Tech-Park, advising and sharing best practices on start-up eco-systems in frontier and emerging markets. The session held last week was an interactive and thought-provoking one that addressed a diverse range of strategic issues relating to start-ups. In the process, MTI shared their hands-on consulting experience across diverse Asian markets.
Thimphu TechPark (TTP) is the flagship IT development of Bhutan, a known for its strong environmental conservation policies and the unique development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. It is the country’s first IT Park, promoted by the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, Ministry of Information and Communications of the Royal Government of Bhutan, supported by the World Bank and developed jointly by Assetz Property Group of Singapore and Druk Holdings and Investments, the commercial arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Sharing some key regional learnings, the MTI advised young entrepreneurs, “Pick your domain based on real ‘pain points’ in the demand or supply chain – not technology looking for a problem. Get the commercial business model right up front, i.e. “how will you make money?”, instead of just hoping for an inflated valuation to flog it. Fulfilment is what the end user will pay for – technology is only an enabler.”
According to MTI Consulting, start-ups, like any other business, have two ways of earning a living: One is getting the customer to pay for the value the company creates, the other is by grabbing market share from another business by doing it better. There is also a third way, which is to whip up so much hype, create great valuations (despite fundamentally loss-making business models) and dumping it on to someone else. This can go on for as long as there are ‘take-ups’ for such start-ups, said MTI.
MTI Consulting has worked on projects in over 40 countries, including frontier markets such as Algeria, Bhutan Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Jordon, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Maldives, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Syria.
Photo: The teams from Thimphu Tech-Park and MTI Consulting, along with the CEOs of the two organisations