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Matchmaking Madness: Speed-Mentoring at the BIG Dean's Cup Bootcamp!

The Mentors for the Speed-Mentoring at the BIG Dean's Cup Bootcamp

Last night, I had the privilege of witnessing the future of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong at the HKBU School of Business' Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre. The occasion? The BIG Dean's Cup Bootcamp, where mentors like myself came together to support and guide the next generation of problem solvers and innovators.

Jo Lodder Mentor - Speed-Mentoring at the BIG Dean's Cup Bootcamp

As a mentor, my role was to facilitate discussions and provide insights to help young entrepreneurs refine their business ideas. In a fast-paced setting akin to speed dating, 34 student teams had the chance to connect with mentors, brainstorm solutions, and seek advice before moving on to the next mentor. It was exhilarating to see the energy in the room as each team presented their diverse business concepts, ranging from environmental initiatives to cutting-edge technology solutions.

Young Entrepreneurs with mentor Jo Lodder

What struck me the most was the passion these students had for making a positive impact on the world. Many of their ideas incorporated AI and technology, highlighting the importance of staying ahead in this rapidly evolving landscape. It's clear that initiatives like the BIG Dean's Cup are instrumental in providing real-world learning experiences and mentorship opportunities that traditional schooling often lacks.

Now, here comes the personal touch. I've picked the entrepreneurs that I would like to mentor. But, as the anticipation builds, I find myself feeling unexpectedly nervous. Will any of them come back and choose me? It's a feeling akin to the unknowns of speed dating, a mix of excitement and apprehension.

As we look forward to the semi-finals on May 16th, I am confident that these talented student teams, armed with the guidance of their mentors, are poised to make a significant impact in the entrepreneurial sphere. Regardless of the outcome, their journey of self-discovery and innovation is just beginning.

The BIG Dean's Cup Bootcamp serves as a testament to the power of mentorship in igniting innovation and showcasing the boundless potential of young minds. Together, let's continue to foster an environment where innovation thrives, businesses flourish, and dreams take flight. Here's to the magic of mentorship, lighting the path to success for generations to come.


Jo Lodder is a trail runner, business leader, and philanthropist. He's the co-founder of JNW Asia, a property marketing company based in Hong Kong focused on Niseko projects, and a master agent of SnowDog, a hospitality brand. He also became the first person in history to complete the HK5Trails in Hong Kong with the Run for Freedom challenge to raise money for charity.

With a passion for helping others and a drive for success, Jo inspires through his love of adventure and entrepreneurship.

Jo Lodder Quote of the day:

"If all I achieve in life is that I have given more than I have taken then I will have succeeded"

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