During our skype call at the beginning of October, Anna Ratala, Head of Slush Singapore, breathes out a sigh of relief:” I’m so pleased. The first-ever Slush in Singapore that was arranged under a really tight schedule is over, and we’ve received lots of positive feedback,” Ratala comments.
In 2015, Slush attracted 15,000 visitors from a hundred different countries to Messukeskus convention center in Helsinki. Last year, Slush expanded activities to China and Japan, with Tokyo, Shanghai, and Singapore added to the list this year. Aalto EE is one of the partners of Slush in Singapore.
The first year was like a baptism in fire; this is where it all begins.”
Anna Ratala has lived in Singapore for just over five years, where her company PineCone helps tech companies enter the Southeast Asian market. She is also an Aalto EMBA alumnus, having graduated last year.
Singapore’s first Slush was a success, and Ratala will also be leading its way in the future. “The first year was like a baptism in fire; this is where it all begins.”
Participants in the event in Singapore included 215 startups, 160 investors, and 60 media representatives. In addition to Ratala and her team, 200 volunteers made it all happen. “I received a huge amount of support from Aalto EE’s Anu Sirkiä and the team; they were always ready to help, and spread the word. This type of support is so important when arranging a completely new type of event, at times wondering how it all will work out,” Ratala explains. It was in fact Anu Sirkiä from Aalto EE who had introduced Ratala to Finland’s Slush team and local partner in the first place.
The importance of leaping into interesting ventures and trusting oneself are something I also managed to prove to myself.”
Recently celebrating its 50th year of independence, Singapore has been constructed in a state-led manner. However, things have begun to change in the authoritarian society. According to Ratala, people in Singapore have come to realize that a top-down principle alone is not enough, but individuals also need to take initiative and be critical. “When you chat with students, they say that ideas arising on grass root level is how it should be. However, initially they find it hard to believe you can do things without the government.”
Slush was organized in collaboration with Singapore’s National Research Foundation. “Singapore has an enthusiastic startup scene, but extra boost is still needed to foster initiative and direct encounters, rather than waiting for some major authority to dictate how to proceed. Slush serves as an excellent platform for this.”
For Ratala, heading Slush serves as a good reminder to seize new opportunities in business life, even if daunting at first. “The schedule was tight, and decisions needed to be made fast. Looking back, I realize how wonderful it was that I didn’t give into fear. The importance of leaping into interesting ventures and trusting oneself are something I also managed to prove to myself.”
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