YouthSpark Alumni Visits Microsoft Singapore

This post was written by Hasna Tsaniya Rananti, known as ‘Nia’, who visited Singapore in April 2013. Nia graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication Design from Bandung Institute of Technology and is one of the co-founders of Nightspade, a mobile game development studio in Indonesia. The Microsoft YouthSpark Alumni member aims to contribute to the development of Indonesia’s creative industries by sharing her entrepreneurial perspectives through social networking. Nia was a winner in the mobile game category in the Indonesia Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Awards in 2011.

In April 2013, as a co-founder of Nightspade, I had the opportunity to go to Singapore to participate in Startup Asia, an event organised by Tech in Asia. At this event, we focused on expanding our network by having a booth in the game developers area. Other organisations and developers from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia also had booths at this event.

Nightspade and fellow game developers at Startup Asia Singapore.

In addition to participating at Startup Asia, I was invited by the Microsoft Asia Citizenship team to meet with them, so upon arrival in Singapore, I immediately headed to Microsoft's office to have lunch with Astrid Tuminez (Regional Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs for Microsoft in Southeast Asia), Audri Tan (Communication Outreach Specialist), Gillian Pearl (Technology for Nonprofits Lead) and Lizzie Woolnough (National Plans and Executive Communications Manager). We talked about many things, shared stories, and discussed about investors, startups, taxes and women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.

From left to right. Gillian, Lizzie, Nia, Astrid, and Audri

After lunch, I was invited to visit the Microsoft Technology Centre. The Microsoft Office is very sophisticated, and also comfortable as a workplace.

The next day, I was invited to meet Alvaro Celis (Vice President for Microsoft Asia Pacific). At first, when I was told that I was going to meet Mr. Alvaro, I felt tense. I was welcomed at his minimalistic and comfortable workspace. Mr. Alvaro turned out to be very friendly. We had a pretty relaxed discussion and I stopped feeling nervous. Accompanied by Audri, we discussed several topics that were not far away from the gaming industry and startups in Southeast Asia.

I also explained the IT community growth in Indonesia, including the general IT community, and the one for women, such as IDgeekgirls (Indonesia Geek Girls), which is a sister chapter of the SG Geek Girls (Singapore Geek Girls) and Philippines Geek Girls (PGG). Alvaro and Audri also shared some tips and tricks on building business and relationships for a startup like Nightspade. Then I told them that Nightspade is incorporated in their programmes (YouthSpark and BizSpark). By joining these programmes, Nightspade had the chance to get involved in a series of events on entrepreneurship organised by the Ministry of Cooperatives, SMEs and Microsoft Indonesia.

The first event was the National Entrepreneurship Movement or Gerakan Kewirausahaan Nasional (GKN), which was the highlight of a series of entrepreneurial competitions held to promote the entrepreneurial spirit among young people in Indonesia.

At that event, the Nightspade  team represented young entrepreneurs working in the field of IT, a group especially small in the development of mobile games. Nightspade also attended the event titled ‘Innovate for Good’, which aims to motivate students and high school students to understand the opportunities for youth entrepreneurship.

Microsoft and Nightspade in Innovate for Good Event at SMESCO Indonesia Company

Nightspade was given the opportunity to be one of the panellists. We talked about the team's past journey, from how we struggled with both happiness and difficulties as students to the Imagine Cup competition, from joining the YouthSpark and BizSpark programmes, until finally being able to release a game on the Windows Store titled ‘Stack The Stuff’.

We are very happy and proud of our relationship with Microsoft.

At the Summit, Senior Director of Microsoft Citizenship Akhtar Badshah highlighted the need for youth entrepreneurs to move "from passion to compassion" — from something personal to something communal.

At the present time, many young startups shout about their passion, like us. However, can the passion that we have be useful to the communities around us? That is what we need to consider. I hope this message can inspire startups and young entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses. Do not forget about compassion and the things we can do for the people around us.

Thanks, Microsoft, this journey has meant a lot for our team. 

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