Konichiwa! Startuptravels meet-up in Kyoto

The Startuptravels team talked to Basiel Van Cauwenberge from Ghent in Belgium. Basiel told us that he is currently traveling and are planning to meet some Startuptravellers on his trip. We were interested and therefore took a chat with Basiel.

Startuptravels meet-up in Kyoto

Hi Basiel. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your trip! I would love to hear some more about where you currently are traveling?

Of course, I would love to tell about my trip. I am currently in Kyoto, Japan and will stay here in Japan a bit more. From here I will travel for two weeks in Vietnam, then two weeks in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong I am participating in an entrepreneurial school, which I am really looking forward to. After that I will travel to Taiwan, also for two weeks, and lastly I will end my travels in South Korea. I already love traveling around here in Asia, so depending on the situation; I might be traveling another month in China after South Korea.

How come you have taken time off to do this longer trip and why did you choose to go all the way from Belgium to Asia?

The main reasons for why I have decided to take a four months trip in Asia is to get a clear head and to start thinking about my future goals and plans. I think getting away and traveling is the best way to do so. Also, I would love to improve my creativity. I believe that by traveling alone in a very unfamiliar place as Asia is for me, I will be forced to get out of my comfort zone and develop a lot of the skills that will hopefully shape me as an entrepreneur and improve some of the skills that I believe is very important to have as an entrepreneur. Some of the skills I’d love to improve on throughout my trip are for instance creativity, persistence when something bad occurs, adaption to changes, social skills and even negotiation skills. The major incentive for my travel to Asia is forcing myself to go to an unfamiliar place, but also because I believe this is where the future is happening. Already now I can feel a form of buzz and prosperity that I have never encountered before – it is really amazing!

So how is this trip different from some of the other trips you have had?

The main difference is definitely that this is a solo trip, which I am not used to, and I do believe that this will develop myself in the best way. Previous trips were for more leisure purposes, now I try to “work” with myself by reading a lot, participating in this entrepreneurship school in Hong Kong, which I am really looking forward to, and in general by talking to as many entrepreneurial people as possible and asking for feedback on some of my entrepreneurial ideas.Therefore, if someone in the area that I am traveling to would like to meet, it would be a pleasure meeting him or her! Therefore, if someone in the area that I am traveling to would like to meet, it would be a pleasure meeting him or her!

Have you managed to meet any Startuptravellers yet?

Yes, I have. I met with Meri Tanaka in Kyoto on the 17th of November. It was great meeting her! I got to learn about what she had done earlier, which was really interesting. Several years ago she had started an online website and community around knitting patterns. Because she got more fans and customers, she recently started a new and larger company within the same sphere with a cofounder. Now she has extended her business by selling yarn and knitting gear. I learned a lot from the meeting with Meri. First off, she told me about the importance of finding a complementary cofounder who is positive and forward going. Her stories really made an impact on me. Secondly, she also told me a bit about her experience with partnerships and distribution. I realized that having a helping hand abroad is crucial when exporting. However, due to the latest movements in the Yen currency, she had painfully learned that it is not just exporting that is tough when being an entrepreneur. Importing has now become really expensive for her due to the currency movements. She advised me that preparation and having other suppliers is key in order to sustain her business. Therefore, I see that many people could benefit from using a platform like Startuptravels to create relationships in new locations that they later might be exporting to. Also in order to meet new potential suppliers, that can make their supply chain more ready for changes. I am at least happy to now know somebody in Japan.

I’m glad to hear about your meet-up and how you learned a bunch of stuff from it! So how has Startuptravels worked for you so far?

I honestly think that Startuptravels is the best platform available to support traveling while learning. Due to this platform, I was able to meet an interesting female entrepreneur from Kyoto. Her experiences in selling knitting wear and Yarn, and what this could teach me about being an entrepreneur, was very interesting. Her advice about finding a good co-founder and how important it is to have a good supply chain in order to import and export (in the best and cheapest way possible) was a great learning for me! For both of us, it was our first meet-up and we both talked very positively about the platform. We both support it a lot, and will definitely keep spreading the word after having met.

I will for the rest of my trip and future trips definitely use Startuptravels again!


Written by Rasmus Frandsen

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