Alumni start camp to fos­ter busi­ness skills among youth

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By OUYANG SHIJIA

China is build­ing a na­tional en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion “ecosys­tem” to cul­ti­vate com­pet­i­tive star­tups and more in­no­va­tive en­trepreneurs, said Wang Jian, founder and CEO of the En­tre­pre­neur’s Train­ing Camp at Pek­ing Univer­sity.

“The ecosys­tem will fos­ter in­no­va­tion and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents, grad­u­ates and young pro­fes­sion­als to start their own busi­nesses,” Wang said.

Be­fore Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang laid out his plans for a mass en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion pro­gram in 2014, Wang founded the camp in 2012 and vowed to cre­ate a rich en­tre­pre­neur­ial at­mos­phere on and off cam­pus.

Run by the Pek­ing Univer­sity’s alumni as­so­ci­a­tion, the train­ing camp of­fers hand­son en­trepreneur­ship pro­grams, in­clud­ing tu­to­ri­als, men­tor­ing with fig­ures from es­tab­lished busi­nesses in China, and, in some cases, ac­cess to fund­ing.

“Last year we helped around 11,400 in­di­vid­u­als,’’ saidWang.

Start­ing a busi­ness can be dif­fi­cult for stu­dents, as many lack ex­pe­ri­ence, net­works and fund­ing, ac­cord­ing to Liu Yang, founder of Mars Club, a Bei­jing-based ed­u­ca­tion startup, and a camp alum­nus.

“The camp helped me a lot,’’ said Liu. “I gained knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence from prom­i­nent pro­fes­sion­als, whomadeit eas­ier forme to man­age our team and also reach for more re­sources.”

China’s push to boost en­trepreneurism has added “vi­tal­ity into our na­tion’s econ­omy,” said Wang. “With the sup­port of the gov­ern­ment, more ac­tions are on the way to elim­i­nate bar­ri­ers to en­trepreneur­ship.”

Ac­cord­ing to Wang, mass en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion can act as an en­gine to drive eco­nomic growth and in­te­grate the pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of China’s es­tab­lished in­dus­tries with new ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies of­fered by star­tups.

The lat­est KPMG anal­y­sis shows China had ven­ture cap­i­tal in­vest­ments of $31 bil­lion in 2016, up 19 per­cent year-on-year. How­ever, deal vol­umes de­clined 42 per­cent to 300 from 513 in 2015, it said.

“This year will be bet­ter,’’ Wang said. “The more ra­tio­nal the en­trepreneurs are, the more money in­vestors dare to pour into the mar­ket.’’

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