More than 80 venture capital institutions and incubators took part in the largest entrepreneurship and innovation event to date at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.
The Maker Carnival took place between Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November and showcased some of China’s best entrepreneurial ideas and companies to an audience of more than 500 staff, students and distinguished guests.
A ‘maker’ refers to someone who is trying to turn their interests and hobbies into a business reality. Entrepreneurial endeavours such as this are a becoming a major driving force for economic development in China, while XJTLU is committed to building entrepreneurship into its educational experience. The University is planning to establish an innovation investment fund to support student and staff in product and business development, which will be a key part of the work of the University’s International Innovation Hub, which was officially launched at the event.
XJTLU Executive President Professor Youmin Xi was joined at the event by other special guests including Peter Davison, an early investor in PayPal, and founder of global innovation platform Plug and Play Chen Zhao.
Speaking at the event, Professor Xi shared his own entrepreneurial experiences and emphasised that entrepreneurship means creating value. He said makers should have maverick personalities and pointed out that operating a startup is not an easy task. He added that the International Innovation Hub would allow innovative XJTLU students to exchange ideas, and provide them with an entrepreneurial environment in which to learn how to cooperate.
In an interview after the event, Professor Xi remarked that it was not necessary for everyone to be an entrepreneur, but that everyone should have an entrepreneurial spirit. He said that students should “not be afraid of not being understood” and encouraged them to make full use of the resources available at XJTLU.
Other speakers at the event included Chen Zhao, who presented on the differences between China and America’s business environments, and Hui Lu, from Suzhou Kingfy Venture Capital Co., Ltd, who talked about the possible problems faced by entrepreneurs despite the positive environment in China today.
Tianxiang Deng, one of the founders of Dianshi Maker Club that sponsored and organised the event, said that entrepreneurs requires not only passion but also practice and that events like this are intended to help entrepreneurs succeed: “The event aimed to spread the concept of mutual help, and having a down-to-earth attitude and perseverance, so that potential entrepreneurs can make rational choices and judgements,” he said.
First year XJTLU student Hui Lin was in the audience at the event. She said it changed her understanding of entrepreneurship and taught her about what having an enterprising spirit means, as well as the challenges entrepreneurs face. She added that entrepreneurship was increasingly attractive to her because she liked being creative and that although she is not ready in her first year to take opportunities she would be able to prepare for the future by accessing resources from now on.
The event was sponsored by Dianshi Maker Club and XJTLU, and co-sponsored by Meeting Exhibition, Zhongguancun Business District, Hudongba, Supply Chain Technology, and Shierdian Alliance.
Photographs: Yuwen Xu