Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Professor Dechang Xu, Head of Research and Graduate Studies Office and Associate Professor Paul Howe, Director of the International Innovation Hub were invited to the opening of the Plug and Play Technology Centre in Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai.
Dr Howe led a team of undergraduate and postgraduate students to the event as part of the student’s “effectual learning” outside the classroom.
Bo Du, a final year undergraduate student, commented that the experience was “an eye-opener and a great compliment to in-class teaching”.
“I am currently undertaking my final year project research into the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem with Professor Paul Howe and such an experience has been wonderful and very useful indeed. We had a fantastic time,” he said.
Plug and Play is a leading tech startup accelerator with over 300 startups, 170 investors and a network of university and corporate partners. Since opening its doors in 2006, Plug and Play has helped the entrepreneur community raise over US$1 billion in funding, and has been the home to over 1,000 companies, several of which, including Dropbox, PayPal and Lending Club are worth over US$1 billion. It has since expanded its international reach to 18 countries across five continents.
Distinguished guests at the launch events included government leaders from Hangzhou, SIP and Shanghai, CEOs and VPs of Alibaba, Rahim Amidi, President of the Amidi Group, John McAlister, Mayor of Mountain View California, home of Silicon Valley, Kim Kyu, Deputy Mayor of Busan, Korea, and Peter Davison, first angel investor in PayPal, which currently has a market capitalisation of US$45 billion.
At the Suzhou launch, President Xi gave a speech detailing XJTLU’s ideas on innovation and entrepreneurship, saying that innovation and entrepreneurship are multinational, cross-border disciplines, and that knowledge must be learnt and utilised globally. He also iterated the need for incremental versus disruptive innovation, stating that at times innovation and entrepreneurship are a “creative synthesis” that is planned and logical, whilst at others they random, stochastic, and haphazard. The University’s Innovation Platform addresses both of these needs.
Led by Dr Howe, XJTLU and Plug and Play formed a close relationship even before the launches in Suzhou and Shanghai. Current collaborations include joint research into the Chinese entrepreneurial environment including cross-border developments for startups, entrepreneurial behaviour, and female entrepreneurship differentiators.
Plug and Play has an active internship programme with XJTLU, recruiting final year students to conduct research and to gain work experience. The two have also agreed to co-host startup competitions and acceleration programmes and that the two parties would share resources in innovative projects with the International Innovation Hub and International Technology Transfer Center. XJTLU and Plug and Play will also share advisor and student community resources.