A fresh start
Updated: 2016-04-01 08:28
By Hu Haiyan(China Daily Europe)
A career fair aiming to offer employment to new graduates is held by incubators in Zhongguancun Haidian Science Park. [Photo provided to China Daily]
'More than money'
Huang is a mentor for budding CEOs through the privately run Fujian Haixi Youth Startup Fund and China Youth Startup Fund. Yet many others are flying blind.
According to the Global Entrepreneur Monitor research, 87 percent of China's entrepreneurs actually have had no formal training in how to start and maintain a business. This is compared to 68 percent in places like Europe and the United States.
The report also adds that Chinese startups find it hard to secure loans from banks or other financial institutions. It found that 9 percent received financing from a bank, while roughly 58 percent sourced funds from relatives, whereas in developed nations it was about 23 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
"Compared with developed economies, the financial support and vocational education for entrepreneurs in China lags behind," says Gao Jian at Tsinghua University. "However, the situation is getting better, as governments are putting in more effort."
Yi Ran is the founder and CEO of Beijing Juhuiwan Interactive Technology, a company that provides corporate team-building solutions and is based in an innovation incubator in Zhongguancun, the so-called Silicon Valley of Beijing.
The 29-year-old says conditions have gotten better for startups in China in recent years, but the boom time now means competition for financing is fierce.
"Local governments do now provide financing platforms and have improved the infrastructure for startup companies like us, which helps a lot," he says. "But globally speaking, startups are getting stronger, and it's not easy to get funding.
"Startups need to seek multiple investors for seed money, and how to cooperate with these investors is also a challenge," he adds, revealing that he has refused capital in the past from investors whose management philosophy differs from his own.
Li Gang, the head of Beast Sports, received seed capital from Innovation Works and says he has benefited greatly from the input from investors.
"Most are experienced entrepreneurs who can share business management tips with us young people," he says shortly after his smart bike launch. "They help in other areas, too, such as with recruitment, manufacturing, finance and legal, and introducing potential business partners.
"It's about more than just money."