Vice Chairwoman, The Standing Committee of the 11th National People's
Chairwoman, Entrepreneurship Foundation for Graduates
At the National Science and Technology Conference in early 2006, Chinese
President Hu Jintao made a solemn statement to the world: "China will be built
into an innovative nation in about fifteen years." This grand vision, which
greatly inspired the country's intellectuals and young people, also propelled
the August 2006 establishment of the Entrepreneurship Foundation for Graduates
EFG's mission: encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship to improve the
entrepreneurial environment; promoting commercialization of scientific and
technological breakthroughs to help accelerate education reform; and inspiring
innovative minds to cultivate creative and entrepreneurial talents.
EFG is aiding graduates' entrepreneurial practices and working for change
that will create a favorable entrepreneurial environment in China. And the
effort seems to be working. In just the two years since EFG's founding,
universities have taken the lead, college students have enthusiastically played
an active role, faculties have given full support, and the initiative has gained
widespread public favor.
Under China's existing system, promoting graduate entrepreneurship through
innovation presents an enormous challenge. Yet, the EFG has accumulated
management and service experience by diligently exploring new approaches and
practices, and its leaders have been deeply moved and compelled forward by the
courage, wisdom, and vigor of the young.
Steps Toward A Culture Shift
Along the way, those of us involved with EFG have realized that innovation
can more quickly gain a foothold in an entrepreneurship-friendly and
failure-tolerating culture. We are working to build an environment in which the
whole of society understands, encourages, guides, and supports entrepreneurship.
A major step toward this goal was the EFG-sponsored "Shanghai
Entrepreneurship Week—Innovative Shanghai, Entrepreneurial Campus," held
November 6–11, 2007, and inspired by successful entrepreneurship week events in
the United States and the United Kingdom. During the week, Shanghai university
students participated in events that included an opening ceremony, an
"Entrepreneurship and the Future" summit, entrepreneurship-themed forums
co-sponsored by ten universities, and an entrepreneurial idea contest, in which
students from fifty-six higher education institutions participated.
This inaugural event acted as a stimulant that unleashed entrepreneurial
enthusiasm. Nearly 10,000 students took part in the on-site entrepreneurship
forums and about 20,000 joined the entrepreneurial idea contest through the
Internet. In all, more than 100,000 students learned about and supported
Entrepreneurship Week through the Internet, television, and newspapers.
Ultimately, Entrepreneurship Week became a platform for promoting a societal
culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. It precipitated the EFG and the
Global Entrepreneurship Week planning team signing the agreement for EFG to host
Global Entrepreneurship Week/China, an initiative that is bound
to embrace creative ideas and nurture entrepreneurship among the young.
Accordingly, the EFG finds its role in this global effort.
Tang Min, Deputy Secretary-general of the China Reform and Development
Foundation, has stated that university students need entrepreneurial education,
culture, and an environment that will plant entrepreneurship in their minds and
foster it with good "soil." As a former university professor with first-hand
experience of students' high entrepreneurial aspirations and longing for
innovation, I quite agree with him. Entrepreneurial leaders are encouraging
Chinese society to be more tolerant, giving students an opportunity to unlock
their passion and tap into their full potential. EFG is at the forefront,
bridging the gap for those who are dedicated to entrepreneurial endeavors and
helping graduates make their own contributions to building an innovative