At Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation Zone in Suzhou, the genes of entrepreneurship and innovation are deeply embedded in students from China and other countries. On the evening of April 4, the eve of the Qingming Festival, participants gathered to attend the new edition of the Startup Kafe despite the spring cold.
The event, which aims at encouraging students to develop their entrepreneurial thinking and pitch their business ideas, was conducted at SKEMA Business School’s Suzhou campus. The entire entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of Suzhou, comprising international students, alumni, teachers, potential investors/partners, government departments, successful entrepreneurs, media, and incubators of Suzhou International Science and Technology Park, actively participated in the event.
Innovative student projects
Based on the ‘pain points’ observed during their long journey, Alexandre Thueux, a student from SKEMA’s MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and his classmate put forward an idea of a travel music headrest. Théo Rouilly, an M1 student, pitched his idea about a new model of mobile phone charging in consumer spaces and trying to introduce chargers made in China into Europe.
Another M1 student Jia-yi Miao shared her concept on “Sharing Beauty, Building the Future.” Her project aims at solving the dilemma faced by women regarding the difficulty of choosing a suitable dress and over-shopping. Lei Yu, a student from Southeast University, presented a service and social platform for foreigners in China. Zenna, a BBA student from Morocco, put forward the idea of organizing and optimizing large-scale conference activities. There was also a project related to the education sector by M1 student Soyfane who proposed a new model of extracurricular mathematics tutoring for primary and secondary school students!
Prof. Hua Lin, academic dean of SKEMA China, pointed out: “Unlike ordinary entrepreneurs, college students’ motivation for entrepreneurship often comes from observation or is based on an occasional need. Thus, it is often immature. If not guided carefully, it could end up being merely a flash of ephemeral inspiration. Startup Kafe provides them with an opportunity to tap into their inspiration and practice pitching their idea. SKEMA conducts Startup Kafe events every year and invites students with entrepreneurial ideas to communicate with experts and entrepreneurs, encouraging them to boldly explore opportunities.”
New course launched
Another highlight of the event was the launch of the entrepreneurship and innovation shared course for the Spring 2019 session, announced by Yong Yang from Dushu Lake Entrepreneurship University.
The new course, led by Dushu Lake Entrepreneurship University, is co-sponsored and delivered by SKEMA and Xi’an Jiaotong University, Suzhou Academy. All the professors are industry experts and the teaching methodology is rich and varied. Besides theoretical teaching, classroom practice and visits to prominent enterprises, there are also award-winning competitions for the presented projects. Following previous successful editions, new innovations have been made to the course in both form and content in 2019. The concept of “learning from one’s heart and learning from both inside and outside” has been put forward, aimed at building the comprehensive soft power of entrepreneurs.
The event initially planned for one hour, had to be extended to two hours due to popular demand. After the event, many participants did not want to leave and continued to communicate and socialize until late at night, while enjoying Chinese and Western cuisine.