Business / Economy

Startups reap the benefits of learning

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-06 07:27

At the other end of the price scale, meanwhile, is what is being offered by Qiniu Information Technology Co Ltd.

In March, the Shanghai-based company launched-free of charge-what is claimed to be the country's first training program specifically targeting college students with their own business ideas in the technology industry.

"Many young people now want to work as entrepreneurs," said Li Jing, its vice-president of marketing.

"Within this mobile and Internet technology era, many ideas can be turned into businesses-but the individuals themselves are a very unique group of entrepreneurs.

"They are creative but they face a growing challenge to turn their often brilliant ideas into products, due to their lack of work experience," said Li.

"We hope to help them shorten the process, by offering them basic cloud-computing services, coaching on how to set up a business, as well as other basic business-related skills."

There is no data available on how many such entrepreneurial training schools operate in China, but statistics from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce show that nearly 3 million people set up their own businesses for the first time in nine months from March 2014, after the country lowered the threshold for those who want to register a business.

This entrepreneurial surge in China is likely to spark a huge demand for courses, "because if done well, they can really benefit participants", said Justin Ren, associate professor at Boston University Questrom School of Business.

Ren said entrepreneurship used to be thought of as random and chaotic, and something that could just not be taught.

"Now we are realizing that if you take a disciplined approach toward entrepreneurship, it can be taught very successfully."

He said many startups fail early on, not because they do not have a good product or service, but because they run out of cash, trying to grow too fast.

He insisted a good course in the basics of business can teach startups how to scale up, when to spend money, and when to build capital.

Alibaba's Jack Ma likes to compare entrepreneurs to scientists.

"They are people with a certain gift," he told his audience at the opening ceremony for Hupan College in late March.

"But once these gifted people are found, time and energy are needed to make them shine."

Ma said that compared with traditional MBA programs at universities, his students at Hupan will be taught to "learn from their mistakes".

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