Young entrepreneurs panel: from small towns abroad to the big city in China

Students had an opportunity to listen to an inspiring panel about young entrepreneurs in China. We had three speakers that have both local and international experience. The panel had the speakers talk about their work in China and then have a discussion with the questions coming from both the energetic moderator Richard Robinson and the audience.

The first panelist was Steven Wang, a Chinese-born Canadian, who is the founder and Chief Executive Director of Yiqiao China. He primarily works with the top youth from around the world, who have the potential to serve in the social sector. Steven talked about his experience in the public sector, and his life of growing up in a small Canadian town, but then going on to do great things in China, where he rediscovered his roots and passion for social work.

The second panelist was Gavin Tanzer-Newton. He, as Steven, grew up in a small town in the United States, but broke through the isolation and in the end moved to China, where he founded “Sunrise International Education”. His main focus in on the education sphere in China, he works with both local and international students, who have aspirations to study abroad.

The final panellist was Tawanda Mahere. He spontaneously moved to China, where he learned the language and experienced the business culture first-hand. He is the Emerging Markets Director at Jide Technology and wishes to build a bridge between the African and Chinese entrepreneurs. He helps both Chinese and African businesses to understand each other and collaborate better.

The discussion part of the panel covered a lot of different topics – from the panelists’ experience growing far away from China and the coming here to become young innovators, to their suggestions for all the student, such as not being afraid of challenges and mistakes, and how important it is to first understand the local communities before getting hands on huge projects. They also highlighted that being an outsider is not a bad thing, as it may allow one to have a completely different perspective of a certain matter and bring a unique point of view to the table.