“Why are you studying entrepreneurial management in Taiwan? Have you considered starting your own business in Taiwan? ” Elias Ek, CEO of Enspyre and author of the book How to Start a Business in Taiwan, threw out several questions in the beginning of his guest lecture at the Fu Jen University Master of Global Entrepreneurial Management program (MGEM).
MGEM is a one-year program jointly offered by Fu Jen University in Taiwan, Universitant Ramon Llull (IQS) in Spain, and University of San Francisco (USF) in the US. The 50 or so students comes from countries including Spain, US, China, Japan and Taiwan, with over half of them planning to start their own business and 5 already having a concrete business idea in mind.
“The 3 essentials of starting a business: people, ideas and capital.” Focusing on the class’ cultural diversity and interest in entrepreneurship, Ek led discussions on the necessary steps in starting a business, and designed a series of activities to give those future entrepreneurs a taste of starting up.
First, he asked everyone to write down the traits, experience and knowledge they have that make them suitable to be a co-founder and then he asked them network to look for potential business partners in their group. Everyone stood up and started the mingling, filling the class room with heated conversation. The goal was to form teams with 2 or 3 people that complemented each other.
Their co-founders (people) found, ideas and capital were still missing. Every group was asked to come up with 10 business ideas and then decide on one to prepare a 30 second pitch for support. Some groups dreamed big by developing branding strategies for enterprises, while others started from solving the daily inconveniences: umbrella vending machines in the MRT stations, or floating containers for your laptop to avoid sore necks.
Aside from the class’ multi-cultural background, their liveliness and energy were also really different from typical shy and silent Taiwanese students. Every question resulted in raised hands, everyone was eager to share their thoughts and ask questions. Thanks to the students, the activity ended perfectly with 11 creative and impressive pitches.
After class, the students gave positive feedback on Ek’s speech and shared their thoughts about Taiwan. Several of the foreign students were already working on Taiwanese business ideas. Esmeralda, a student from the U.S., said that it was really fun and helpful to learn about starting a business by experiencing the whole process herself. Students from China also expressed their interest in starting up in Taiwan due to the proximity in culture and geography.
Elias ended the lecture with saying “Taiwan is a great place to start your business. You don’t need to live here but can own 100% of your business. With low tax and high number of empty apartments, it is free from the problems many other developed countries are suffering.”
We hope that in the future, some of these young people with great ambition will settle down in Taiwan with their own business, bringing a new stream of thoughts and ideas.