Een groep van 16 UvA/VU/HvA-studenten bereidt een reis voor naar het land van de onbegrensde groeimogelijkheden: China!
Wekelijks komt de groep bij elkaar om alles rond te krijgen. Maaike de Reuver houdt ons op de hoogte.Door I started my first blog with Ed Steinfeld’s remark that “China is one of the most entrepreneurial places on earth.” While the key figures presented last time are indeed impressive and exciting, the question remains what the reasons for this entrepreneurial boom are. China’s domestic market is certainly huge and as such very attractive for businesses of all sizes – especially high growth business.
But on the other hand the World Bank’s Doing Business 2010 Report places China only on rank 151 (out of 183) regarding the easiness of starting a business and on rank 89 regarding the easiness of doing business. In comparison, the United States ranks 8th and 4th respectively. China also has a reputation for a lack of contract enforcement and protection of private and especially intellectual property – crucial institutional factors for a favorable business environment. According to the World Bank’s report, there is little on a macroeconomic or institutional level that incentivizes entrepreneurs to start a business in China. Nevertheless, the figures (see last blog) speak for themselves.
In his book Entrepreneurship in China Keming Yang, a sociologist at Durham University, UK, argues that entrepreneurship is deeply embedded in China’s culture. Monetary wellbeing and recognition through wealth is valued much higher in China than in the Western world. Yang says that Chinese people have a strong focus on comparing themselves with the people around them and the medium of comparison is money. This reminds me of a conference I attended in September last year. “Education – whose crazy idea is it anyway” held in Amsterdam investigated innovation and entrepreneurship in education. When the focus shifted to entrepreneurship, most of the European students stated that their motivation to become an entrepreneur was to increase independence. The American panelists and a member of the Dutch Liberal Party contested this notion and insisted entrepreneurship was about growth, getting big and making a lot of money – not about self-realization and independence. Now this is interesting, because according to the 2007 GEM Report, this notion – stereotypical for America – can be less found in America than in China. While only 40% of US-based entrepreneurs state money to be the reason for starting a business, in China, 60% of the entrepreneurs stated money as their main motivation. It is a simple logic: Chinese people want to be better off than their neighbors (locally and globally). This makes them very competitive (e.g. Chinese students form a significant minority in many top-universities around the world and they are not exactly known for being party-animals). For most people the only way to get rich is by starting a business heavily trimmed on growth. The “American Dream” has shifted to the other side of the Pacific. Scott Shane, professor of Entrepreneurial Studies concludes: “China is a go-to place to see entrepreneurs.” We agree. There is a lot to learn from studying Chinese attitudes towards starting businesses.
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This is why we go to China. This is why we are so excited about actually experiencing the vibe of Chinese entrepreneurs. And this is why we would like to share our journey with you.
After a very successful study trip to the United States to discover the entrepreneurial drive of the Americans, the Amsterdam Centre for Entrepreneurship and 1&12 Ventures are thrilled to announce that a new group of 16 Student Entrepreneurs has started to prepare for a study trip in 2012, this time the destination will be CHINA!
China has emerged as an economic super power, forcing all players to consider new economic models. The growing significance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China’s economy is hard to ignore. So with the 16 of us we`ll discover what is going on in mighty China! www.the16studententrepreneurs.nl
Every week a blog of one of the 16 student entrepreneurs about the preparation of the trip will be published. This week it’s Leonard Wein’s blog.