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Sci-tech Innovation
Wujiaochang Sub-district: Try to be the “Zhonggua...
By Meng Qunshu

Wujiaochang has a dream: to become one of the most important entrepreneurship districts in China like Zhongguancun through the joint efforts of various parties in functional areas.

“If you want to start up business, go to Wujiaochang!”

On a weekend some days ago, the second “Start up Business in Wujiaochang” story session curtained up in Yidian Café in Fudan University Hi-tech Park. Originally, over 30 people would attend the meeting, but on the day when the story session curtained up, more than 180 people went to the café, making it quite crowded. On the story session, experienced entrepreneurs shared their stories of business startups with audiences, who listened to these stories earnestly.

Establish entrepreneurship alliance by organizing story session

The story session was sponsored by Wujiaochang Sub-district, cosponsored by Fudan University Hi-tech Park, and attracted many entrepreneurship organizations and entrepreneurs to participate in. “Wujiaochang should be a core of Yangpu District, and popularize the DNA for entrepreneurship and innovation to the entire district.” This is the wish of Zhuge Yujie, Yangpu District Party Chief.

Wujiaochang has the strength to achieve this objective. As one of the “five functional areas” in Yangpu District for constructing national innovation-oriented pilot urban area, Wujiaochang has gathered a large amount of elements for innovation and entrepreneurship, and has the opportunity to become an important bearing area of Yangpu District for constructing a science and technology innovation center. Under the guidance of “22 Items for Science and Technology Innovation Center”, Wujiaochang Sub-district interacted actively with universities, entrepreneurship parks, training bases and incubators in surrounding areas, compiled creative ideas for working, created ideal environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, and tried to build a model area for popular innovation with important influence.

In addition to the “Start up Business in Wujiaochang” story session, Wujiaochang Sub-district has organized other similar events. Various parties have realized efficient matching, thanks to the “8+2+X” entrepreneurship alliance founded by Wujiaochang Sub-district.

Abundant resources for innovation and entrepreneurship have gathered in Wujiaochang area. There are 8 hi-tech parks, e.g. Yangpu Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Center and Fudan University Hi-tech Park, and 2 state-level entrepreneurship supporting bases, e.g. China (Shanghai) Public Training Base for Entrepreneurs and Yangpu Innovation and Entrepreneurship Service Center for Overseas High-end Talents. Other entrepreneurship incubators, e.g. INNOSPACE, IPO entrepreneurship café and Qiao Jie Chuang, and entrepreneurship supporting platforms, appeared in Wujiaochang area one after another.

This “8+2+X” entrepreneurship alliance with concentrated resources enabled separated resources to integrate with each other and become resources for the entire Wujiaochang area, and thus created a “Wujiaochang area suitable for entrepreneurship”.

In the past year, the municipal government canceled the sub-district’s functions of investment attraction in its No.1 Subject. In this way, sub-districts could spend more time to provide service. In the “No.1 Subject” of this year, the municipal government proposed a task of constructing a science and technology innovation center in Shanghai, and sub-districts could build platform and create atmosphere. According to Xie Jiangang, Governor of Yangpu District, sub-districts should be able to shoulder responsibilities, make efforts and take a lead in making exploration.

Encourage entrepreneurship organizations to go on the stage by creating atmosphere

The government has built platforms and created atmosphere for entrepreneurship, but successful entrepreneurship requires the courage of entrepreneurs. The “Start up Business in Wujiaochang” story session, as the reporter has mentioned in previous paragraphs, enabled successful entrepreneurs to visit entrepreneurship parks and bases, share their experiences with business starters and help them to step on the road of entrepreneurship.

Zhou Jie is one of the speakers on the story session. He is the founder of Qiao Jie Chuang Public-welfare Platform for Entrepreneurship Service. With passion for entrepreneurship and abundant experiences that he has accumulated, Zhou Jie held public-welfare lectures on entrepreneurship and project road shows for business starters. His lectures attracted many business starters to attend, because they are practical and useful.

Zhou Jie has traveled to many regions in China for publicizing his service. Since he arrived in Wujiaochang this year, he determined to stay here. “I find out many things here that I can not find out in other places,” he said.

To entrepreneurship organizations, it is difficult for them to organize public-welfare events for entrepreneurs. “When I step in an entrepreneurship park, I don’t know who I should look for. Even if I’ve met the person-in-charge, he doesn’t know me at all. Sometimes the security guard won’t allow me to get in the park,” said Zhou. Because of high cost for borrowing venues, difficulty in inviting guests and low influence, it is difficult to organize public-welfare events for entrepreneurs.

But the situation is quite different in Wujiaochang. Wujiaochang Sub-district invited Qiao Jie Chuang to join the alliance for entrepreneurship, established a WeChat group for the company, and enabled the company to become a member of entrepreneurship service team. Everyone could talk to each other equally in the WeChat group. If the company is looking for a venue for organizing events, it could talk to the person-in-charge of the entrepreneurship park in the WeChat group. If the company wants to invite guests to attend events, it could ask the sub-district for help. After confirming the venues of events, the sub-district would contact to other official WeChat accounts, e.g. “Start up business in Wujiaochang”, “Shanghai Yangpu” and “Start up business in Yangpu” for sending the messages of events to other parties. These measures cut down costs for entrepreneurship organizations for fifty percent. The influence of entrepreneurship organizations doubled. Even a small-scale event would attract several hundred people to attend. 

Actually, by inviting organizations on various levels to join the alliance, the government helped entrepreneurship organizations to have equal dialogues with various kinds of resources and built up a complete service chain for entrepreneurs. “Internet thinking means equality, sharing and cooperation. Wujiaochang Sub-district applies Internet thinking to enable grassroots entrepreneurship organizations to go on the stage, give play to greater energy and have influence on more entrepreneurs,” said Zhou Jie. Under the guidance of this concept, entrepreneurship organizations develop smoothly in Wujiaochang area, making the atmosphere for entrepreneurship here more intensive.

“The sub-district should adhere to the principle of ‘do things that you can do and do not do things that you are incapable of’ while participating in the construction for an important bearing area for science and technology innovation center,” said Li Zhengming, Director of Wujiaochang Sub-district Office. “Do things that you can do” means that the sub-district should actively assist entrepreneurship parks to do things that they are unwilling to do or can not do, such as works evolving in policy, coordination and service. “Do not do things that you are incapable of” means that for those professional services that entrepreneurship parks and organizations specialized in, the sub-district should allow professional staffs to do them.

Provide good service to entrepreneurs

Some entrepreneurs were particularly impressed by the service and environment for business startups in Wujiaochang.

After making investigations, sub-district officials found out that many enterprises in hi-tech parks do not know about the government’s policies for supporting entrepreneurship, nor do they understand how to get government support. The sub-district joined hands with hi-tech parks to help entrepreneurs get familiar with government policies, such as beforehand subsidies for entrepreneurs, supporting policy of “entrepreneurship drives employment” and subsidies for entrepreneurship internship base. These policies benefited entrepreneurs a lot.

To provide entrepreneurs with more convenient services, Wujiaochang Sub-district also came up with creative ideas and provided entrepreneurs with “VIP” service: As long as enterprises and employees make reservation in advance, they could fulfill procedures through a “green channel” in community service centers, receive efficient consulting services and enjoy services covering 9 categories and 147 items. Apart from these interactions between the sub-district and entrepreneurs, Wujiaochang Sub-district also assists entrepreneurship incubation projects to connect with the needs of community. “Food Delivery” is an enterprise offering food ordering service through mobile phones. There are many elderly people in Wujiaochang Sub-district, and most of them need food delivery service. To meet elderly people’s requirements, “Food Delivery” began to provide food delivery service to elderly people and offer discounts for them. By pressing some buttons on Ipad screen, elderly people could order food conveniently online. “In the future, it is possible that we would develop a new market for serving the elderly people,” said Lin Ying, Administrative Director of “Food Delivery”. Wujiaochang Sub-district also launched other projects, such as traffic information service in Wujiaochang area and smart wrist ring for elderly people. These projects achieved win-win results for both entrepreneurs and communities.

“Sub-districts play an important role in Wujiaochang area in terms of building platforms, creating atmosphere and providing service. It is easier to gather the strength of various parties and achieve better results if sub-districts take a leading role,” said Zhang Yanjun, person-in-charge of Innospace incubator.

“Providing intensive service to business starters is inseparable from profound thoughts.” Wujiaochang Sub-district has undergone profound changes in ideology for constructing a model district for popular innovation. “At the beginning, many officials didn’t know anything about VC (venture capital) and IPO. But later, they get rid of lagging-behind thoughts, understand that the sub-district could assist entrepreneurs in several aspects and find out the direction of making efforts,” said Yu Xiang, Secretary of Party Committee of Wujiaochang Sub-district.

Wujiaochang has a dream: to become one of the most important entrepreneurship districts in China like Zhongguancun through the joint efforts of various parties in functional areas. 

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