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Students get support for innovation

Zou Shuo
Updated: Oct 14,2021 07:07 AM    China Daily

China will provide greater policy support for college students pursuing careers in innovation and entrepreneurship to ensure that graduates enjoy fuller and higher-quality employment, according to a new guideline.

Issued by the General Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Oct 12, the guideline describes college students as a vibrant force in various fields, but points to issues hindering innovation and entrepreneurship such as a lack of experience, difficulties in securing financing and the lack of services to help students with their businesses.

Colleges are tasked with placing greater emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship and innovation and should hire more qualified external professionals to serve as mentors.

Authorities are tasked with creating a more favorable environment for startups and innovative projects, while government-funded incubators should reserve 30 percent of their space for rent-free use by college entrepreneurs.

The guideline also stressed the importance of improving financial support by exploring new funding channels and introducing favorable financial policies.

Small and micro-sized businesses founded by graduates can apply for up to 3 million yuan ($465,000) in low-interest loans. The guideline further stipulated that intellectual property protection for innovative projects be enhanced.

Local governments should explore mechanisms such as subsidies and the provision of insurance to cover failed projects.

The guidelines also noted the expansion of the annual China International College Students' "Internet Plus" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, which aims to boost entrepreneurship and innovation among college students.

The finals of the seventh competition are being held till Oct 15 at Nanchang University in Jiangxi province.

A total of 9.56 million students from 4,347 universities in 121 countries and regions signed up for this year's competition, up by 51 percent from last year, according to the Ministry of Education.

The number of foreign students participating in the competition reached 15,611 this year, up 74 percent year-on-year, said Wu Yan, director of the ministry's department of higher education. They include students from world-renowned universities such as Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, he said.

With the increase in its scale, this year's competition has increased the number of projects for the finals from 1,600 last year to 3,500 this year, while the number of gold medals was raised from 158 last year to 320 this year, he said.
The competition has been held every year since 2015, Wu said, with 25.33 million students taking part in it.

Universities in China have opened more than 30,000 courses on innovation and entrepreneurship. They have also employed almost 35,000 full-time and 139,000 part-time teachers to assist students' innovation and entrepreneurship efforts, he said.

Zhou Chuangbing, president of Nanchang University, said that to prevent risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, international teams and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as students from high- and medium-risk areas on the Chinese mainland, are participating via video link.

Zeng Zhen, a postgraduate student in robotics at Northeastern University in Liaoning province, said the wearable devices created by his company can convert sign languages into text and speech to help hearing- and speech-impaired people better communicate with others.

He and his partners founded Voisea, meaning see your voice, in 2018 when he was an undergraduate student at the university.

He decided to create the devices because one of his friends is hearing-and speech-impaired, he said.

The university has offered his team free working space and university teachers have also offered guidance, he said, adding that the company has obtained funding of 2.5 million yuan from artificial intelligence company iFlytek and investment fund Hongtai Aplus.

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