A dozen local startup companies won Shanghai’s entrepreneurship awards on Friday, marking the beginning of the city’s annual entrepreneurship week.
The startups, supported by the city government-backed Shanghai Technology Entrepreneurship Foundation for Graduates, were honored at the start of the 13th Global Entrepreneurship Week China at the former site of China’s earliest cotton mill machine factory on the Yangpu District waterfront.
Thirty angel investors who offered the biggest financial contributions to graduate entrepreneurs were also presented with awards.
Winners included Shanghai Wuli Environmental Tech Co, which is focused on the development of domestically produced equipment and reagent for gas and soil treatment, and Shanghai Shuyuan Energy Efficiency Tech Co, which offers energy-saving solutions for buildings.
Previously, most soil remediation equipment and reagent were imported and had become a great burden to both companies and the government, said Xu Linjun, a Tongji University graduate and Wuli’s founder.
“With the support of the entrepreneurship foundation, we’ve been able to work out cheaper domestically produced equipment and reagent for soil restoration that is expected to be promoted nationwide,” Xu said.
Gan Shixiong, a winning investor and founding partner of WISDOMONT, said at the opening session: “The era when everyone can start a company has passed. Nowadays entrepreneurs must have the open mind and core technology to survive the ongoing ‘capital winter.'”
Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, said entrepreneurs were facing “unpredictable, uncertain and lightning-paced daily changes” as well as more opportunities.
Over 1,000 entrepreneurs and investors will attend over 60 forums, project roadshows and negotiating meetings during the six-day entrepreneurship week to help startup projects attract investment.
Dai Tiantian, founder of Pacho Electronics and a Jiao Tong University graduate, shared his experiences at the opening session. His company, focused on industrial laser cutting, has been listed on the city’s STAR tech board.
“We’ve tried a number of fields since we started the startup project in 2007 such as glue dispensers, vehicle wheel support systems, glass cutting and hair planting machines,” Dai said. Though the previous projects failed, they helped accumulate comprehensive techniques and experiences which were essential to the final success, he said.
The foundation has sponsored over 2,000 startup projects since its establishment in 2006, with investment from individuals and companies. It has received a total of 9,191 applications from graduates for their startup projects during the past decade. Of them, 2,626 have been chosen and sponsored, according to the foundation. It has helped to create over 30,000 job opportunities.
Many local startups, such as food delivery company Ele.me, laboratory equipment and reagent supplier Titan Technology, and mobile phone recovery platform Aihuishou, received their initial investment from the foundation.
The event is being held at Shanghai International Fashion Center, the largest textile and fashion park in Asia. The site was renovated from the Shanghai No. 17 General Cotton Mill, which dates back more than eight decades. The buildings have characteristic sawtooth roofs and were once used as a Japanese spinning factory during World War II.