Innovation and entrepreneurship is a global trend and the lingua franca of the youth worldwide. Faced with the great opportunities and challenges of the information age, young people around the world, as the mainstay of innovation and entrepreneurship, have been endeavoring to enhance people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in technology and humanities, join hands to build an “Internet+” platform of innovation and entrepreneurship to boost global economic development, and create a community of shared future for humanity.
In May 2015, for the purpose of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of higher education, the first China College Students’ “Internet+” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition was officially launched. After being successfully held for five consecutive years, it is now the world's largest innovation and entrepreneurship competition for university students and graduates. In 2019, the event drew 4.57 million participants (1.09 million teams) from 4,093 colleges and universities in 124 countries and regions. Over a thousand professionals from China and abroad were invited to judge the competition and mentor the participants. Among these professionals were investors, entrepreneurs, start-up incubator mentors, as well as experts in innovation and entrepreneurship education.
During the past five years, a great many college students stood out on the stage of the “Internet+” Competition, and have grown into a major force in innovation and entrepreneurship. A large number of extraordinary projects raced to emerge, covering a wide range of areas that reflected the latest achievements of a new round of technological revolution, such as unmanned helicopter systems, micro-satellites, advanced materials, big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. These projects, through the competition, earned wider market visibility, gained higher valuation, and obtained investment more quickly. In 2019, 284 entry projects were introduced in the investment and financing event of the competition, which facilitated 406 intentions of investment that worth more than 1.7 billion yuan.
Among the best of these teams is “Youmi Technology” from South China University of Technology. In 2015, it won the second place at the first “Internet+” Competition with its leading intelligent digital marketing technology. Today, Youmi Technology Co., Ltd., an enterprise founded by the team, has been listed as one of the “Top 100 Internet Companies in China”. Since the start of the competition, more and more Chinese college students have devoted themselves to entrepreneurship. Statistics show that 741,000 college students started their own businesses in 2019, with an increase of 9% compared to 2018.
Since the International Track was set up as part of the competition in 2017, the numbers of international universities, projects and students participating in the event have been increasing year by year. In 2020, the 6th Internet+ competition adds the word international to its name for the first time. It has attracted more than 6 million entrants from China and abroad. There are 3,291 international projects developed by teams from 1,158 universities outside China, among which many are from the world’s best-known universities, such as University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. College students in China are presenting an international business card of the “Internet+” Competition to their peers across the globe.
South China University of Technology (SCUT), which is the host of this year’s competition, is a comprehensive, research-intensive university located in Guangzhou, the third largest city in China. In 2020, it was ranked within the world’s top 200 universities by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. SCUT has a long tradition of and rich experience in fostering abilities of innovation and the spirit of entrepreneurship among students. In 1999, it was the first university in China to promote the goal of “innovation, creation, and entrepreneurship” in student training. Through a series of reforms, it has established a comprehensive education system for innovation and entrepreneurship. Focusing on emerging engineering fields, it aims to cultivate talents that will shape the future with capabilities of “learning, thinking, and acting”. Up till now, there are nearly 100 listed companies founded or led by alumni of SCUT, which is therefore known as the “cradle of entrepreneurs”.
The finals of the 6th China International College Students’ “Internet+” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition will be held at SCUT’s campus at the Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Centre from November 17 to 21, 2020. The finals will proceed in both on-site and online venues, enabling students from different countries and regions to compete in the same arena. We expect young people from all over the world to join us in this event where creativity converges, aspirations emerge, and cooperative awareness develops. As young talents compete, communicate, and cooperate in this arena, they will set an example of innovation and entrepreneurship for the youth worldwide in this new era.
Press release produced by the University News Center
Published on Science, Vol 370, Issue 6519, on November 20, 2020