New centre to provide networking opportunties in China for young entrepreneurs

(From left) Mr Paul Bloom, director of political affairs at British High Commission; Mr Sushil Ram, programme manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat; Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Ms Tan See Leng, pre
(From left) Mr Paul Bloom, director of political affairs at British High Commission; Mr Sushil Ram, programme manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat; Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Ms Tan See Leng, president of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Asia (CAYE-Asia); Mr Raymond Huang, country head designate at the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council at the CAYE-Asia Youth Business Conference.PHOTO: HEARTWARE NETWORK

SINGAPORE - Young entrepreneurs and local SMEs seeking to establish a foothold in China will soon have a new tool to do so - thanks to a new partnership between two organisations set up to support young businessmen.

The Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Asia (CAYE-Asia) and Heartware Network announced on Monday (April 2) that they will set up an Innovation Centre in Kunshan, Jiangsu China - in what is the first venture of their new partnership.

This centre is meant to provide a platform for Singapore SMEs and young entreprenuers to conduct business networking and exchanges with their Chinese counterparts in one of China's technological and innovation hubs.

Heartware Network, which was established in 2000 to support local youth entrepreneurs by building their confidence and character, added that they intend to create more similar opportunities in China and other parts of the region in the future.

Its partner, CAYE-Asia is a network of young entrepreneurs across nine Asian countries. It provides training, business advice and networking opportunities.

The partnership and the new centre was announced at a Youth Business Conference that took place from April 2-3. At the conference, local entrepreneurs were invited to showcase their business technology and strategies to spread beyond Singapore's borders.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat noted the importance of Singapore remaining open to business exchanges, and emphasised the need to continue welcoming foreign investment and talent despite a global slide towards protectionism.

"It is my firm belief that the more we see such trends in the developed world, the more we should resist them ... (trade) is not a zero-sum game, it's about how we enlarge the pie for everyone, he said.

Ms Tan See Leng, the executive director of Heartware Network and president of CAYE-Asia, highlighted the value of such networks, for encouraging local entrepreneurs to overcome their concerns about doing business outside Singapore and embrace overseas markets.

"Ultimately, the best way (to encourage them to expand) is to bring them out for networking," she said.