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Social Enterprise—New Blue Sea for College Graduates to Start up Business

2013-09-11 20:59

In 2012, YouChange launched its Startup Café project and worked together with School of Economics of Peking University to introduce the first college credit course on social business startup. On 9 September, 2013, the new Startup Café project is unveiled in Peking University and more than 80 other teaching points.
This year’s first class of Startup Café takes “New Blue Sea for College Graduates to Start up Business” as its theme. It is chaired by Dr. Tang Min, Counselor of the State Council and Executive Vice Chairman of YouChange. The students in the main classroom of Peking University have diverse academic backgrounds—medicine, management, economics, engineering, physics and etc. The first class is shared on the Internet with more than 80 teaching points throughout the country. These teaching points have access to live broadcast and broadcast on demand of Startup Café classes. Most teaching points are located in universities with some others in Eagle Plan project points, Teach for China project points, and cafés with the theme of startup in China. The 36 university teaching points will offer credits to students enrolled in this course.
Mr. Zhang Zheng and Dr. Tang Min are teaching.
Starting with the examples of buy42, Fuping Development Institute and Yunus, Dr. Tang Min analyzed the definition of social enterprise. Then, Dr. Tang raised a question—why is social enterprise the new blue sea for college graduates to start up business. He encouraged college students in the audience to explore this possibility, practice themselves and enhance their capacity.
Dr. Tang’s presentation is followed by interaction in which students in Peking University and other teaching points raise questions directly to the teacher. One student in Peking University asks whether there is any way for a social enterprise to provide quality services at relatively low cost. Another student at the teaching point in Shandong University of Technology asks how a social enterprise can prevent such things as the “Guo Meimei” scandal and ensure it has public confidence. Questions like this shows students have a keen interest in startup business and charity. This way of interactive teaching can directly answer or responds to the needs and concerns of students. Classroom teaching has become more engaging and effective.
According to course director Peng Tian, Startup Café has become an optional course available to all undergraduate students in Peking University. Composed of four modules—vision, cases, features and practical training, the course invites people from different fields to teach and enlighten college students on social entrepreneurship. It stresses on capacity to start up business and solutions to social problems. Startup Café is a course on autumn semester with one class every week. In each class, the live or recorded classroom teaching in Peking University is broadcast in the first part; in the second part, teachers at each teaching point will teach and have lively interaction with students. Teachers are encouraged to develop their distinctive programs in light of student needs and resources available. Fu Haitao, secretary general of Jilin Youth Business Foundation, teaches at the Open University of Harbin. After class, he sent a short message to your reporter, saying “my teaching was well-received. I gave them after-class tutorial until eight o’clock and we still felt reluctant to leave. Yesterday, the students continued their discussion on the Internet until deep night.”
This year is the third one for Startup Café. Thanks to CreditEase’s seed money and generous support from other partners, Startup Café has expanded its teaching points from less than 50 to more than 80 in the past year. Now, it has more than 80 teachers. A growing number of partner organizations have come to appreciate the new teaching model of Startup Café and joined us in advocating this social entrepreneurship which emphasizes on innovation and social responsibility. Startup Café is designing its online open course which will be available to students outside teaching points. YouChange will press ahead with social innovation and keep improving it along with its partners so as to further promote social entrepreneurship in China.
YouChange is a national non-profit private foundation registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs after its establishment was approved by the State Council in 2006. It follows three neo-philanthropic ideas—equal attention to spiritual and material poverty reduction, the application of the systemic thinking that man is an integral of nature to development and poverty reduction, and passing on love and compassion and capacity building. YouChange is committed to urban-rural community sustainable development that stresses harmony between people and their inner self, between people and society, between people and nature, and between people themselves. It vigorously advocates and supports volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.
YouChange considers itself as a platform to support social innovation in poverty reduction and development, and systematically promotes social innovation on its five strategic supporting platforms—R&D, experiment, funding, cooperation and advocacy.
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