Rewarding good education
It was a memorable moment. On Sept 21, *entrepreneur Xiong Xinxiang and the president of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Li Yanrong, firmly shook each other’s hands on stage.
Xiong, CEO of the Born Group, had just donated an *unprecedented 1.03 billion yuan to his *alma mater.
“I have feelings for every blade of grass and every tree on campus. My heart always feels warm, when I think about my time in this very university”, Xiong said during the ceremony.
Xiong’s remarks reflect an emerging trend where an increasing number of alumni who graduated from Chinese universities are becoming more inclined to give back to their alma mater.
Back in 2015, a total of 12 domestic universities received single donations exceeding 50 million yuan from their alumni. And a recent report released by the China Charity Alliance shows that alumni contributions have accounted for a large portion of the money received.
Donations from alumni have been *utilized in a number of ways. Last year, Jiangnan University in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, founded an alumni association for its medical school to enhance contact with alumni at home and abroad, as well as to encourage cultural exchanges.
A few months ago, the alumni association of Sichuan University sponsored a campus exhibition featuring work produced by its alumni stationed worldwide.
And in Beijing, the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) launched its own startup accelerator this year.
As the first success of this *venture, named Uiber Innovation, a crowd-funded cafe-come-incubator designed in the style of a Starbucks coffeehouse was launched.
Doris Li, operations manager of Uiber Coffee, says the site is also a startup incubator aimed at UIBE students and alumni.
Founded by executives, as well as regular MBA students of UIBE, the startup has already generated 2 million yuan in seed capital.
The first cafe is expected to help and coach more than 1,000 young people, breaking even in one to two years. The site could even *spawn a chain of similar facilities in areas where UIBE students and alumni work and live “nationwide” and “even worldwide as they are settled across the globe”, Li told China Daily.
The UIBE alumni association has already committed to using the cafe as its regular meeting hall, and the business school of UIBE has created crash courses in innovation and entrepreneurship for the cafe’s customers.
In addition, free *mentoring will be on offer, with UIBE professors doubling up as part-time mentors.
“Our key goal is to offer a *serene atmosphere and infrastructure for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to meet, brainstorm, develop ideas, make pitches and presentations to prospective investors,” Li said.
Alumni associations have gradually been one of the main forces providing vital support to universities. But at the same time, alumni have also been receiving benefits while contributing to their alma mater.
“It will create mutual benefits for universities and alumni,” Qiao Haishu, a professor from Hunan University, told China Daily.
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