Chinese entrepreneurs visit Preston for University exchange
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has continued to strengthen its links with the Far East by participating in an international exchange programme which culminated in a visit from Chinese delegates to Preston.UCLan was awarded a British Council grant to deliver the UK-China Enhancing Graduate Employability and Entrepreneurship programme in partnership with Shenzhen University, China.
The aim of the programme was to inspire entrepreneurial graduates to explore international opportunities for their start-up businesses.The project was split into two parts, with UCLan staff members and graduates embarking on a trip to China for a week in March, and respective Chinese representatives visiting Preston in April.
Funded by the British Council’s UK-China Partnership programme, the project was designed to allow both institutions to share knowledge, helping graduate entrepreneurs understand international business culture and establish new networks.Funded by the British Council’s UK-China Partnership programme, the project was designed to allow both institutions to share knowledge, helping graduate entrepreneurs understand international business culture and establish new networks.
Graduates participated in workshops relating to business and product development, strategy and leadership, and completed tasks designed to promote international collaboration.They also had the opportunity to soak up the different cultural and social aspects of both cities.
During the Chinese delegates’ visit to Preston, they met with the mayor Margaret McManus, visited the Harris museum and the formal gardens at Avenham and Miller Park, as well as sampling traditional British food.Students from UCLan’s language courses were on hand to provide translation support with workshops delivered by the University’s Northern Lights team and also the newly formed Leadership Hub, which provides expert advice to help businesses develop management teams.
Shenzhen has an estimated population of 11million, and was the first place in China to be granted ‘special economic zone’ status in 1980, with its previous position as a small town transformed into a thriving business hub as part of the country’s bid to boost its economy.Its University was established in 1983, and has approximately 35,000 students, including almost 900 international students.
Dr John Lonsdale, director of innovation and enterprise at UCLan, said: “UCLan has well-established education and business links with China, and delivering this particular exchange programme has helped further strengthen the relationship.“It’s important for us to support innovation on an international platform, as well as helping graduate entrepreneurs reflect on the impact of cultural differences when considering international business opportunities.
“One of our graduate entrepreneurs is currently launching a diabetes related product in China, and one of the Chinese graduates has a successful clothing brand which they are looking to launch in Europe, so the project is already delivering benefits to those involved.”Participants Anthony Smith and Joseph McDonald graduated from UCLan in 2014 in Film Production and went on to form Leyland-based video production company Red Pencil Productions.
They commented: “The trip was a fantastic experience culture wise and seeing how other businesses operated, whether it be a UK or Chinese company. We loved every moment, making great contacts in both countries and exploring the opportunity of doing business internationally.”UCLan’s work in China was recently recognised at the prestigious UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Greater China Awards, where it was a finalist in the educational links category. The UKTI awards acknowledge North West organisations which make significant contribution towards developing relationships with China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.