Being a Student Entrepreneur at PKU
I still remember the day I walked into the west gate of Peking University with the acceptance letter in my hand. It was a feeling I cannot express with words. I felt proud and blessed at the same time as I was able to pursue my bachelor degree at one of the most prestigious academic institutions in China. My dream finally came true. But I didn’t want to stop dreaming there, I wanted to keep moving forward.
I’m from Israel, a sophomore at the School of International Studies at PKU. About a year ago, I started my own business We wow We with my Chinese friend at PKU with the help of PKU’s incubators and resources. What my company does is under the concept of football fan-hosts-fan: We offer very unique wow experiences provided by local football fans to Chinese fans. As a crazy football fan myself, I also have dreams to go watch my favorite team play at their home stadium or even meet my favorite players and play football with them. Every person’s dreams and desires are different and each one of them is unique. Not only in the football world but anywhere, just like how I wanted to get in to PKU and study international relations; however, not everyone in the world would share the same dreams as me, and that’s why I wanted to make as many fans’ dreams as possible come true.
PKU Incubator and Resources
PKU has great resources and environment for entrepreneurship. My company was part of the PKU Incubation Camp, which operates under the name of PKU Science Park. In the PKU Incubation Camp, you get 6 months to “try out” your business while being able to access PKU recourses and present yourself as a member of the PKU Incubation Camp. Also, the PKU campus itself is located in such place where many start-up companies are operating. There are innovations everywhere around the area; new ideas are generated daily. Being immersed in this kind of environment, it keeps me going and makes me want to create better things to make the world a bit more exciting. I’m not majoring in business nor economics. I don’t know much about economic theories or manual methods to start up companies, but what I do know is if you are greedy enough in a good way to make your dreams come, you have what you need at PKU.
Working with Chinese Friends
Just few months before officially becoming a freshman at PKU, one of my acquaintances introduced me to a Chinese guy, Fang Yedun. He already graduated undergrad from PKU and is now continuing his study at the National School of Development at PKU. We got along surprisingly well and quickly became best friends. Before I came to PKU, I have never even dreamed of it because I just thought Chinese students wouldn’t accept foreigners—I was wrong. Yedun accepted me as me; no difference from any others. Many of my Chinese colleagues also accepted me.
On the day when I brought my business idea up to him at a café near the school. At the moment I finished speaking, he said “Hao!” (Which means ok or good in Chinese). Now we work together everyday, and I realize how nearly impossible for the company to be able to stand where we are today without him. Needless to say, his devotion and commitment to the work and the resources that he has been accumulating over the past years at PKU are also helping our company in many ways.
Being an International Student and Entrepreneur at PKU
For me, being an international student and being an entrepreneur are kind of the same thing—I’m just doing what I love. I love politics and it’s very interesting to learn about international affairs especially from the Chinese perspective. I believe China is a growing country with a lot of potential and opportunities. China-Israel economic ties are getting stronger. To learn about China and Chinese behavior and thoughts in aspects of foreign affairs is key to understanding the future world order.
And of course I’m a football-lover and I am grateful to be able to innovate in the football world. My company has encountered many hardships and challenges last year and still does a lot, especially a foreigner doing business in China. But I kept going because this is what I truly love. Because I love it so much, I am able to convince others to work with me for what they love as well. PKU is full of opportunities; you can find yourself and find what you love here. Unfortunately, some people do not see these opportunities, and it’s my goal to help them see the opportunities that PKU offers.
Written by Ami Higuchi
Source: PKU Newsletter (Autumn 2015)