On the 20th and 21st of October, I was in Hangzhou, China to chair the Europe–Asia Business Angels Forum, a sub-forum of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, and to judge the start-ups of the Lions’ Den. Hangzhou Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone positions itself as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of China. The Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online B2B portal and China’s largest website in terms of market value, is headquartered in the zone.
With a strong leaning towards innovation and new technology, the Zhejiang province is considered the centre of China’s entrepreneurship. The Internet-based e-commerce giant Alibaba, along with Wahaha, China’s leader in the beverage sector, and Geely, the automotive manufacturing company that bought out Volvo in 2010, all have their roots in the beautiful capital of Hangzhou, located just 200 km west of Shanghai.
With over 500 participants from more than 70 countries, the WENF (World Entrepreneurship Forum) is one of the world’s most important platforms, connecting entrepreneurs, angel investors, academicians and policymakers from all over the world. The WENF held its 8th edition this year in China under the main theme of Global Entrepreneurship: Connected Continents, New Opportunities!
On the afternoon of the first day, I moderated a session entitled Access to Finance from Startup to Exit, aiming to introduce new financing instruments for start-ups and high-growth businesses in Europe, Asia, and China in particular.
The next morning I was on the stage to judge the finalists of the Lions’ Den, a newly-instituted event at the World Entrepreneurship Forum with 4 experienced Lion investors from 4 different countries to assess the innovative business plans and ideas of 4 talented start-ups from 4 countries.
It is a great pleasure for me to have been the idea owner of the Lions’ Den and to be able to lend my know-how and experience, along with other distinguished lions on the jury.
A big ‘thanks’ to Mark Greeven, the chair of the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s 2015 edition, for this wonderful event in China.