Valley Startups Part of Inaugural Cohort to China

by Beth Cochran

Everyone always talks about the importance of networking for business growth and development, but what if you took it international? This past December, 50 American entrepreneurs from across the U.S. were selected to travel to Shenzhen, China, to meet, learn from, and build mutually beneficial relationships with 50 Chinese entrepreneurs in the inaugural U.S.-China Youth Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Not only did this forum aim to build those peer-to-peer relationships by exposing these entrepreneurs on both sides of the Pacific to new cultures, traditions and economic trends, it also opened them to new ideas and possibilities for business expansion in a way only global exposure can do.

The project launched as a result of a collaboration between the U.S. State Department and the All-China Youth Federation to promote shared economic prosperity with globalization. Speaking at the Forum on various growth, economic and global partnership topics were Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk, U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad, and Chinese officials and high-level entrepreneurs. The Forum also provided an opportunity for U.S. and Chinese entrepreneurs, incubators and VCs to connect to share insights on their respective innovation-driven ecosystems, as well as discuss direct investment opportunities.

Another strong undercurrent of the Forum was showcasing the importance of inclusive innovation through racial, ethnic and geographical diversity; women’s empowerment; and socio-economic heterogeneity.

Many Valley entrepreneurs, whose innovations have helped strengthen our own startup community, were part of this inaugural cohort.

Valley Participants

Metro Phoenix sent 15 of the 50 American entrepreneurs who took part in the U.S.-China Youth Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

William Brashears, Ph.D., director of Global Initiatives at Arizona State University, and Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president at ASU, were instrumental in putting this together.

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