Alibaba founder opens college for entrepreneurs

Updated: 2015-01-28 07:38

By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou(China Daily)

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Alibaba founder Jack Ma and seven other entrepreneurs opened a school for business startups in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Monday.

Hupan College is in the city's West Lake scenic area and aims to provide lectures to those whose own businesses are in the beginning stages or who want to start their own businesses.

Ma is president of the school. The lectures will start in mid-March, according to Zhang Zhenyi, an employee with Alibaba who is in charge of the construction and preparations for the school.

"China does not have a school that puts business startups at the center of education. The school intends to offer them a platform to receive lectures from professors and successful entrepreneurs," Zhang said.

"Ma used to be an English teacher in college before he founded Alibaba, so teaching and education have always been important for him," said Zhang. "Ma and the founders of the school aim to nurture emerging entrepreneurs with strong social responsibility and a high business moral standard."

Zhang said that some courses will be free to anyone interested in the topics, while other courses will be open only to those selected by the founders.

Candidates must have at least three years' experience in their own businesses and have a team of more than 30 people. Tuition is 280,000 yuan ($44,840) for three years, according to Liu Jingwen, one of the candidates.

Alibaba founder opens college for entrepreneurs

Liu, founder of Shenzhen Vizdan Eco-Agricultural, said that he is looking forward to the breakthroughs Hupan College is going to make.

"I don't like the so-called MBA courses, so I hope the school can break the fixed patterns," he said.

Zhao Jianhua, a researcher at Zhejiang Academy of Commerce, said that Hupan College might stimulate a more prosperous business environment in Hangzhou and Zhejiang province.

"Private business is vigorous in the province, partly encouraged by the success of Alibaba. With a school where the tycoons can share their knowledge and experience with startups, I believe the atmosphere will be better," he said.

Data showed that undergraduates from Zhejiang University are the most likely ones in the country to start their own businesses.

(China Daily 01/28/2015 page4)