A sharing session themed "Wall Street-Fintech-Big Data" was held Wednesday at a cafe near China's prestigious Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Over one hundred entrepreneurs, incubator staff, sponsors and investors came around to the one of the metropolis' most dynamic neighborhoods and participated in the event. 

Ricky Gu, co-founder of BBD Business Big Data, a leading provider of big data solutions, shared his observations concerning big data, Fintech, and the experience of starting his business in Chengdu.

Titled "A fireside chat with Ricky Gu", this event was the third of its kind held in Chengdu, the "land of plenty" known in the ancient time. It was initiated and organized by the new Chengdu chapter of Startup Grind, a 98-country, 200-city entrepreneur and innovation community, with chapters in cities across the U.S., South America, Europe, Africa and even Australia, such as Cape Town, Berlin, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro.

(Lively atmosphere on the scene)

Roy Rao, a 29-year-old Chinese young man, is the co-director of the Chengdu Chapter of Startup Grind. The idea of introducing Startup Grind was sparked by his experience with the global startup community in Chicago, the most populous city in the state of Illinois in U.S.. He used to be the organizer of Startup Weekend Chicago and actively involved in Chicago's startup community. 

When asked about his choice of holding such event in Chengdu, he said, "the city has an inspiring entrepreneurship environment, as the local government is putting a large amount of fund to attract talents and encourage entrepreneurship, and there are a lot of uprising entrepreneurs and interesting projects."

Running Startup Grind's Chengdu chapter together with Rao, Erik Ackner, a young German, sees the same promising prospect on the horizon.

Erik told NBD that it is Chengdu's fast changes that keep him stay in the city and start a business. He said, "Chengdu is in the beginning of defining its own industries and its own faith what Chengdu really wants to be, and everybody who starts now and is deeply involved in this can really make a big change."

The 29-year-old event organizer added, "the city is changing so fast, it's like, super-interesting. Also, Chengdu at the moment doesn't have strong competition. If you go into new areas, you might be the only one doing it". 

(Erik Ackner and Roy Rao, co-directors of Startup Grind's Chengdu chapter)

Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind has now hosted 5,000 fireside chats since its founding in 2010. It has grown to a community of over 1 million members. Rao and Erik applied in last November to begin a new chapter in Chengdu and was approved in December 2016. The two hope their new chapter of a worldwide group of entrepreneurs will get more involved with local entrepreneurs and startups.

The chapter's first event themed "Digital Health" was held at Kr Space in the downtown of Chengdu on Jan. 19, 2017. About 100 people showed up, Erik said.

Erik's perspective towards Chengdu is echoed by Ricky Gu, the speaker at the event.

Gu explained in an interview with NBD the reasons why he chose to start the business here in Chengdu. He said, Chengdu boasts resourceful talents, local government's preferential policies, stirring environment to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation and open community to share and connect. Any industry, especially the high-tech industry relies its growth deeply on talents, human resource. Chengdu will attract more skilled and professional people in years to come, making enterprises here stronger and more successful.

He added, events like Startup Grind gather people to communicate, share and learn from each other, which is beneficial and valuable for startups, entrepreneurs and people who want to reach out. 

To entrepreneurs, building a network, identifying the interest, and finding the right target are extremely important. That's why many people came to the event, where they want to find partners or investors or can even meet the future Jack Ma and Pony Ma. 

Patti, a participant at Wednesday's event, was deeply inspired by the idea of Startup Grind, "how can I help other people first? And give first before you take." 

She told NBD that she currently works for the University of Washington in Chengdu and plans to start her own business. 

"When I moved to Chengdu, there was nothing like this. I am really fortunate to see the startup culture and community support grow. In the U.S., you cannot start up a business or start up a company without having genuine connections. It is really important to build a networking, for people to think what can I do for you," Patti said.

(Group photo after the session)

Innovation and entrepreneurship revitalize Chengdu. Adopting mass entrepreneurship and innovation policies, Chengdu aims to help more startups keep their footing and achieve growth. Thirty-one state-level makerspaces were set up, incubators covering 1,020,000 sqm were built, 3 Nobel laureate teams were introduced and 20 Academician & Experts Workstation were established in 2016 alone.

With the vigor and energy injected by startups and startup community like Startup Grind, Chengdu strives to make room for imagination of entrepreneurs, turns imagination into reality and pushes to become China's Silicon Valley.

In 2016, newly registered market entities reached 335,000 in Chengdu, up 34.6% year on year. It means that Chengdu has 918 new entrepreneurs every day.


Email: lansuying@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Lan Suying