(Yicai Global) March 26 -- Entrepreneurs from various Asian countries have today begun a 11-day course to learn e-commerce and its influence on Chinese society at Alibaba Business School in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province.
The course, co-sponsored by internet giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is part of a commitment by Jack Ma, Alibaba's founder and executive chairman, as well as UNCTAD Special Advisor, to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years. These young entrepreneurs will eventually become catalysts in their home country that will spur the digital transformation of their economies, said a joint statement from Alibaba and UNCTAD today.
A total of 37 entrepreneurs from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam enrolled in the program after a rigorous selection process. They are founders of their respective start-up companies operating in e-commerce, Big Data, payment systems, logistics, fintech and tourism.
Bridging Digital Divide
They will have exposure to e-commerce innovations and how such technologies impacted on Chinese society and will participate in lectures and discussions with local practitioners and executives to draw lessons that can be applied to their own markets.
They will work on case studies from Alibaba Group and other successful companies in the e-commerce value chain, with sessions dwelling on, among others, digital finance, smart logistics and rural e-commerce development.
"We are excited to extend this fellowship to entrepreneurs from Asia for the very first time as part of our commitment to empower digital champions and communities around the world," said Brian A. Wong, vice president of Alibaba Group, who heads the company's Global Initiatives program.
Upon graduation, participants will officially become Fellows of the eFounders Initiative and make formal commitments on how they will apply the learning from this program.
"Our goal is to inspire entrepreneurs to serve as pioneers for building a more inclusive development model that is not just good for their business, but also good for society by creating platforms that all can participate in and benefit from," he added.
"The initiative is about bridging the digital divide for young entrepreneurs and unlock their potential. It is part of a set of smart partnerships UNCTAD is creating to reach the sustainable development goals," said Arlette Verploegh, coordinator for the eFounders Initiative at UNCTAD.
Creating E-commerce Ecosystems
The first group of eFounders Fellows, some 24 entrepreneurs from Africa, completed the program last November after a similar two-week intensive workshop in Hangzhou, where Alibaba Group is headquartered.
As part of the wider eFounders Initiative community of promising young entrepreneurs around the world, UNCTAD and Alibaba Group will also continue to advise on and provide support for the creation of e-commerce ecosystems jointly with other stakeholders, the joint statement added.