Leeds students visit leading Chinese companies on Confucius Institute trip

Abinav Bhattachan (BA Digital Media) and Caitlin Pharoah O-Reilly (BA Film, Photography and Media) spent 2 weeks in Beijing and Shenzhen hosted by the University of International Business & Economics.

Abinav said: “I was able to gain a lot of insight into the Chinese market in a way that I would not have been able to do through other means.” As a young entrepreneur, he found the visit to startup incubator Plug and Play most memorable, as he “could relate to a lot of work and ambitions that they had.” Caitlin noted the “very impressive display of technology” at Lenovo and found it “exciting to see hints of what the future holds.” 

The students from Leeds were part of a small group of young entrepreneurs from around the world. Cailtin said, “I really enjoyed visiting all the companies and sites but one of the most valuable things I will take from this is meeting so many international entrepreneurs that I hope to continue being in contact with.” 

The programme also included opportunities for participants to receive coaching and pitch their businesses. Abinav found this to be a valuable experience. “Pitching our businesses at the expo as an experiment to win investors allowed us to experience a real expo environment and deal with critics.” 

Caitlin’s business idea isn’t technology related, but the trip opened her eyes to more opportunities for her photography business and she now intends to develop the online aspect of her business much more than she has so far.  She has already made plans to exchange products and services with other entrepreneurs on the trip.  

The Year in Enterprise is a programme run by Spark and the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies