UTS CAMP Thinktank connects China-Australia entrepreneurs

A bulldog wearing 3d glasses
China Australia Millennial Project

Two groups of young Chinese and Australian professionals investigated the challenges facing entrepreneurs as part of the China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP), in a thinkthank led by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) with the support of UTS Insearch.

The participants in the UTS Entrepreneurship Thinktank (2015) explored ways to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem that creates opportunities for millennials, guided by experts from UTS Business School and drawn from its networks in industry.

The thinktank’s lead mentor, Stephen Rutter, who is Manager of Executive Programs at the UTS Business School, said two teams exploredideas to connect people to entrepreneurial opportunities.

“One team is exploredhow to better connect people with information and each other, within and across the two nations,” Mr Rutter said. “This might involve, for instance, a technology solution that opens up access to data for start-up funding partners.”

“The second team lookedat ways for emerging businesses to share skills and talent between China and Australia,” he said. “This might involve a service that facilitates the sorts of secondments that big firms are familiar with but which are currently beyond smaller businesses.”

Thinktank delegate Matthew Ho, said the group had had to learn to work “virtually” in teams. “It has been an interesting challenge, coordinating and collaborating across cities and countries, with thinktank members located as far afield as Sydney, Perth, Beijing and Shanghai,” he said.

“Technology has played an important support role in connecting our team,” said fellow delegate Vincent Cheng. “But the most important thing has been learning to communicate effectively across cultures, which has involved being empathetic and adaptable. It has been an interesting exercise in moving between languages and backgrounds.”

Mr Rutter said the teams then solidified their ideas during the inaugural CAMP summit in Sydney from June 1-5, during Vivid Ideas in 2015. UTS also hosted the 10 young innovators in the collaborative spaces inside the new Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.

CAMP’s objective is to help foster mutual cultural understanding as well as provide the 130 delegates participating in its 13 thinktanks – of which the UTS thinktank is one – a professional development program designed to stretch their creative problem solving and innovation skills.

“Having young people making person-to-person links, establishing friendships and partnerships that will be with them all their lives, gaining a level of insight and comfort about dealing with the other country, is hugely important,” said CAMP patron Professor Bob Carr, who is Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at UTS and a former Australian Foreign Minister.