China Centre Career Development Series: Alumni visit to Shanghai Overseas Returned Scholars Association (SORSA) Kunshan Innovation and Start-up Base

A group of more than 10 students and alumni visited Shanghai Overseas Returned Scholars Association (SORSA) Kunshan Innovation and Start-up Base, which is located in Kunshan, a county-level city bordering Shanghai and an emerging industrial and commercial city with a history dating back more than 2000 years.

Launched in November 2016, the SORSA Kunshan Innovation and Start-up Base mainly provides free office space, entrepreneurship advice, tax and business consulting service for SORSA members who are willing and determined to start up their company in Kunshan.

As part of the China Centre career development series, this alumni visit was organized by the University of Manchester China Centre and SORSA University of Manchester Alumni Association. Ms. Sherry Fu, China Centre director led the visit.

Mr. Quanlin Xie, Director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Kunshan Municipal People’s Government, gave an overview of the innovation site, its functions as well as the city which it is located in: Kunshan. Director Xie’s sharing included advantages of Kunshan and SORSA Kunshan Innovation and Start-up Base as incubation hubs in terms of providing favoring policy and friendly environment for start-ups.

The site tour of the 800-square-meter SORSA Kunshan Innovation and Start-up Base mainly included the wall showcasing successful cases of sustainable development of local start-ups, spacious office space, relaxing coffee area, functional break-out rooms, quiet conference space, and a rich collection of guidebooks on entrepreneurship, start-up development and policy reference, all striving to equip those newly-started companies with useful information at the their incubation stage. Students and alumni were intrigued by the site tour and discussed among themselves and with Director Xie.

Ms. Sherry Fu thanked Director Xie and SORSA Kunshan Innovation and Start-up Base for a good opportunity of sharing and exchanging great thoughts and interesting conversations. Ms. Fu then shared with alumni current and emerging programme offerings at the China Centre, covering a wide variety of academic fields. Alumni expressed great interests to continue studying and furthering their academic pursuits. Over the past 10 years, the China Centre has supported nearly 1,300 ambitious global MBA students. Besides Committed to offering sustainable learning opportunities, the China Centre regularly organizes talks, networking and alumni visits to local and international organizations as part of China Centre alumni career development series to help with alumni’s career development agenda and expand their network.

After the visit, an informal alumni social mixer was held near the Kunshan Municipal People’s Government where the delegation was able to learn more the city’s culture and development and at the same time connect and network with each other.  Having started their own business, some alumni shared the challenges faced, raised discussion among the group and in the end helpful advice and help were shared and offered by other alumni with relevant expertise.  The alumni vist to Kunshan was productive and successful and as one alumnus commented, “truly a great occasion to hear about the exciting developments taking place at the China Centre and meet friends old and new!”