The first things that come in our mind when we talk about Beijing are The Great Wall of China, Alibaba Company, Made in China Products, huge buildings and factories. The city has so many wonderful historical and beautiful places to visit, for example the Forbidden City, which is the largest and best-preserved ancient architectural complex in the world, the Temple of Heaven where Ming and Qing emperors performed solemn rituals for bountiful harvests, the Summer Palace the emperor’s magnificent garden retreat, and the Ming Tombs which is stately and majestic mausoleums of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors and the wonders of the world genuinely inspiringly of the Great Wall.
Our visit was however, not a touristic visit. Three of Act Global team went to take a part in this conference hosted by our Chinese Partner. The youth entrepreneurship forum is one of the activities from a 2 years project Capacity Building Project called “Bridge between Europe and Asia called Synergy”. The main aim of this forum is to make more opportunities for young entrepreneurs to connect with each other and provide an internationalized and multicultural stage for them to show their entrepreneurship. There were 5 different countries taking part in this forum, which are China, Poland, Indonesia, Lithuania and Slovenia. Unfortunately the Turkey, Kazakhstan and Krygyzstan representative were not there to join us.
There were 15 participants from 5 different countries also around 80 local people in China attended during the forum. The forum event started from 27th of March and finished on 31st of March 2019, where we arrived on the 26th March from Bali. On the next day, with our friends from different countries. On afternoon, we had a stroll around the area near to our accommodation in Haidian District. The Chinese host partner took us for the welcome dinner in the evening.
The first day of the event, we went to the venue where the conference will take place, which was located in Xicheng District. We organized and prepared the materials needed for the conference, we also did some team building games to get to know each other better. During the conference, we also had an exhibition area to showcase the info about our NGO and business ideas from the entrepreneurs team, so we prepared the posters to display also on that day.
The forum was officially begun the next day (29th of March). Started with opening ceremony by Ms. Lin Yue, the head of the Evergreen NGO partner from China, she gave the welcoming speech and continued with Michal from the NGO Poland as Project Coordinator explained and introduced the Bridge Project. The activities continued with Round Table between Young Entrepreneurs from Europe and Asia.
Lithuanian (Karolis Stirbys) and Indonesian (Aini) NGO Representatives also three Chinese representative (Ti Huang from Deputy Secretary-General of China Youth Talents Research Association), (Yanlin Long as co-founder of Social Entreprise Planet, Secretary-General of Top 100 Chinese Influential Investment Association), (Man Hu as headmaster of Beijing Normal University Student Employment and Entrepreneurship Guidance Centre of Student Work Department) took part during the round table.
The subject of discussion were about youth and sociopreneurship. Some discussion brought up during the Q&A session were: the type of entrepreneurial models that can show the social responsibility, how to boost the confidence and enthusiasm of youth, government regulations and support area of young entrepreneurs can have in the countries.
After coffee break, the forum continued with free talk from the NGO members and presentation about the business ideas on the exhibition. The next activity was called “Entrepreneurs Roadshow” where Lukasz Pawlowski from Poland presented his Vegan Pillow Business and Jernej Ursic from Slovenia presented his Coffee House Business concept. From China Representatives, Le Li, the founder of Evergreen NGO from Xi’an branch presented their social entrepreneurship model. there was also Chen An who presented the entrepreneur on model manufacturing business, Jing Wei, the founder of Evergreen from Qingdao branch presented her NGO.
In the evening, we got a chance to represent Indonesia during the Intercultural Night. We presented our culture, nature, fun facts and traditional songs and dance. We also presented our traditional food such as spicy and sweet chips from tropical fruit, sweets and candies and macaronis and mie kriuk brought by Annisa and her culinary business.
The second day of the forum was started with “Entrepreneurs Story” talks from Indonesia (Annisa Fauziah) with her culinary business “Have Fun Food” and Poland (Zofia Siwy) with her artwork business “Manufaktura Zofik” also from three chinese representative business journey liked baby shoes business and art craft made from paper. During the Entrepreneurs Story, we learnt a lot about the different experience challenges and opportunities when starting and running a business.
The forum ended by the Awarding Ceremony for each representatives who took part during the roadshow and entrepreneurs story. After that, we took photos together with all the participants. In the Afternoon, we visited a traditional Chinese market in Shichahai before we went to visit Xisi CMC (centre for migrant children) in Xicheng District.
During the visit to Xisi CMC, we had a warm welcome from the children in Xisi CMC. They explained about the activities done in Xisi for childrens liked Plantation, Gardening, Crafting Art from papers, drawing and writing with traditional ink and many more. We had a chance to try the calligraphy writing with the traditional tools and ink there. We also saw children’s performance where they sang and played traditional instruments. We also had a chance to explore the Hutong area guided by the local children who spoke about the historical story about the area. In the evening after dinner, we went to Guanyuan CMC for chinese inter-cultural night and did some interactive activities with the local children and elderly volunteers.
We were then divided into 3 groups to do 3 different activities with the children; painting activities, sewing bracelet, and playing traditional games with the children. The evening finished with the intercultural night by the chinese hosts by explaining the culture, nature and also a demonstration of Chi Gong / Tai Chi by some volunteer from the centre.On the last day, we went to Beitucheng Park to play some games and to explore the area through the eyes of the local citizen. . We learned about the history of Beitucheng Park and what the river was used in the past.
After that, we went to the Evergreen Office in Chaoyang District to do the evaluation meeting and to discuss ideas about further cooperation to continue this project. After that, we went with the local volunteers to visit the Olympic Park Beijing which was used for the Olympic Games in 2008.
We also spent our last days to visit the majestic Great Wall of China and hiked a few kilometres around walls which covers some amazing views to the beautiful mountains.
Overall, we had a great memories and gained some new friends and experiences from our project forum in Beijing. We will miss Beijing with all the busy streets, beautiful buildings and architecture, history and all the people we met during the event