This is the second year in a row that Feng Chia University (FCU) brings a delegation to our Summer Program. In this interview with its faculty members, we find out more about the key characteristics of the University, all the work that goes on there and the main takeaways from its EIA participants.

1. What are the key characteristics that drive Feng Chia University? 

Teaching Innovation, Industry and Research Sprouting and International Learning and Cooperation are the key characteristics that drive Feng Chia University. They allow us to implement an education methodology focused on practice and to nurture students who will go on to become interdisciplinary professionals capable of joining the industrial transformation. These characteristics are also essential for us to enhance the international mobility of FCU students.

2. How did you get to know EIA?

EIA was introduced to Feng Chia University by the Dean of the International School of Technology and Management (ISTM), Dr Mitchell M. Tseng, who has known the President of EIA, Alar Kolk, for many years. 

EIA drives the trend of innovation and entrepreneurship at the FCU and integrates all of the key start-up resources at both the University and in industrial consortiums. In turn, Dr. Tseng introduced a disciplined approach to entrepreneurship education to Feng Chia University. 

3. As it is now your second year with EIA, what would you say was your students’ biggest takeaway from the  2018 Summer Program? What are their expectations for 2019? 

Following a 16-hour flight covering more than 9,600 kilometres, we finally arrived at EIA for the 2018 Summer Program and saw all of the other outstanding participants. This made us ask, “what are our own values and strengths?” If you are a student majoring in business, it is hard to tell what your speciality is unless you have work experience or clearly focus on a certain area. 

When students are in Taiwan, they have a strong chance of finding opportunities just by showing ambition and having an intermediate level of English.

The challenges for EIA start during the application process, where students must prove their eagerness to participate as well as their English communication skills. 

Then, during the Summer Program, participants must know how to become key members of their teams and how to show value.  

The skill of observation is also key to great learning at these workshops. It is notable that many start-up ideas come after participants observe some inconvenience in life and then work on a solution to this. During brainstorming, participants are also able to observe what’s going on and organize all of their ideas in a structured way so as to get the best from the discussion. 

In 2019, FCU will bring more students to EIA. Dr Tseng designed the Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) course to better prepare students for this workshop and maximize the benefits of the three-week program.

4. How can FCU students apply to join EIA? What kind of skills are you looking for in those who want to join?

All applicants have to join the Entrepreneurship Weekend, a startup idea workshop and go through a selection process. The key skills we are looking for in EIA participants include proactivity during team discussions as well as their ability to express themselves and the reasons why they want to join EIA. 

Each participant must also recognise the division and contribution of each team member within their group, so peer evaluation is an important part of the workshop. We are looking for students who can take the initiative not only in learning but in all other areas that can lead them to success.

5. Do you have a success story to share about an FCU student who has been to EIA? It can be about an interesting career change, a start-up or any remarkable thing that happened after the Summer Program. 

There is a great success story about a participant who joined EIA 2018. She was a shy girl when she first came to ISTM, but when EIA was introduced to FCU she seized the opportunity to be a participant. When she came back from EIA she was most willing to share all of her stories and experiences with our other students interested in joining EIA the following year. In 2019, she became the President of the Taiwanese Student Association. 

6. What is your plan for EIA in 2020? 

FCU will certainly continue to expand its participation at EIA. This is an opportunity for students to learn and broaden their perspectives and a great chance for FCU to support students with their brilliant ideas. This year, more than one hundred FCU students applied to join EIA, of which 38 were selected to participate. We are not trying to engage in an arms race, but with the feedback that we’ve gotten so far regarding our students’ performance at EIA. We are positive about the future and looking forward to growing both the number and quality of our future delegates. 

7. What role does FCU play in Taiwan’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem?

65% of today’s graduate students will end up in jobs that have not yet been invented. It is therefore critical that FCU endeavours to provide the next generation of leaders with an international outlook and foster skills such as teamwork and workplace adaptability. This will help our students to face the uncertainty and challenges of the future. 

FCU encourages its students to learn by taking a hands-on approach and by developing business cases. 

8. As faculty members, what do you enjoy most at EIA? 

Every day there are high-end entrepreneurs and venture capitalists sharing their experiences with others. Students have the chance to watch inspiring keynotes and be mentored by these professionals directly.

Mentors with various expertise in business, technology, venture capital and more are able to guide students through the process of creating business models and prototyping. They also have the chance to share knowledge and case studies about intellectual property and patent.

Over the course of the three-week workshop, participants move from the initial stages of brainstorming, prototyping and market research to the final stages of pitching to investors and fundraising. This is the exact process required to create a start-up. With participants coming from around the world, students learn how to communicate and cooperate with people from a range of cultures, which could even help them to come up with more innovative start-up ideas.

Want to learn more about the program and how your university can be part of it? Check out this link!