Lingnan University adopts a multi-pronged approach in nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship

Education | 2 Nov 2018

Lingnan University, Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP) and IAFOR co-hosted the Conference for Higher Education Research (CHER) Hong Kong 2018 from 19 to 21 October 2018 at Lingnan University. The theme of the Conference was "Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Value". CHER-Hong Kong was the first conference being held at Lingnan University after the Secretariat of APHERP - an Inter-University Research Consortium for Higher Education, originally based in East-West Center in the USA - officially moved to Lingnan University. To celebrate deeper collaboration of APHERP with Asian partners, a special unveiling ceremony was held on 19 October 2018 in the presence of Professor Leonard Cheng, President of Lingnan University, Professor Deane Neubauer, East-West Center, Professor Joshua Mok, Vice-President of Lingnan University, Mr Patrick Wong, Chairman of Lingnan Education Organization, Dr William Leung, Chairman of Lingnan University Alumni Association and Dr Frank Law, ex-Chairman of the Court..

Innovation and entrepreneurship are a natural direction of development for contemporary liberal arts universities, especially so in the age of the Internet with rapid development in the areas of automation and artificial intelligence, said Professor Leonard Cheng, President of Lingnan University.

In his keynote address at the Conference for Higher Education Research (CHER) Hong Kong 2018 held on 19 October at Lingnan University, Professor Cheng shared his experience of the entrepreneurial programs and developments at Lingnan University to illustrate the theme of the Conference : 'Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Value'.

Governments in East Asia have called for a university-industry-business collaboration to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in light of the growing importance of technology advancement and its potential impact on social and economic changes. The Conference set out to examine how governments, universities, industries and businesses, and the community at large in Asia work together to not only promote innovation and entrepreneurship for economic progress, but also for social development and cultural enhancement.

"As a liberal arts university, Lingnan is focused on innovation and entrepreneurship without losing sight of humanities and values," highlighted Professor Cheng."The programs developed at the university have always had this core value in mind: Education for Service."

As such, from the beginnings of entrepreneurial programs at Lingnan to its newly launched entrepreneurial initiative, the University is dedicated to creating an understanding of entrepreneurship as a pathway to leadership; to allow its students to identify social needs and to innovate ideas to solve these problems.

Originally starting off with an introduction of entrepreneurial programs - such as talks by entrepreneurs organized by the Students Services Centre - Professor Cheng took the initiative a few steps further by engaging the Faculty of Business to develop courses in entrepreneurships, partnerships with startups and linking up with their counterparts on mainland China.

In taking up social entrepreneurship by the University's Office of Service Learning, tapping into entrepreneurship training and related opportunities by China Economic Research Programme (CERP) in Shenzhen, as well as partnering with overseas organizations such as Stanford's Design School, the University's Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative was created in April 2018.

Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative (LEI) is a collaborative Innovation and Entrepreneurship platform newly established to empower entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors to take action for inclusive growth.

For example, LEI has initiated the I-Gen Series & Startup Weekend. The Inter-Generation and Innovation Generation series aimed to promote quality of life among the elderly and individuals through participatory learning, benefitting 359 people.

Besides that, the University has also implemented the Lingnan High-Flyers Programme. With a generous donation of HK$600,000 from Tin Ka Ping Foundation, the program is aimed at cultivating outstanding students with entrepreneurial mindset and leadership capabilities. The University has also cooperated with world renowned corporate coaching company Dale Carnegie Training to offer executive level workshops, projects coaching and leadership trainings for students.

Lingnan also hopes to continue working with CERP on their 'Linking You to Innovation' Entrepreneurial Training and Internship Programme, which aims to enhance students' entrepreneurial skills and practical knowledge through meeting up with startups entrepreneurs, attending classes, participating in internship programmes, and visiting makerspaces and innovative enterprises.

In the way forward, the University hopes to develop an entrepreneurship minor by bringing together relevant courses offered by various faculty and student affairs' offices, innovation and entrepreneurship projects, and collaboration with peer universities in Hong Kong and beyond.

Lingnan University also hopes that the HKSAR government supports entrepreneurship activities and projects for young people, with assistance of the governments and collaboration of firms in the Greater Bay Area.

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