Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Business club to help entrepreneurs find capital sources

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The semi-official Institute for Information Industry (III, 資策會) yesterday inaugurated a private business club that will try to connect the nation's entrepreneurs with local and overseas venture capital firms, in an attempt to internationalize Taiwan's high-tech sector.

"As many as 80 percent of the nation's high-tech companies are small and medium-sized enterprises that enjoy flexibility and creativeness but lack sufficient connections," the institute's president Ke Jyh-sheng (柯志昇) said on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony yesterday.

The "Connect Taiwan" Club is expected to help the nation's entrepreneurs locate capital, talent and technology in the global arena and vice versa, Ke said.

The institute has tentatively targeted the software, biotech and digital content industries as priority sectors to receive assistance from the club, according to the executive.

The club has attracted some 50 local firms, including high-tech firms seeking access to capital and some traditional manufacturers hoping to transform into high-tech players, as well as some investors, said Camilliam Lin (林子玉), manager of the III's Secretariat and Public Affairs office.

The club will also enjoy access to the nation's tens of billions worth of funds with the participation of the Taiwan Venture Capital Association (創投公會), Lin added.

The organization has for the time being not set a target number for fundraising, according to Lin.

The club models itself on the "UCSD Connect" club, with UCSD standing for the University of California, San Diego.

Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of UCSD Connect, also attended yesterday's inauguration ceremony. She said UCSD Connect was established in the mid-1980s and has helped over 800 high-tech companies raise US$1.3 billion in research funds and US$1.2 billion in venture capital over the last 20 years.

Walshok said that the establishment of UCSD Connect has turned San Diego into the largest wireless communication cluster and the third largest biosciences cluster in the US, in a city whose main industries were tourism and national defense.

Take Qualcomm Inc, a designer and supplier of chipsets for the

next-generation code division multiple access (CDMA) telecom technology. The

company is now one of UCSD Connect's most successful cases and has attracted

handset makers like Nokia Oyj, Motorola Inc and Ericsson Ltd to invest in

the city, according to the organization's data, she said.

The operation model has been copied and used in 13 countries, including

Australia, Germany, the UK and South Korea, according to III.

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