Wed, Aug 01, 2012 - Page 14 News List

MOE sponsorship program fosters young businesses

Staff writer, with CNA

A sponsorship program initiated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) has helped young graduates establish 156 companies over the past three years, a government official said yesterday.

Launched in 2009, the ministry’s U-Start program offers six months of training courses and venture capital of NT$350,000 (US$11,685) to college graduates who want to start their own business.

SURVIVAL RATE

It is not easy to set up a company, said Ni Chou-hua (倪周華), a division chief at the Department of Higher Education, adding that only about 5 percent of new small and medium-sized firms manage to survive the first five years.

A total of 35 percent of the companies, most of which employ between five and 10 employees, are still operating successfully, which is far better than expected, Ni said.

Many of these companies focus on creative products.

For example, a company set up by a group of former industrial design students from National Cheng Kung University has won several design awards and is currently working in partnership with electronics firms to launch more products.

Another company, run by former students of Kun Shan University, has developed products featuring traditional paper folding artworks that are sold under the brand name Love Gift.

REVIEW PROCESS

This year, the program will offer assistance to 40 businesses, the ministry said, adding that it is reviewing business proposals submitted by 164 groups from 67 colleges across the nation.

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