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The 3rd New Generation Entrepreneurship Mentor Forum

Published: Mar 12,2019

The 3rd New Generation Entrepreneurship Mentor Forum was held on March 9th at Courtyard Marriot in San Diego joined by more than 70 attendees including LEAP fellows, young Entrepreneurs and professionals in biotech areas. This event was organized by LEAP fellows Dr. Jane Hsu and Dr. Jones Chow under direction of Science and Technology Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (LASD), and co-organized by Southern California Taiwanese Biotechnology Association (SoCal TBA) and San Diego Chinese American Science and Engineering Association (SDCASEA).

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Richard Chang, the Director of Science and Technology Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles delivered the opening remarks. He mentioned that this event took place in San Diego and organized by LEAP fellows both for the first time. Thanks to LEAP fellows’ great efforts for this event. Director Chang emphasized that in order to cultivate high-level scientific, innovative, and entrepreneurial talents in Taiwan, to connect the high-quality talent with the world, and to establish our innovation platform, Minister of Science and Technology Taiwan Liang Gee Chen launched the “LEAP Program”, sending around 50 doctorates per year to companies abroad to conduct internships for up to 18 months.

This year there are 25 LEAP fellows interned in Southern California, among them 13 are doing internship in San Diego. Most fellows in San Diego are in the biotechnology companies such as BioLegend and one at an emerging artificial intelligent startup Kneron. San Diego region plays an important role in LEAP program. Director Chang encouraged LEAP fellows to try their best during internship to earn recognition in the host companies since the government has thrust lots of resources on this program and has anticipations that the fellows will earn valuable experience that eventually feedback to Taiwan.

The forum featured biotechnology combined with artificial intelligence. Several entrepreneurs were invited to share their experiences of starting up a company. The first speaker, Dr. Yu-Hwa Lo, who is the co-founder of NanoCellect and also a Professor of UCSD, talked about his journey from academia to entrepreneurship. NanoCellect was founded in 2009 with the core Technology in microfluids to create innovative tools for cell analysis and sorting. Professor Lo specifically mentioned that he is very happy to participate in the LEAP program. The two Taiwan-trained LEAP fellows have done a very positive influence on their company's development.

Dr. Maurice Shen from Toronto, Canada was presented in the activity and introduced his company BenchSci. BenchSci is the antibody search platform established by his own research needs since it once took him tremendous time to look up essays to find the right antibody to do the experiment. Maurice and his team developed this antibody search engine/platform based on artificial intelligence. He also mentioned that the startups must have a quick response and adaptability to market demand.

In addition, the founder of Kura Care, KJ Yang shared the entrepreneurial process of providing artificial intelligence solution in medical needs. KJ Yang mentioned that it is crucial to keep curiosity in order to increase the chances of finding cross-domain cooperation, and spoke of the importance of analyzing customer’s needs. In the end, he once again emphasized the significance of execution. The startups must move quickly to take product prototypes to challenge the market and seize the market opportunity.

Dr. Andy Lin, a LEAP fellow who currently interns at Taboola, a big data company, presented his failure experiences of co-founding FlyElephant which was an e-commerce company. Dr. Lin said that with every failure you are more likely to succeed “next time”. The key is to know how we fail. In his talk, he re-compared each scenarios of decision making in his past entrepreneurial journey, and reflected on himself of how to make the right decisions. It was very inspiring and a good lesson for young entrepreneurs.

Dr. Charles Chiu, the Chief Science Officer at Surface Bioadvances, Inc., a biotechnology company to develop novel drugs, vaccines and probiotic from the human skin microbiome, shared his experience in driving long-distance trips to pitch around in the states in this past year. Dr. Chiu appreciated LEAP program to make his life different. He said that the LEAP fellows will harvest one day after they return to Taiwan by transforming what they have seen in this year and waiting for the seeds to germinate.

In the panel discussion, all the speakers were invited to take various questions from the audience and discuss with each other of how to succeed in entrepreneurship.

Zoe Hsu, the officer of Science and Technology Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, briefed the "Leaders In Future Trend (LIFT2.0)" program which aims to establish a platform for actively matching overseas talent with domestic industries, academia, and research institutes both online and offline, helping them find employment in Taiwan during lunch time.

The Program provides round trip airplane tickets and covers all meals and accommodations for overseas talent returning to Taiwan. The deadline for the first batch is April 30, 2019 (Tuesday) at 12:00 PM (Taipei time GMT+08:00).

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