The Startup Leadership Program took place in Beijing today at the office of Cadwalader. SLP has been running for one or two batches before this, and being volunteer-driven and relatively new in China, had been progressing in fits and starts so I am glad that there is a new group willing to get it going this year.
Incubation/ acceleration/ entrepreneur training programs has ballooned in the last year. There are now many locally run, “foreign-inspired” programs modelled after Y-Combinator, 500 Startups, and others. Foreign-based, equity-driven programs such as Founders’ Institute has not had success coming in due to regulations around foreigners investing into or owning internet companies.
Beyond branding, there really is not much the non-Chinese programs offer when compared to the local programs. Content is very much local, and especially so in China where what we do in marketing in, say, the Bay Area, is not the same in China because of different channels. Sure, quantifiable data are measured the same way (MAU is MAU anywhere it is measured), but to listen to an “international expert” speak in a foreign language (English) and describing what they do on foreign channels (eg, Facebook) is difficult to relate. Hence, most if not all programs have local mentors, and rarely include international mentors.
We work closely with local programs but participate in the foreign ones when we can too.
This batch of SLP at Cadwalader was run by volunteers from Peking University and Startup Noodle. I participated as a mentor and heard and gave feedback on the teams that presented. The afternoon went by quickly.