Sydney-based startup accelerator muru-D is taking its new class of startups and its mentors to China to visit Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing. And it makes excellent sense.
If you think getting a startup off the ground and growing your business in your local market is a challenge, try doing it in a completely foreign market like China. Although the internet has loads of information on the trials and tribulations of doing business in China, and networking events abound on the topic, there is nothing that takes the place of actually visiting a potential market and meeting up with the locals.
The Australian accelerator, muru-D recently announced its second class of 11 startups accepted to its accelerator program. Successful startups receive $40,000 seed capital investment in return for 6 % equity in the business. The chosen startups get access six months of business support, a collaborative workspace, mentoring and coaching to help them grow, develop and expand.
This time around the mentoring goes way beyond the norm. The entire group and muru-D will be in China on a 10-day trip next month, meeting with local startups, investors, the media and government officials. The startups will fund their own trip but muru-D is organising introductions and the itinerary.
For startups that want to scale up to a global business, an exploratory look at the China market makes sense. After all, as the world’s largest market China offers startups endless opportunities. China overtook the US as the new economic powerhouse last October and it’s well-known that the Chinese government is committed to establishing China as the Internet of Things (IoT) centre of the world by 2020. This means China offers massive scope for innovators.
At muru-D startups are encouraged to find interns of mainland Chinese background to help them with their China strategy. They are key to finding local business partners for Australian startups that don’t have much background on China or Asia to help.
The accelerator is running the MOOC Plus competition to select local entrepreneurial students in China to join muru-D while they are in China.