Ying De Group and CIDAUK announce 11th China UK Entrepreneurship Competition for UK SMEs

60 – 100 businesses compete for access to £30 million China UK Enterprise Investment Fund

The annual China UK Entrepreneurship Competition has a long tradition of facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise between the UK and China in the fields of business, technology, culture and education.  More than 200 teams had participated in the competition each year since its launch in 2006.  Now in its 11th year, the competition, co-organised by Ying De Group and the China Innovation and Development Association, UK (CIDAUK), was unveiled at an event on 16th July 2018 at Cocoon Networks, London.

Attended by more than 100 companies, the event was opened by Mr Xiaowei Xiang, Minister Counsellor of Cultural Affairs, Embassy of China to the UK.  Dr Vinod Tailor DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire announced the launch of the competition.  The welcome session was led by Mr Boshu Liang, Chief Representative of UK Office, China Association for International Exchange of Personnel, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA); Professor Yu Xiong, Chair of Technology and Operations Management, Northumbria University; and Mr Jack So, Community and Event Manager, Cocoon Networks.  Other distinguished speakers include senior representatives from Ying De Group, CIDAUK, The Growth Company, Satellite Applications Catapult, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and London School of Economics.

This year’s competition saw the announcement of the £30 million China UK Enterprise Investment Fund by Ying De Group and CIDAUK.  Based on the UK Home Office Tier 1

Entrepreneur Visa Scheme, the fund will be provided by high net worth Chinese investors.  Around 60 – 100 UK companies will be given the opportunity to successfully access the fund as well as business skills and networks from the investors.

Mr Xiaowei Xiang, Minister Counsellor of Cultural Affairs, Chinese Embassy: “The UK has been a champion of free trade and international rules, and is working to build a ‘global Britain’.  China stands ready to work with the UK to uphold the multi-lateral trade regime, build an open world economy and make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and win-win for all.”

Mr Andy Han, CEO of Ying De: “The competition represents a golden opportunity for SMEs at a time when Brexit poses so many uncertainties for UK businesses.  The unique features of this scheme will not only give SMEs the unsecured funding that they need to boost their growth domestically, but they will also greatly benefit from the skills and business networks that the Chinese investors provide.  For those businesses with serious ambitions to explore the Chinese market, these intangible assets are indeed highly sought-after, something that other forms of funding cannot necessarily match.”

Professor Yu Xiong, Chair of Technology and Operations Management, Northumbria University: “The competition has enabled a deep cooperation between UK businesses and Chinese investors on a micro-level, allowing both parties to truly reap the rewards from this mutually beneficial relationship.”

Mr Ian Dixon, Access To Finance Team Leader, The Growth Company: “We are constantly looking for innovative ways to help businesses in the North West access the right type of funding that matches their needs for growth.  We are excited about this competition, because we have already witnessed first-hand the positive impact that the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme, on which the funding is based, has on businesses here.  For example, as a result of using the scheme, we have successfully funded to date over £6 million worth of investment into SMEs in the region.  In the process, the businesses have also benefited from the invaluable skills and business networks brought by the Chinese investors. ”

Sharing his experience in international trade and investment, Dr Vinod Tailor, Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, encouraged more UK companies to connect with the Chinese market via the opportunities provided by the competition. Echoing the words of Mr Xiang from the Chinese Embassy, Dr Tailor expects to see further collaborations between the two countries in the near future.

From 16 July to 5 November 2018, SMEs across the UK from the following 9 sectors can enter the competition: finance and accounting; education; marketing; engineering; international trading; fashion; IT; construction and media.  To enter, each company is required to provide a comprehensive business plan and 3 years’ trading history with statutory accounts.  Companies who submit their entries by 6 August 2018 will be given priority to be considered and win the opportunities to pitch in China.  The successful companies will receive £300,000 – 600,000 in funding.

Companies interested in entering the competition can submit their initial details via the link below:

Competition entry



Chris Leung



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