By Marisol Rueda
Hubs for research, innovation, and global entrepreneurship are the world’s new development centers. They have a commercial base for connecting services, as well as seeking partners and investors. However, their goal is not only to accelerate startups, but also to foster cooperation for joint development of educational technology and innovation. Among these, China has become an important magnet for development and investment and has managed to catch the eye of companies like Facebook.
The growth of Chinese hubs in the past decade is due to a government strategy for generating and attracting both innovation and technological development. China intends to stop being a cheap manufacturing economy and become a leader in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. Its support plan for domestic and foreign startups encourages investment and attracts entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Aware of these changes, Tec de Monterrey has begun exploring an opportunity to enter new markets in China. “The Jianggan District government of Hangzhou city (Asia’s nascent Silicon Valley) invited us to create a hub in order to take Tec technology to the Chinese and Asian market”, said Arturo Molina, the university’s Vice Rector for Research and Development.
The Asian initiative is part of Tec de Monterrey’s 2030 vision for connecting with other innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, in order to internationalize activities for Tec technology transfer.
Strategy in China
In 2018, the university signed a cooperation agreement with the Jianggan District government of Hangzhou city.
“We are partners for fostering an exchange of talent and supporting the acceleration of companies, so that they can go to China to develop or launch their products in that market”, said Patricia Mora, Global Innovations HUBS Director for Tec de Monterrey.
This agreement has allowed the Tec to create a platform for presenting Mexican potential and technology, as well as seeking innovations that benefit both countries. The Tec’s office in Hangzhou connects up funding opportunities from the local government itself and liaises with companies that require products or services from Mexican companies.
The hope is that in five years time, there will 25 startups in China, as well as 35 intellectual property licenses and 50 IP registrations.
The Tec has also liaised with Chinese universities so that Mexican entrepreneurs and students can train their teams in Hangzhou, connect remotely to take classes with Chinese researchers, and set up laboratories in both places. Over this period, 500 undergraduate and 75 postgraduate students will go on exchanges at Chinese universities, and 50 research professors will make academic visits.
Vaccitech (which creates vaccines via recombinant biotechnology) and Global Nano Additive (which produces highly efficient lubricant additives that reduce CO2 emissions by up to 89%) are two of the startups that Tec de Monterrey has taken to China.
With an Eye to Emerging Economies
The Tec project goes beyond Silicon Valley or Boston, places where technology generated in the institution can enter markets such as the United States or Canada.
That’s why it’s analyzing opportunities in new markets, such as Israel, where it’s looking for technology that can be applied in a Mexican setting. These are specific areas, such as smart technologies in the case of smart cities. “The opportunity is for creating Joint Ventures to find out how we can test technologies in the areas of mobility, security, and intelligence, which may not be our own, but can be adapted here”, explained Doctor Molina.
Finally, the Tec is exploring possibilities with the Purdue Research Foundation, in Indiana, USA, with whom it has signed a memorandum of understanding for technological commercialization and bi-national startup creation. It has also signed an agreement with the Kaist Global Commercialization Center in South Korea to identify commercialization opportunities.
5 Advantages of Hubs for Innovation, Research, and Entrepreneurship
1.- They provide access to cutting-edge technological laboratories and create innovation hubs linked to universities.
2.- They make a commitment to the knowledge economy and scientific human capital.
3.- They favor the internationalization of companies.
4.- Economic activity is accelerated and boosted by tax incentives or investments.
5.- Startup incubators share resources, generate knowledge, and create new networks.