|Tao Xueyan, a graduate of Wenzheng College, delivers a speech at her alma mater. [sdwz.cn]
When Tao Xueyan set up her own business four years ago, it came as no surprise to her teachers and classmates at Wenzheng College. She had displayed a budding spirit of entrepreneurship when she ran a rock 'n' roll band in her school days.
"It was not for money. As long as we were allowed to use certain venues for free, it was one-of-a-kind experience for the band players. I learned a great deal from negotiations with companies," says Tao, 32.
In 2015, she took over her family business, a Wuxi-based contract factory for the textile group, Heng Yuan Xiang, or HYX. The early days running the adult-underwear business based on an outdated decades-old model was a stern challenge.
Luckily, when the second-child policy was carried out nationwide, Tao seized the opportunity. She convinced the brand's management team to launch a kids' underwear production line at her factory in 2017. Thanks to these efforts, her company is now in profit, selling their products in over 100 stores and online platforms.
Most of her classmates who began startups at college, if still running, have enjoyed great success, Tao says. And she was happy to see an encouraging environment for younger students eager to try out their business ideas at the college.
"When I returned to the school a few years ago, I saw there's a building showcasing students' businesses. Every booth was an office provided by the school for free, and each business was mentored by a teacher. I had not imagined all this before," she says.
But Tao says two things remain unchanged over the years — the relatively free environment at the college and the sense of responsibility that students learn there.
"The teachers are younger and set fewer limits on us. Student clubs also play a role. I was the rock band's manager, for example, but more importantly I had to hand it over to my successor. It was more or less like running a company," she says.
If there is one thing that graduates of Wenzheng College have in common, it is the confidence that can be found in all of them, says Tao. "We are confident that we can make a difference to society," she says.
（Source: China Daily）