According to the “Startup Ecosystem Rankings 2020” report released by StartupBlink, a global startup network research organization, in June 2020, Taipei City ranked 14th in the Asia-Pacific region and was named the fastest-growing innovative city in startup ecosystems. Taipei is undoubtedly Taiwan's leading capital of entrepreneurship. To assist the development of new startup teams, the Taipei City Government has enacted a number of innovation and entrepreneurship-friendly policies, including: Incentives and subsidies to stimulate funding and investment momentum for startups, relevant incentives for startup incubation and R&D activities, innovation and startup facility construction, hosting startup competitions and events, etc., and the introduction of various domestic and global resources into the startup scene, etc. As of November 23, the “Project of Subsidies & Incentives For Taipei Industry” has approved a total of NT$267,984,018 in subsidies to 189 companies in Taipei. The Taipei City Government is committed to creating a startup ecosystem that is geared towards the needs of startup teams, further reinforcing Taipei City’s status as a preferred destination for entrepreneurship in Asia.
The Department of Economic Development of the Taipei City Government hosted the “2020 Taipei International Startup Week” from November 17 to 22, with a series of events such as: StartUP@Taipei Global Linkage Forum, StartUP@Taipei Demo Day, Taipei Prominent Enterprise Awards Ceremony, StartUP@Taipei Pavilion, POP UP ASIA, and other exciting activities to assist startup teams to absorb diverse innovation and entrepreneurial perspectives. The series of events provided a platform for outstanding new entrepreneurs to shine and accelerate the process of communication and integration between Taipei and the international startup scene. Members of the public were also invited to participate in the activities to support budding entrepreneurs, and further propel the startup trend in Taipei. Furthermore, “t.Hub,” a center of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity, officially opened its doors on November 27 through the combined efforts of the Taipei City Government. As the largest startup incubation center in Taiwan, it is hoped that this facility together with startup teams will set in motion a blueprint for accelerated industry innovation in Taipei City.
The ongoing pandemic is showing no signs of subsiding. Faced with these unprecedented challenges and turbulent times, how each city and its entrepreneurs apply technology and innovation to overcome the crisis is not only the key to driving the next wave of a digital revolution but also the cornerstone of the sustainable development of urban industries.
Taipei International Startup Week | The Convergence of Startup Momentums with a Global Scope
- StartUP@Taipei | Leveraging the Power of Venture Capital to Unleash Startup Potential
The entrepreneurial process is full of uncontrollable variables. According to the latest studies by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the survival rate of startups within 5 years stands at only 1%. To enhance the entrepreneurial energy of new startups, the Taipei City Government has organized a series of innovation and entrepreneurship activities that integrates capital, technology, marketing, talent, and knowledge resources within a global framework to assist high-potential startup teams by creating a stable venture capital ecosystem.
In order to enable new startups to grasp key trends, the Taipei City Government hosted the “StartUP@Taipei Global Linkage Forum” on the morning of November 17. Experts from cloud computing, network service providers, international venture capital firms and AI research units were invited to share and discuss key topics in this forum. The AWS Solutions Architect Team, Yushan Ventures, Infinity Ventures, and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s CAIM (Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine) Team as well as other leading industry experts jointly discussed digital innovation and digital transformation applications and case studies. They then analyzed how new creative teams can use innovative technology to leverage the advantages of industry development in the post-pandemic “new normal,” as well as how to deploy resources in advance to expand global horizons.
For the “StartUP@Taipei Demo Day,” six startup teams that are part of the “Taipei City Startup Team Mentoring Project,” including “Advanced Biomedical Materials Taiwan Ltd.,” “Enlighten Materials Co., LTD.,” “Instant Nanobiosensors Co., Ltd.,” “Cancerfree Biotech Ltd.,” “Mediot Co., Ltd.” and “LumiSTAR Biotechnology, Inc.” as well as other digital medical innovation startups conducted sales pitches. Instant Nanobiosensors Co., Ltd. and Cancerfree Biotech Ltd. stood out among the crowd, and won the opportunity for further discussions with venture capital firms regarding possible investments. The “Mr. Popularity for Innovation Awards,” with votes cast by attending VIPs, was awarded to LumiSTAR Biotechnology, Inc., Mediot Co., Ltd. and ENLIGHTEN MATERIALS CO., LTD. Experts provided suggestions on their proposals in the hope to promote visibility and matching opportunities.
In order to demonstrate the achievements of investments in enterprise innovation and industry development, the Department of Economic Development, Taipei City Government has conducted the selection process for the “Taipei Prominent Enterprise Awards” since 2014. Enterprises that have received the awards and subsidies of Taipei City showcased their results within five major criteria - “Enterprises Innovative Power,” “Corporate Competitiveness,” “Corporate Market Power,” “Influence on Industry, Economy and Society” and “Influence on Corporate Social Responsibility.” So far, a total of 60 outstanding companies have received this award. The “2020 Taipei Prominent Enterprise Awards” recognized “R&D Excellence Award” and “Jury Award” double award winners- aetherAI Co., Ltd., HaHow, NuTransfer, and Goldencrops and 16 other outstanding companies and their founders. Award categories include R&D Excellence Award, Jury Award, Investment Model Award, Outstanding Youth Entrepreneurship Award, Outstanding Female Entrepreneurship Award, among others. The companies were commended on their innovative technologies and solutions to effectively promote industry transformation and upgrades to their business model is upgraded to create a new innovation ecosystem. Through the award selection process, Taiwanese startup teams are encouraged to enter the world stage, recruit international talents, and obtain global resources for their ventures. This will provide them with real-world applications and opportunities for the accelerated development of new industries!
- 2020 Meet Taipei Startup Festival | Demonstrating creativity and Conquering the World
Held annually since 2014, the first large-scale event brand for Taiwan’s innovation and startup scene, and one of the largest and most comprehensive startup expos in Asia- “Meet Taipei Startup Festival” has once again returned to much fanfare! This time, a total of 532 exhibitors converged at the EXPO Dome, EcoARK, and Yuanshan Plaza of Taipei Expo Park to demonstrate their latest products to the public and potential investors. In addition to connecting the cross-domain fields of 5G, XR, and blockchain technologies in this event, the Department of Economic Development, Taipei City Government also established the “Meet Taipei StartUP@Taipei Pavilion,” which attracted nearly 60 outstanding startup teams from Taipei City’s startup mentoring program and academic incubation center mentoring team. Together with the All Hands International Job Fair and the Taipei Prominent Enterprise Awards Ceremony, the series of activities fully demonstrate the vitality and achievements of Taiwan's startup companies.
“Meet Taipei” focused on four zones: Biotech and Life Sciences Zone, Lifestyle Zone, Innovative Applications and Technology Services Zone. In addition to the scientific and technological development of modern TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) health-preserving concepts and functional textiles, the Biotech Zone also includes exhibits on dental 3D printing medical materials and digitized systems, stem cell technology and beauty products, etc. In the Lifestyle Zone, boutique children's clothing made with organic cotton and bamboo salt products featuring both practicality and fashion style attracted the most attention; Innovative Applications Zone featured drone equipment, 4D aerial photography data services, smart sports technology integration services, and other attention-grabbing technologies. As for the Technology Services Zone, in addition to a featured long-term care platform solution to meet the needs of long-term healthcare, there was also a mobile advertising platform that combined the use of new technologies to assist advertisers in precise marketing placement and cost control. Furthermore, in view of the huge potential for the future development of electric vehicles, on-site exhibitors also provided complete end-to-end solutions to resolve electric vehicle charging issues. This demonstrates that the exhibitors not only showcased a lot of innovative potential, but also provides conventional companies to find a path for future growth. Cross-domain resource collaboration and exchanges will become a catalyst for Taiwan's innovative industries to move forward towards the global stage. Together with the accumulation of industry energy and know-how, the process of digital transformation will gain further momentum.
- POP UP ASIA | Accelerating Craft Entrepreneurial Exchanges
Pop Up Asia Trade Fair, the final highlight exhibition was held in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park from November 19th to 22nd, marking a perfect grand finale to the 2020 Taipei International Startup Week. Taipei’s cultural and creative industries have always been vibrant, and their links with the international community have become increasingly close. The theme of this year’s POP UP ASIA is “RECONNECT.” In an unprecedented first, the fair connected craft companies from throughout Asia and craft enthusiasts in the form of “online/offline” simultaneous exhibitions, spreading the influence of the local craft industry, with the possibility of establishing cross-border partnerships and creative exchange experiences.
The POP UP ASIA, held since 2016, has not only set a precedent for the entrepreneurs in Asia to organize exchanges between entrepreneurs and companies but also integrated handicrafts startup trends, enhancing the possibility of connecting with companies and developing business models. As of today, it has continued to link more than 1,000 craft brands and platforms through channel support, market linkage and co-investment, and cross-industry partnerships. This year, the expo once again exceeded expectations, featuring exhibitors from Taiwan and foreign countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, and other countries, as well as local creators and brand teams to a total of 300 creative themed pavilions. Themes spanned digital transformation, indigenous art, and social innovations. The spirit of cross-domain and cross-border exhibitions is well and alive with the theme “Let the things you like become a part of your life.”
Although this exhibition was affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the pre-purchase tickets grew by 20% compared with last year. The number of visitors reached about 50,000, and the extended business opportunities and NTD value exceeded hundreds of millions. For Taiwan’s local highlights, the organizer of this exhibition cooperated with the “A GOOOD LIFE Festival” to share and promote social innovation and environmental protection concepts through interactive exhibition experiences and selected products. In addition, featured brands in this exhibition also include floral designs, pet products made of recycled PET plastics and other environmentally friendly materials as well as environmentally friendly skincare products, and veteran Taiwanese cultural and creative brands, etc. The expo was largely not affected by the ongoing pandemic, with major craft brands from Asia gathering at this important trade fair. This was also a great opportunity to showcase the abundant creative energy of Taiwanese craft brands to the world.
The Hong Kong Theme Pavilion not only combines Hong Kong’s intangible culture “Paper Craft Qilin,” but also includes elements of local literature, tea tasting, and handicraft workshops. An “Online Pavilion” was also set up to meet the diverse exhibition needs. At the same time, the online exhibition area is displayed at the workshop, allowing participants to communicate with creators online, providing a borderless creative exchange experience, and jointly facing the market challenges and paradigm shifts in the post-pandemic “new normal.”
Largest in Taiwan | t.Hub officially opened
The highly anticipated t.Hub Taipei startup space officially opened its doors on November 27. The total area of the startup base is 7,865 pings. Not only was the project constructed with record-breaking efficiency, but it was also regarded as the core development project of the Neihu 2.0 project by the Taipei City Government. Therefore, the introduction of private capital and professional expertise helped realize the first national “Technology Facility-Startup Incubator Center and Supplemental Facilities” BOT development project. In addition to the multi-functional industry cultivation and research and development space, the essence of this BOT project stressed the use of this center as a “public facility.” Therefore, t.Hub includes a broad range of public service facilities such as information communication, technology, optoelectronics, green energy, biotechnology, and finance services to promote industry development. Through this project, it is hoped that public-private collaboration and resource sharing will drive the industry transformation and upgrade of Taipei City.
A month prior to the official opening of t.Hub, the internal occupancy rate had already exceeded expectations, reaching more than 70%. This can be credited to companies that have moved into t.Hub, who hold optimistic outlooks on the potential of various new industries. In the future, t.Hub will integrate with the neighboring Neihu Technology Park to create high potential industry synergies. According to the latest estimates made by the Taipei City Government, the 50-year contract period of this project can generate approximately NT$9.183bn in revenue in addition to 3,000 additional new jobs. In addition, the combined total turnover of the startup teams in the incubators can reach NT$1.5bn, which is estimated to bring about NT$21bn in economic output value each year.
The “t” in “t.Hub” represents Taipei, Taiwan, Technology, Trust, Talent, Touchpoint, and other meanings. “Hub” represents the convergence of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity in one central hub. t.Hub is the largest incubation center in Taiwan. The space includes an industry innovation research and development center, an incubation acceleration center, a talent cultivation center, a co-working space, and an experimental maker space. In the future, it will also cultivate smart city-related fields, fintech applications, digital cultural and creative industries, digital tourism, new e-commerce platforms, and other innovative technology industries, and other diverse fields. In addition, there are also incubation rooms for office affairs, shared offices, multi-functional meeting rooms that meet diverse needs, and other maker space. There are also multimedia facilities and photo studios for flexible use by startup teams.
In addition, t.Hub has positioned itself as a base of support for connections and collaborations with Neihu Technology Park. In addition to comprehensively integrating current technological developments, it will also attract talents and resources from new startup teams at home and abroad, who can use t.Hub as a “node” for collaboration with the well-established industrial supply chain of Neihu Technology Park. Based on “Smart Interconnection” and “Lohas City,” t.Hub will consolidate local and global resources to create a future industrial innovation and entrepreneurship base, and drive the overall accelerated industry transformation and upgrade of Taipei City.
Optimistic about the future use and trends in innovative incubation bases, The Department of Economic Development of the Taipei City Government is planning 23 innovation and startup bases. Currently, 10 startup bases have been launched and are fully operational, offering a total floor area exceeding 620,000 square meters, including t.Hub, 13+, Taipei Innovation, POPOPTaipei, MISA Academy, ARK.Taipei(N24). TPE is set to open soon. In addition to hoping to drive industrial transformation and upgrade, it will also inject new energy and momentum into Taipei's innovative industries.
In response to the digital transformation in 2030, which is expected to contribute more than 60% of Taiwan's GDP, Taipei City is well poised to become a driving force for the “new normal” and seize opportunities for development, all thanks to its unique advantages in fostering innovation. Although the ongoing global pandemic has brought many losses, it also demonstrates the importance of accelerating the transformation of the economy. Only with a strong and innovative economic structure and thriving industry development can the crisis be turned into a business opportunity for entrepreneurship!