To boost an innovation economy, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has been devoted to fostering the next generation of tech entrepreneurs by offering comprehensive training to the aspirants. One of its endeavors in focus is the From IP to IPO (FITI) program implemented by the Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) of National Applied Research Labs (NARLabs). On June 18, the final competition and award ceremony of round one of the 2021 FITI program was held as an online live-streaming event, where the Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award was granted to three teams: HanDo Lab, VorteSonic, and 碳鑫資材科技 . Each team received a NT$ 1 million prize from MOST and another NT$ 1 million startup fund from sponsoring enterprises. The funds not only provide backing to the startup teams to enter the marketplace but also serve as a recognition of the teams’ excellent technological innovation.
Kwo-Liang Chen, Director General of MOST’s Department of Foresight and Innovation Policies, pre-recorded his motivational remarks for the startup teams.
The FITI program has been held for 16 rounds since 2013 to discover and foster nascent startup talents, especially those from academia and research institutes while providing a stage for the Taiwanese tech startups to showcase their work. The program also connects the startup teams with professional mentors across different fields, including experts from science parks and overseas mentors. These mentors would guide the teams on patent deployment, pitch preparation, precise business model development, and advanced business management during training. In addition, the program also organizes public matchmaking events to help bridge the startup teams with venture capitals and angel investors from home and abroad. All in all, the FITI program can be considered the best partner for young aspirants as they venture into entrepreneurship.
In response to the current development of the COVID-19, this year’s final competition and award ceremony was held online. It was honored by an esteemed panel of judges who joined in remotely and 15 teams who presented their outcomes after undertaking a series of training via video conferencing. Moreover, several program supervisors and distinguished guests pre-recorded their remarks for the event, encouraging the startup teams to tackle all challenges with positivity to change the environment.
All startup teams demonstrated impressive abilities in innovation and development. The teams identified needs, addressed problems with scientific research and technologies, and kick-started their journey with passion, courage, and persistence. A total of 40 startup teams were selected in the first stage to proceed with the following six-month program, which included agenda such as fine-tuning business models, in-depth training, and team evaluation. Next, 15 startup teams were short-listed for the final competition of the Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award. The judges then selected the winners based on market trends, the level of technology incorporated in the teams’ work, and their determination as entrepreneurs.
In his remarks for the award ceremony, Stan Shih, the FITI program’s honorary director of academic affairs and Chairman of StanShih Foundation, called for more young talents to start their entrepreneurship and address meaningful market needs by embracing obstacles or bottlenecks. In this way, they can help boost the competitiveness of Taiwan’s products and technologies, thereby bringing more values to the global community.
MOST has spared no effort in promoting the development of the tech startup sector in Taiwan. To that end, the FITI Program continues to foster young tech entrepreneurs by providing comprehensive entrepreneurship training and facilitates the development of new technologies or products. In particular, the program supports research teams from academia and research institutes in their works to enhance academic innovation and application. To date, the program has provided guidance to 680 startup teams, fostered 3,388 young entrepreneurs, helped establish 307 companies, and solicited over NT$ 4.94 billion in startup funding.
The FITI program creates a virtuous circle of industrial innovation in Taiwan and injects vitality into the domestic market. At the same time, MOST encourages the startup teams to develop scalable technologies for international deployment at the very beginning, tackle global issues by leveraging forward-looking scientific knowledge and technology and cross-domain resources, and achieve sustainable growth with a positive mindset.
碳鑫資材科技gave their acceptance speech for the Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award at the online award ceremony.