Entrepreneurs as a group have trended younger in recent years because young adults today have an innovative spirit combined with greater enthusiasm and motivation. Starting a new business is extremely challenging, nonetheless, particularly with fundraising in the early stages. To encourage young people to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, the government offers a wide range of programs and measures providing effective and practical assistance. These initiatives include a youth entrepreneurship and seed capital loan program, which makes available business loans and preferential interest rates for those facing difficulties securing early-stage funding; the National Development Fund's Business Angel Investment Program, which provides working capital for startup operations in the early stages; and a "young entrepreneur dreams program," which offers support at every stage from fundraising to marketing and product development, giving young people more opportunities to turn their ideas and creativity into reality.
Three strategies for the young entrepreneur dreams program
■ Generous funding: The government has allocated NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) in youth entrepreneurship funding to help startups obtain working capital. The National Development Fund will also gradually expand the budget for the Business Angel Investment Program to meet the actual needs of domestic startup companies.
■ Extensive services: The Taiwan Start-up Hub operates a free business advice hotline, and works with local governments and young entrepreneurial groups to organize business consultation tours. Incubator programs for young entrepreneurs have been set up across the nation to create local startup support networks. The country's largest entrepreneurial information platform (https://startup.sme.gov.tw) has been created to provide information on opening up businesses in Taiwan.
■ Innovation clusters: Innovation clusters have been established in different regions to boost technological capabilities. The Startup Terrace industrial park in northern Taiwan—focusing on artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), 5G technology, smart medicine and big data analytics—has hooked up with nearby hospitals, marketplaces and industrial supply chains to form an extensive test field for entrepreneurial exchange, professional customized services, and innovative products and services. The Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City in Tainan, meanwhile, connects with industrial, academic and research resources at local industry parks and the Southern Taiwan Science Park to form a demonstration and testing site for self-driving vehicles and green energy technologies. The science city also attracts world-class accelerators as well as smart tech, AI and IoT startups to fuel the growth of the green energy sector and create an ecosystem for innovative green energy industries.