Swiss Innovation Day @ShanghaiTech University

On July 20, a team consisting of Swiss interns and Chinese volunteers was busy preparing for the Swiss Innovation Day at ShanghaiTech University. Various booths were set up and several activities were organised on the scene to raise the awareness of Swiss culture, educational system and the cooperation with oversea universities on innovation. Along with the purpose of expressing our thanks and celebrating the friendly relation between ShanghaiTech University and swissnex China, we thus gathered together on a hot, bright summer day.

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The afternoon started in a warmly welcoming atmosphere. Vice-President of ShanghaiTech University, Mr. Gong and Consul General of Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai, Mr. Hoffet, opened the event with a welcoming speech. Followed by the Dean of the School of Entrepreneurship and Management, May Lee, who made a short presentation on ShanghaiTech University and the vision the school held in regard to innovation and entrepreneurship. She also shared some insights into technological trend and its impact on people. Afterwards, our colleague from swissnex China, Linda Lou, introduced the higher education and innovation landscape in Switzerland. Following this, we were honored to have Arnaud Bertrand, an EHL alumna and also the founder of HouseTrip, shared his entrepreneurial story.

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Subsequently, we had three more presentations:

• One on MSc HES-SO Innokick given by Nathalie Nyffeler, Program Head, together with her students
• One on Fribourg School of Management and their business bootcamp in East Asia given by Geneviève Schaerer, Asia Pacific International Office
• One on Swiss University Experience by Pang Yu, an EHL student and swissnex China’s intern

At the end of all the speeches, interactive and networking time finally came. A variety of appetizing foods were served, including Swiss cheese and chocolate (thank you Migros!). You could figure out by people’s facial expression that salty “Gruyère cheese” was not so well liked as sweet chocolate. In terms of booths, “Matterhorn quiz” was the most popular one where students could win some Swiss themed goodies when correctly answered questions on Swiss geography, culture or education. Another quiz zone met with success as well. A map of Switzerland was presented by projector highlighting regional specialties and traditions. Some exquisitely made brochures were handed out to present Switzerland’s excellence in higher education and research. On top of that, students could also experience a virtual factory visit run by the Swiss startup Pixolabs. Meanwhile, live performances, including guitar solo, Latin dance and chorus, surrounded the venue with music and joy.

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The event is over, but the story is not. Organizing this Swiss Innovation Day enabled Switzerland to position itself as a top destination for study, travel as well as starting up a venture. More importantly, it aroused interests and deepened mutual understandings. Everyone who participated had something to give and take while exploring the differences and similarities between two countries. We believe that both Swiss and Chinese had a great time as we talked, ate, laughed, sweat and worked together. A bridge connecting China and Switzerland was built in ShanghaiTech.

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Thanks to the young people – you brought us so much energy and creativity!