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Taiwan-US start initiative to support indigenous entrepreneurs in southern Taiwan

To promote innovation and entrepreneurship among the indigenous communities in southern Taiwan, the Kaohsiung Branch Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), and Megamaker Inc. jointly organized the first TechCamp Kaohsiung 2022: Empowering Southern Taiwan’s Indigenous Entrepreneursfor the Indigenous Communities of Southern Taiwan. The training camp focused on digital tools and technology applications. Successful entrepreneurs and experts in different technology fields from leading technological companies, such as Microsoft or Amazon Web Services, delivered lectures to help 48 entrepreneurs from indigenous communities of southern Taiwan explore and apply innovative digital technologies to solve dilemmas and challenges they face in starting businesses.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield delivered a welcome speech to TechCamp participants in a pre-recorded video, while AIT Deputy Branch Chief Jack Lambert was on hand to deliver welcome remarks.

NSYSU Vice President for Research and Development Ann-Kuo Chu pointed out that NSYSU has been steadily committed to promoting humanistic care and social practice in indigenous communities. In 2020, it has established the Center for Austronesia Social and Cultural Development and the Indigenous Students Resources Center to strengthen indigenous peoples' identity with their ethnic groups, tribes, and cultures. In addition, it has also established the In-service Master of Indigenous Studies in Sociology, actively cooperated with tribes, promoted local creativity and projects under the Higher Education SPROUT Project, and encouraged teachers of various fields to engage in social development and practice for the benefit of indigenous communities. The training camp focused on increasing the potential of and growing micro and small enterprises of indigenous peoples, as well as promoting digital transformation and matchmaking possibilities.

An indigenous participant Ching-Wen Huang (what is the original indigenous name?) said that the first edition of TechCamp Kaohsiung for indigenous communities, by providing entrepreneurship ideas, let the participants learn many innovative ways of thinking, absorb entrepreneurial experience and find entrepreneurial resources on different platforms, very much needed for entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses.

According to NSYSU, TechCamp, now in its 12th year, is a public diplomacy program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. It has held more than 40 training sessions around the world with over 2,100 participants joining from over 110 countries. In the future, TechCamp Kaohsiung 2022 : Empowering Southern Taiwan’s Indigenous Entreprenears. will hold a proposal competition for new ventures providing small grants to fund businesses and help them introduce new digital tools that will let entrepreneurs advance, whether in the tribal area, Taiwan, or on the international stage.
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