Taipei, July 31 (CNA) A sponsorship program initiated by the Ministry of Education has helped young graduates establish 156 companies over the past three years, with a success rate of over 30 percent, a government official said Tuesday.
Launched in 2009, the U-Start program offers six months of training courses and venture capital funds of NT$350,000 (US$11,685) to college graduates who want to create their own business.
It is not easy to set up a company, said Ni Chou-hua, a division chief at the Department of Higher Education, adding that normally only around 5 percent of new small- and medium-sized firms manage to survive the first five years.
A total of 35 percent of the companies, most of which employ between five and 10 employees, are still successfully operating, which is far better than expected, Ni said.
Among the successful cases, many companies focus on creative products.
For example, a company set up by a group of former industrial design students from National Cheng Kung University has won several design awards, and it is currently working in partnership with electronic firms to launch more products.
Another company, being run by former students of Kun Shan University, has developed products featuring traditional paper folding artworks. Sold under brand name Love Gift, these products have been well-received in the market.
This year, the program will offer assistance to 40 businesses, the ministry said, adding it is reviewing business proposals submitted by 164 groups from 67 colleges across the island.
(By Chen Chih-chung and Maia Huang)