building community in China near CCTV tower

Building Communities and Seizing the Entrepreneurial Spirit in China

Almost fifteen years ago, I started my lifelong journey as an entrepreneur. With my newly-minted degrees, I arrived in China ready for the thrill of entrepreneurship. Knowing I could add value to the world with my tenacity, creativity, and ambition was exciting. The Chinese economy was growing tremendously and the idea of starting my own business was exhilarating. Opportunities for local and international businessmen and women were abound.

However, I soon found that establishing my first company was no walk in the park. It took a tremendous amount of effort and a lot of optimism to keep my business from going under. From establishing and financing my new company without any savings or immediate customers to finding and keeping clients, my foray into entrepreneurship was challenging. Starting the company was difficult to say the least.

Starting Building Communities in China

As a result of the many obstacles, I used my moments of free time to create a professional network that could help international entrepreneurs improve their business operations, share experiences, and exchange information about trends affecting their respective start-up businesses. Over the years, this small network, known as China Entrepreneurs, grew immensely. What started as small monthly gatherings of 20 to 30 people turned into a professional organization comprised of over 20,000 Chinese and international members.

Though as we hosted more and more events—upwards of 100 per year—we found ourselves in overdrive. Coordination became nightmarish and increasingly laborious: logistics were messy, internal and external communications were strenuous, and revenue tracking was spread across multiple computers and an assortment of software programs.

But we realized we weren’t the only ones facing these challenges. Thousands of for-profit and non-profit communities were facing similar issues. We all were either falling behind the ever-increasing pace of technological change, or simply could not afford the technology that would solve our problems.

“We realized we weren’t the only ones facing these challenges.”

Around the world, billions of people and organizations don’t have their desired technological agility to achieve their goals. Connecting to the internet from anywhere and organizing information in an efficient, useful manner is a far-fetched option for many. Communities are also discovering they need to facilitate better communication to keep their organizations engaged. As a result, these desires to keep up with the pace of technological change, acquire affordable, cutting-edge technology, and harness innovative tools that strengthen people’s relationships within and between communities quickly became evident.

From Building Community to Building a Company

So with all of this in mind, the idea for a new company came to light. EventBank, a cloud-based engagement management software company. Founded to help all professional communities share resources and create opportunities for success by moving community information to where it optimally belongs—in the cloud and at the heart of effective decision making. Now, three and half years since our product development began, we are transforming the way professional communities enable and enrich relationships. Hundreds of communities are exchanging information and utilizing more effective means of communication toward achieving their goals. They are increasing their efficiency, reducing costs, and driving value with our technology.

building communities in China, EventBank team

In the midst of this growing success, the thrill of being an entrepreneur after 15 years has not faded. Evangelist and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki once said, “The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning. To create a product or service to make the world a better place.” Embodying this entrepreneurial spirit is why we continue innovating and building customer-centric solutions at EventBank. We will continue embracing our ambitions, fostering our creativity, and harnessing our tenacity to catalyze positive change for communities around the globe.

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Written by Eric L. Schmidt

As a leader in the global tech industry, Eric is focused on developing customer-centric products and transforming the way professional communities build and enrich relationships. He has incubated multiple tech startups within the software, mobile, and environmental industries, and has worked with venture capital and private equity investments in the United States and China. He also founded China Entrepreneurs — a community he built into a 20,000+ member network.

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