A total of 37 Asian entrepreneurs have been enrolled for the eFounders Initiative at a held on the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou, China. Photo: Alibaba

A total of 37 Asian entrepreneurs were enrolled on Monday in an 11-day course for eFounders Initiative jointly launched by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Alibaba Business School in Hangzhou, capital of China’s Zhejiang province.

The entrepreneurs are the founders of start-up companies, ranging from e-commerce to big data, logistics, financial technology, payment and tourism. They mainly come from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, Alibaba said in a press release.

After an opening ceremony held on the Alibaba campus on Monday, they will be provided first-hand exposure to e-commerce innovations from China and around the world and become eFounders Fellows.

The course is part of a commitment by Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and executive chairman and UNCTAD special adviser, to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years.

Brian Wong, vice-president of Alibaba Group, who heads the Global Initiatives program, said: “Our goal is to inspire entrepreneurs to serve as pioneers for building a more inclusive development model that is not just good for their business, but also good for society by creating platforms that all can participate in and benefit from.”

Arlette Verploegh, coordinator for the eFounders Initiative at UNCTAD, said: “The initiative is about bridging the digital divide for young entrepreneurs and [unlocking] their potential. It is part of a set of smart partnerships UNCTAD is creating to reach the sustainable development goals.”

The inaugural class for 24 African participants was launched last November.

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