Aston student crowned Young Entrepreneur of the Year

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Xiaohao Dai, Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the CCBUK Awards 2017

4 December 2017

  • Aston MBA student Xiaohao Dai named Young Entrepreneur of the Year in coveted Chinese business awards
  • Three other students were also shortlisted – Jingjing Wang, Jing Shang and Yong Zhang

An Aston University student has been crowned Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the UK-wide Confederation of Chinese Business Awards.

Xiaohao Dai, a full-time MBA student at Aston Business School, received the award at a gala dinner hosted at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, London. She was joined by three other Aston students who were nominated in the same category – Jingjing Wang, Jing Shang and Yong Zhang.

Xiaohao won the award for her business plan launching an app that connects Chinese and English language learners together according to their level of ability. The app follows the ‘freemium’ model, where connecting with other non-professional learners is free but users can also purchase time with a professional language tutor if they want to progress further.

Nominees were all invited to submit a business proposal which generates benefits for both the UK and China. Jingjing proposed a business that helps UK healthcare brands enter the Chinese market, Jing suggested a start-up teaching British high etiquette to Chinese customers, and Yong submitted a plan to create a service company that helps develop cooperation in innovation and R&D.

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L-R: Yong Zhang, Jing Shang, Xiaohao Dai and Jingjing Wang at the CCBUK Awards 2017

The ceremony was set up to recognise organisations and individuals who have made great contributions towards business cooperation between the UK and China. The Confederation of Chinese Business UK is the oldest Chinese business association in the UK, existing to facilitate investments and business cooperation between China and the UK.

Xiaohao Dai said: “I had confidence in my business plan, but I never expected to win. This has really inspired me and made me realise what I can achieve through my MBA studies. The award has really motivated me to turn this business plan into a reality and to make a contribution to both UK and Chinese society.”

Jingjing Wang said: “The MBA has taught me a lot in a short space of time and while I only started in September I already feel it has changed my business mind-set. It has given me the ability to strengthen my ideas and the confidence to apply for these awards.

Professor George Feiger, Executive Dean of Aston Business School, said:  “We are proud to have these talented students win this award. We hope that the recognition motivates them to pursue a successful entrepreneurial career.”


Notes to the editor

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality, and strong links to business and the professions. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

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