The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is committed to supporting young scholars starting their own businesses and providing them with comprehensive entrepreneurial training to promote Taiwan's innovation economy. Therefore, NARLabs' Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) was entrusted with running the From IP to IPO Program (FITI) X Civil IoT Taiwan (CIOT) entrepreneurial competition. On June 24, the awards ceremony for this year's first round finalists was held at the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA). Three teams were granted the FITI Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award, and one team won the CIOT Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award. These four outstanding startup teams will receive corporate sponsorships of NT$1 million in recognition of their achievements in high-tech entrepreneurship––an important stepping stone for them as they enter the market.
FITI, which is now in its tenth year, puts a spotlight on startup teams researching cutting-edge technology. It not only continues to identify and nurture promising young entrepreneurs, but also creates a stage for them to showcase Taiwan's startup technologies. FITI also connects entrepreneurs with professional mentors in various fields, including those from science parks and from abroad. The program begins with a period in which teams receive in-depth business training, as well as advising on patent strategy, fundraising presentations, and business model refinement. In addition, public matchmaking events are organized to help teams further network with local and overseas ventures and angel investors so as to provide the best assistance for them as they enter the business world. Starting this year, the Civil IoT Taiwan program is joining hands with FITI to promote tech entrepreneurship from the angle of civil IoT data applications and nurture talented business teams. The program also drives innovation and entrepreneurial trends in Taiwan's data industry to enhance the social impact of the data economy and create social value.
This round's teams have displayed excellent innovation and R&D capabilities, carried out their work with enthusiasm, shown determination to solve market issues with technology, and have bravely and proactively taken their first steps in entrepreneurship. In this round, 48 excellent research teams were initially selected. After six months of business model study, in-depth training, and two team evaluations, 10 of the most promising teams were chosen as finalists. The judges ultimately selected four teams for the Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award based on market trends, their technology, and their entrepreneurial determination.
MOST has always been committed to promoting the development of tech startups. FITI aims to nurture young scholars in tech entrepreneurship and provide them with comprehensive training. The program also continuously encourages the development of new technologies and products and drives research teams to engage in startups with both practical and academic innovations. Since its inception in 2013, the program has nurtured 760 startups teams and 3,742 young entrepreneurs, who have established 342 companies. It has also led to over NT$5.53 billion in private venture capital investment, promoting a positive feedback loop of industry innovation in Taiwan, laying an important foundation for the digital transformation of Taiwan's industries, and driving a vibrant domestic market. MOST encourages teams to begin international deployment of scalable technologies from the very beginning in order to leverage future-oriented science and technology and cross-disciplinary resources to solve global problems, as well as maintain positive mindsets to foster sustainable growth.