Mentor of the Year

“Through 20 years of being an entrepreneur, I have faced lots of problems like competition, staff retention, and handling expansion. So I see my past when working with young entrepreneurs, and am able to empathise with their challenges.”

Feng Li has been a pivotal force in the success of one young entrepreneur in Fujian province, eastern China.

Xiangyang Ying, founder of a company which created lockers for e-commerce companies to deliver products in a fast and a secure way for their customers, says that his mentor helped guide him in his early stages.

“In the beginning, the company did not have a clear profit-making model, and we did not know whether to focus on our operations, or our marketing,” he says. “Mrs Li invited some other entrepreneurs to help me, and together we conducted a SWOT analysis, until we had come up with a clear vision and operating method for the company.”

And when Xiangyang Ying came to Feng Li to help him make a choice of two investors, Feng Li did not give him the answer directly, but analysed the problem together to enable XiangYang to make his choice.

Feng Li is herself an entrepreneur, and owner of a cartoon game and video animation company, Fujian ChuanLi Animation Development Company. She has been involved with Youth Business China since 2006, and says that she feels compelled to share her experiences with young entrepreneurs. “We need to be helping others: this inner satisfaction and sense of pride cannot be achieved any other way,” she says.

Xiangyang says that Feng Li is an unusual teacher. “Her teaching method is special: instead of telling me what I should do, she takes me to visit successful entrepreneurs or to listen to a business management lecture.”

But he is clear about the value that his mentor has brought to his business. “In recent months, our sales have increased steadily at a 40% rate, due to the help from my mentor. She eases my pressure and shares her predictions about the market, and she encourages our team to stay strong.”

Feng Li has come to play an active role in Youth Business International outside of China, too. She has led a group of mentors from China to meet mentors from YBI’s member in India, and she has also started cooperation between YBC’s Fujian office and Youth Business Singapore, resulting in an entrepreneur exchange programme between the two countries.

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