Taiwan next month will host the “2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress Plus Taipei,” an international conference for entrepreneurs that will examine the ways AI and the internet of things can be used for social good.

Over 400 experts, scholars and industry leaders are expected to attend the four-day event, which will focus on areas such as smart cities, smart healthcare solutions, blockchain and future startup ecosystems, officials from Taiwan’s Small and Medium Enterprise Administration said.

Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, which is helping to run the event, said his organization operates in 170 countries to “support, connect, understand and celebrate entrepreneurs.”

“We will not only be examining the future on where we will have an impact on our society through IoT, AI and some of the new technologies that are making possible for entrepreneurs to start and scale new firms but also to help society and the individual around them,” Ortmans said in a pre-recorded video clip displayed at the beginning of the press event.

Raymond Greene, deputy director of Taiwan’s de facto American embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan, said both Taiwan and the U.S. had been involved in the Global Entrepreneurship Network for several years.

“Taiwan is emerging as a global hub and launching pad for innovative startups. In the past, Taiwan was often seen as the gateway into China, but now Taiwan is increasingly seen as the gateway into South and Southeast Asia.” he said.

“What most distinguishes Taiwan is it does not pursue innovation simply for purposes of making money – although that is certainly a good thing to do too – rather, it always puts positive social benefit first and foremost.

“In this respect, Taiwan acts as a role model for the whole world,” Greene said.

Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang, also known as Taiwan’s Digital Minister, said Taiwan’s Cabinet had made efforts over the past few years to nurture innovation, noting that a social innovation lab had been set up last year.

“I personally provide (open) office hours at the social innovation lab every Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Anyone who is interested in social innovation is welcomed to have a discussion with me,” Tang said.

Tang, the 37-year-old software- programmer-turned-public servant, said that she has been in the startup community since the age of 15.

“Being an entrepreneur at heart, I’m glad to see the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Plus Taipei providing a great opportunity to exchange ideas and pitches from different teams, and to have stimulating conversations,” she said.

“I look forward to seeing more entrepreneurs devote more time to the challenges and the problems at stake, namely how to turn your idea into a scalable business, and overcome those challenges every entrepreneur must face,” Tang said.

The conference will host a series of events for global entrepreneurs from September 26 to 29 at the Taipei International Convention Center in Taipei.

〔Original :meet@Tw〕