Asia/Pacific News

Hilton Worldwide Pilots Startup365 Youth Entrepreneurship Program in Guangzhou

July 09, 2015  |  This information originated in American English.

SHANGHAI - Entrepreneurs are critical to the long-term health of any global economy. Hilton Worldwide recently launched its first youth entrepreneurship training program, Startup365, to address youth unemployment in China as part of the company's commitment to open doors for one million young people by 2019. Startup365 aims to equip Chinese youth with the business skills and entrepreneurial mind-set to succeed in today's competitive workplace.

The innovative program was delivered by T Foundation (China) and the International Youth Foundation, with funding and program development support from Hilton Worldwide. Delivered as a two-day training boot camp, Startup365 enabled participants to experience firsthand what it takes to conceptualize, start, and manage a business, as well as how to understand a market, differentiate a product and turn a profit.

"With over 74 million young people unemployed globally[1], and more than 20 percent of university graduates in China unable to find jobs[2], young people today face an increasingly competitive and difficult work environment," said Bruce McKenzie, senior vice president, Operations, Greater China & Mongolia, Hilton Worldwide. "Many have responded to this challenge by starting their own businesses, an approach also encouraged by Prime Minister Li Keqiang[3]," "In addition to direct employment in our hotels across China, Startup365 provides young people with the entrepreneurial skills needed to become future employers to support economic development in Guangzhou and throughout the country."

The two-month training brought together more than 150 young people who were selected through an open application process, and most participants came from under-served households in Guangzhou as well as Team Members from Hilton Worldwide hotels in Guangzhou. Twenty-five mentors selected from the hotels' management teams supported the youth during and after the boot camp.

Youth, mentors and facilitators engaged in highly experiential training to learn and practice key business concepts at Hilton hotels namely Hilton Guangzhou Baiyun, Hilton Guangzhou Tianhe, and DoubleTree by Hilton Guangzhou. This included an interactive "Fish Market" simulation game that spurred participants to collaborate, take initiative, and get creative with their resources and personal networks. Participants also had a tour of the heart of the hotel, learning about the various operations and functions that are critical to running a successful hotel. 

One of the participants, Wendy, said, "The Fish Market Exchange made me realize that if you move quickly, you can win. The most important thing for an entrepreneur is to be proactive and adaptable to the environment while remaining focused on your business dream." Wendy not only gained a better understanding of professional business skills, but was also inspired to start up her own business.

"Startup365 nurtures creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving in young people through hands-on learning and business simulation," said Lindsay Vignoles, Director of Corporate Programs at the International Youth Foundation. "Hilton's participation in the program has enabled more young people to have greater opportunities in developing the necessary confidence to succeed in their professional and personal lives."

"China is a key market for Hilton Worldwide, and we are committed to investing in and positively impacting young people in the communities that we operate in," said Lawrence Lee, vice president, Human Resources, Greater China & Mongolia, Hilton Worldwide. "The hospitality industry offers enormous opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, and we are in a position to leverage our geographic scale and expertise, and innovative programs such as Startup365, to support youth development and entrepreneurial thinking in China."

Hilton Worldwide partners with various local and international organizations to implement initiatives focused on creating opportunities for young people in the hospitality industry. In May 2015, Hilton Worldwide hotels in China took part in Careers@Hilton Live: Youth in Hospitality Month, the company's largest annual global career event, showcasing the many opportunities available in the hospitality industry. In June 2015, Hilton Worldwide was recognized as one of the Most Attractive Employersin China for the third consecutive year, following a survey of 55,000 students from 109 top universities across China conducted by Universum.

[1] "International Youth Day 2014, "International Labor Organization, August 12, 2014

[2] "Employment status of gradutes," People's Daily, June 11, 2015

[3] "Prime Minister Li Keqiang encourages business startups as a current trend," The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China, May 18, 2015. 

Suki Pan
Hilton Worldwide - Greater China
+86 2321 6819

About T Foundation (China)
T Foundation seeks to empower youth in developing countries through training in entrepreneurship life skills. For more information, visit:

About International Youth Foundation
The International Youth Foundation (IYF) invests in the extraordinary potential of young people. Founded in 1990, IYF builds and maintains a worldwide community of businesses, governments and civil-society organizations committed to empowering youth to be healthy, productive and engaged citizens. IYF programs are catalysts of change that help young people obtain a quality education, gain employability skills, make healthy choices and improve their communities. To learn more visit

About Hilton Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,200 properties with more than 856,000 rooms, in 105 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi.  Visit for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.