Cogita has opened its European headquarters at Liverpool Science Park from where it will provide a bridge between the Liverpool city region and China for entrepreneurs. Tony McDonough reports
Chinese business investor Cogita Development has set up an incubator at Liverpool Science Park aimed at science and tech entrepreneurs.
The operation, which will act as Cogita’s European headquarters, will look to unlock investment opportunities between the Liverpool city region and China and is a joint venture partnership between the company’s director Dennis Zou and Chinese incubator and investment fund providers DongKe ChuangXing.
It invested £4.5m in eight new technology start-ups in 2018 and also set up an office in Toronto, Canada. Cogita aims to become a primary platform to promote science and technology concepts between the UK and China while increasing both the market and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Mr Zou has lived in Liverpool for 10 years and has worked to promote Liverpool to Chinese investors and always tells them: “Liverpool welcomes everyone.”
He explained: “I’m often asked by Chinese investors ‘why are you based in Liverpool and not Manchester or London?’, and it’s my role to show them why Liverpool is the ideal location to launch their business and, in doing do, they can also now benefit from our incubator office at Liverpool Science Park.
“Last year, I spoke to a lot of Chinese people who weren’t aware that Liverpool City Council and the University of Liverpool launched a programme called the China Dream, which celebrated Chinese contemporary art and culture in the city.
“What was really interesting about this was that it was the first time that some of those pieces had been brought to the UK, and they only came here to Liverpool. This demonstrates the major platform the city gives to Chinese heritage and our culture is widely celebrated here.
“It’s events such as this which send a very strong signal to China, that Liverpool is a welcoming city for Chinese people – not just for business or investment but culturally too.”
As part of the company’s drive to foster collaborations between Liverpool and China, Cogita will join an outbound business delegation travelling to Shanghai this month as part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Liverpool and Shanghai twinning.
Liverpool City Council, together with Invest Liverpool and Liverpool China Partnership (LCP), will be leading the 22-business strong delegation to Shanghai from April 15-20.
LCP was formed in 2015 by Investment Liverpool and city region partners with the aim to expand, strengthen and deliver greater benefit from the Liverpool City Region and Isle of Man’s business links with China.
Mr Zou added: “This month’s delegation to Shanghai will be a fantastic opportunity to forge new business links between the two cities and we’re really excited to be attending the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair during the visit and to be showcasing the region’s diverse investment opportunities in the science and technology sector.”