A Brief Report on New Business Hub: from San Diego to Malaysia

written by Akmal Sabaruddin, Spring ’18 YSEALI PFP Fellow from Malaysia

In spring 2018, I was selected to the YSEALI Economic Empowerment program and I spent my time in San Diego at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and Hera Labs, Sorrento Valley for an attachment under the supervision of Dr. Silvia Mah. With similar academic backgrounds, we were focusing on organizing entrepreneurial program for academics especially for undergraduate students. Other than focusing on the academic training, I was inspired to see the business hub at UCSD which also known as “The Basement”. This hub was designed to provide a space for entrepreneurial activities such as forums, lectures, meeting spaces for investors and for student’s startups to discuss and develop their product before it’s ready for the market. Apart from that, I also spent my time at Hera Labs, Sorrento Valley during my attachment in San Diego. Hera Labs is a business accelerator which empowers women entrepreneurs and startups to scale their businesses. My time with Hera Labs was really an eye opener for me to move forward in helping student’s startups by providing them with good facilities in a safe business environment.

In November 2018, my U.S. outbound project was selected for funding from the U.S. State Department. This was the only opportunity for me to convince the university management team to develop a business hub for student startups. I finally managed to get a space for the business hub from the faculty management team and it will be called as “FSK (Faculty of Health Sciences) Business Hub”. After trying many times and ways in finding grants, finally I got an approval from the university for strategic research funding. This is the golden opportunity for me to take a lead in the development of the faculty business hub. At the moment, the business hub is still undergoing some upgrading process and it is expected to complete by November 2019. I am glad for the opportunity given in the YSEALI PFP program where I can make a change for a better cause and contribute back to the university and the society.

First Insights in Chicago: Transportation and Citizen Engagement

Written by Denys Moliaka, Spring 2019 PFP Fellow from Ukraine

Friday (April 26) started with meeting colleagues at the Metropolitan Planning UA and AZ Denys and Nurana and Science MuseumCouncil, after which the supervisor of the department took me to the meeting of the Chicago Regional Transport Committee at Willis Tower held by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Most of the reports were devoted to the budget expenditures for transportation, particularly the construction of toll roads. I was interested in the presentation of the Public Engagement Plan. Attendees were convinced that the success of achieving strategic goals depends on community support and coordination of all stakeholders (employees, NGOs, businesses, local residents).

On Saturday (April 27), I attended the Citizen’s Climate Lobby presentation on climate change and the organization’s actions to prevent the warming of the atmosphere. The event was held in the local library. It was pleasant to see how local libraries look and work. They are the place for community gathering, comfortable, equipped with modern computers and literature. There were many people and it was impressive. I wish libraries in Ukraine were as good and popular.

ua-denys-moliaka-with-host-father.jpgOn Monday (April 29), I visited the Transportation Committee of the State Senate of Illinois. Different representatives testified on raising the tax on fuel, the importance of developing a multimodal transport system as opposed to car-centered, wear-out of transport infrastructure and the need for a more balanced and pragmatic approach to financing transport projects. After work, I attended a lecture on the history of urban planning in Chicago. The lecture was held in a public library and there were many people. After the lecture we had a dinner with local urbanists, architects and bicycle activists.

On Tuesday (April 30), my host father and I attended a meeting at Chicago City Hall, Bureau of Zoning and Land Use. A local community of my host-father’s neighborhood wants to prevent multi-story development in the area as it has happened in other districts. They discussed with the officials how to use legal instruments such as zoning to save existing houses from demolishing. In the evening there was a welcome party for all PFP fellows based in Chicago, their host parents and organizations.  We had a great opportunity to meet new people and share our experiences. The atmosphere was nice, warm and welcoming. It was a very pleasant evening.  World Chicago and their colleagues did a great job.

UA Denys Moliaka at Chicago Sunset