On 23 February 2021, the Department of External Education and Professional Training of the Open University of China (OUC), together with the OUC Credit Bank, the Experimental School, and the Department of Student Affairs and Teacher Development, visited New Future Online Education Group (NFOEG) for a cooperative investigation into the Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) certification of innovation and entrepreneurship (hereinafter abbreviated as ESB certification).

The goal of the visit was to put into effect the guiding principles of the Circular of the Ministry of Education on the Issuance of the OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan (Jiao Zhi Cheng [2020] No. 6), to energetically promote the construction of the OUC’s “1233” project, and to advance the implementation of the “developing strong social training strategy.”


Those attending the meeting included Professor Huang Guizhou, vice director-general of the Innovative and Enterprise Education branch of China Higher Education Association (IEEC), board chairman of New Future Online Education Group (NFOEG), and director of the ESB China Management Centre; Zhang Weiwei, vice president of NFOEG and executive director of the ESB China Management Centre; Chen Jinsong, vice president of NFOEG and secretary-general of the ESB China Management Centre; Chao Jinpeng, vice president of the New Future Education Institute and executive secretary-general of the ESB China Management Centre; Hu Yang, dean of the OUC Department of External Education and Professional Training; Yan Xiaoping, executive vice director of the OUC Credit Bank; Li Xinhui, vice president of the OUC Experimental School; Xu Gang, vice dean of the OUC Department of Student Affairs and Teacher Development; and other relevant staff members.

All parties conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions, and reached a basic consensus on integrated solutions for ESB innovation and entrepreneurship education, joint teacher training for EBS innovation and entrepreneurship, course learning outcomes accreditation and the transfer of ESB certification, the extension and application of the ESB certification course system, and how to evaluate the ESB proficiency of students’ innovation and entrepreneurship.

NFOEG is a vice director-general member of the IEEC and a leading domestic provider of “internet + education” smart application solutions. It is a name-brand company dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship education and is a subordinate of Shandong Sooc Education Technology Stock Co., Ltd. (a new three-board listed company). At its heart is the training of innovation spirit, entrepreneurship awareness, and innovation and entrepreneurship capacity, and it aims to create integrated solutions for innovation and entrepreneurship education for vocational schools and undergraduate institutions of higher education through the introduction of supervisor and case resources from enterprises. It offers a large number of innovation and entrepreneurship courses in order to render targeted services to university students in terms of innovation and startups.

In 2019, NFOEG officially became the ESB China Management Centre, authorised by VUE Certiport, which is subordinate to Pearson, the world’s largest education group. Since its establishment, the centre has been committed to integrating ESB’s advanced philosophy, courses, and certification system with innovation and entrepreneurship education in China and has launched an updated version of innovation and entrepreneurship education. To date, NFOEG has engaged in cooperation with about 400 universities in 18 provinces nationwide. 690,000 students have received ESB certification and approximately 2,700 teachers have obtained ESB certification training.

ESB is an international certification based on entrepreneurship thinking and innovation and entrepreneurship practical ability for university students, potential entrepreneurs, and owners and management personnel in small and medium enterprises. The ESB certificate is proof that its holder has mastered the core knowledge of and key routes to innovation and entrepreneurship and has been equipped with the tentative and basic skills and achievements needed to found and manage small businesses. 

The ESB certification is issued by Pearson VUE Certiport and jointly signed and recognised by the American Council on Education and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. It conforms to the EU Entrepreneurship Competence Framework and is applicable in 148 countries.


Written by Yang Lizhi and photo by Li Rui, OUC