The Thunderbird Chinese Entrepreneur Network (CEN) held their first ever Tea Talk event this past Thursday, February 28th, co-sponsored by China Club. It was an evening filled with culture, business, and of course, tea! The event found its name from the Chinese tradition of discourse and information exchange accompanied by a traditional service of tea; this tradition is known in Mandarin as Cha Hua Hui (茶话会).
New president this trimester, Ariel Wu, started the evening by welcoming members and presenting a certificate to Professor Mary Teagarden, who has recently agreed to serve as a global faculty advisor to CEN. The evening continued with a presentation by Professor Teagarden about overall business opportunities and environment in China, and then further narrowed in discussion with an insightful Q&A session with Professor Teagarden, followed by a presentation of tea culture and business in China by Yawen Yang and Tan Shu. The presentations were completed with a demonstration of tea business and culture in Kenya by Caroline Kenduywa, founder of Kaptea, Inc. and current Thunderbird student.
Each discussion topic and presentation was accompanied by a different variety of tea service. By the end of the evening, attendees were served Chinese green tea (Longjing), Chinese oolong tea (Tieguanyin), and Kenyan black tea and were also able to compare the tea leaves for color, texture, smell, and process. Attendees were awarded additional tea to take home for themselves if they could accurately answer questions such as ‘What are the 6 main varieties of tea in China?’ and ‘What is the estimated market of tea drinkers in China?’.
The evening culminated with a brainstorming session among all attendees and presenters about business opportunities and entrepreneurial entry approaches for China, Kenya, between the two countries, and globally. Thunderbird CEN hopes to continue these types of events where genuine discourse among attendees will support entrepreneurship endeavors and social responsibility between China and other countries worldwide.