Man quits job for public good

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Famous American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count." This couldn't be truer when it comes to the frequently asked questions: What is best age to start a business? But in reality, this is nothing but a number.

Zeng Zhi, 29, risked his career to pursue a dream of helping people. [Photo for China Daily]

Zeng Zhi, 29, risked his career to pursue a dream of helping people. [Photo for China Daily] 

Zeng Zhi, 29, a man previously working as a drug tester in a provincial-level pharmaceutical administration, quit his stable job last year and started his own business to promote regional culture and public good, an area where he had keen interest in but had little knowledge about.

After graduating from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University with a master's degree in 2011, Zeng became a drug tester who was mainly responsible for testing the effectiveness and safety of new pharmaceuticals before they were launched into markets.

But in his heart he carried a dream to start his own business which would not only make more money to improve his parents' life but benefit people's livelihoods.

"Despite majoring in pharmacy, I had more interest in management and even wanted to transfer to the management specialty when I was in the first semester of my graduate years," Zeng said. "But the school refused my request to change to another major on the ground that there was no such precedent."

"They said they never allow graduates to change majors, for it is not practical because students will find it very hard to study a new major in their graduate years if they don't receive the major-related education in their undergraduate studies," added Zeng.

But he did not give up. Zeng read many books on management in his spare time and meanwhile started a cafe in his university to get some practical experience. He studied harder and got all the required credits when the second semester ended.

As a result of his hard work, the university authorities were moved and approved his request for transfer to the management major, which, in a way, laid the foundation for keeping his current business going.

Perhaps in many people's eyes, it is not the best time for Zeng to start business, because he is neither post-90s or 95s who have more chances to fail and start something form the beginning, nor like those in their late 30s or even elder who have accumulated lots of social experience and resources and are more likely to succeed.

"What matters is that you have a great idea and the tenacity to carry it out. The real issue here should not be when you start your business. Rather, the focus should be on how you put your ideas into practice," said Zeng.

When he launched his five-person team, the South-North Water Transfer Project initiated the open tender for the media publicity for the project from October 1 to December 31, 2014. Zeng saw it a golden opportunity to develop his business.

"My parents and friends said I was too ambitious, and they did not think my team will be able to beat other big companies," Zeng recalled. "But I don't think it is an excuse for the 'rookies' to stop challenging themselves."

"If we fail, at least our persistent efforts can narrow down the gap between my team and other rivals," Zeng said.

At first Zeng's team did research based on the material such as 100 questions on the South-North Water Transfer Project and other documentaries on the project when they were making the publicity schemes.

Zeng said if they wanted people to pay more attention to the problem of water shortage and enhance public's awareness of saving water, they have to have a good command of all-round details of the project.

Their hard work paid off. They won the bid. The 15-second publicity video created by Zeng's team was aired by the China Central Television (CCTV), China's broadcaster, for three months.

Zeng's team has gained fame among insiders since then. His team also attended some tourism fairs to sell themselves. So far, they have offered services for some Chinese provinces and foreign governments to boost their public image and promote their regional culture as well as the local tourism on the bodies and seats in Beijing buses.

Now his team has expanded to 24 members.

When asked about his future plan, Zeng said he has enrolled to pursue doctorate studies on Media Economics at Communication University of China, a cradle of China's radio and television talents and a well-known institution in the field of information communication.

"I want to equip myself with more professional knowledge, which can also help me and my team provide better service for our customers," said Zeng.

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