Gymnast-turned-entrepreneur Li Ning had a simple message for local youths aspiring to start a business on Monday: don’t be fazed by any hurdles or challenges and look for opportunities that lie beneath them.
Li was a speaker of a seminar co-organized by the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) and the Macau Youth Entrepreneur Association (MYEA) about his transition from an athlete to a businessperson. Several dozen people invited by the participating organizations attended the event on the IPIM premises in Nape.
He said what was most important is to have the courage to try new things, adding that people could always learn from the mistakes they make when attempting to start a business.
“This means when you make the second or even the third attempt, you’ll have a higher chance of success,” said Li, adding that he learnt persistence during his time as an athlete.
The 52-year-old Olympic gold medalist, who runs a sports apparel company bearing his name, said that operating a successful sports company needed more than just networking and personal connections. Li added that the most crucial factor was to understand what the public needs regarding sport and exercise.
Known as the “Prince of Gymnasts”, Li is one of the nation’s most recognizable gymnasts, winning six medals in the 1984 Olympic Games. He retired in 1988 and founded Li-Ning Company Ltd. two years later.
According to the Hurun China Rich List 2013, he had an estimated fortune of US$700 million, which made him the 461st wealthiest person in the mainland at that time.