The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) should play a major role in supporting innovative startups founded by people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The heart of BRI is mainly based around the infrastructure of countries involved, which is laudable.

Many areas still lack crucial ports, bridges, and roads, and it is critically important that all parts of the world are well equipped to strengthen human progress.

From there, others goals may be carried out more effectively, such as the protection of the environment.

Unlike infrastructure constructed by major corporations or state-owned companies, many innovative technologies emerge thanks to young companies staffed by small teams.

The pattern is often the same: young professionals gather their forces around a common goal of creating a viable and sustainable company. Beyond their determination, two conditions are required to fully ensure any project’s success.

First, bringing people from diverse cultural backgrounds together isn’t an easy task. People need to set aside their differences and be willing to have their thoughts and opinions questioned. If they are not willing, the new company’s creativity and decision-making will be undermined.

Knowledge and awareness of one another’s histories and cultural sensibilities should awaken people’s understanding and tolerance for one another.

Unfortunately this topic is rarely a priority in engineering and management schools.

The second point deals with financial resources. Many startups experience difficulty in attracting capital. Financing issues make it harder for teams to concentrate on their core business. Many have fallen victim to this.

BRI could ease the burden of these problems. The initiative should add a new specific aim to support startups – startups that could one day become gigantic firms and overturn the established economic order.

Acting as a roving incubator, BRI must take up the torch. Its mission would be to foster innovative startups by reinforcing their human potential and by lending financial support in order to tailor adequate solutions for today’s global challenges.

There is a Chinese proverb that says that if three people are of one heart, even the yellow earth can become gold. We should apply this to BRI and how we support startups.