China plays a cru­cial role in the global economy, but there’s a per­cep­tion that while it pro­duces many of the world’s prod­ucts, it’s home to little of the inno­va­tion, said fourth-​​​​year stu­dent Michael Gasiorek.

This per­spec­tive that China is just this behind-​​the-​​scenes driver of the Amer­ican economy is entirely untrue,” said Gasiorek, a stu­dent in the inter­na­tional busi­ness pro­gram who has studied in Hong Kong and is now working on co-​​op in the indus­trial city of Shen­zhen. “There’s a super­charged cul­ture of devel­op­ment that’s been going on for years. Oppor­tu­ni­ties are every­where, and there’s a huge market to serve.”

Gasiorek was born in Poland and moved to the United States when he was seven, but he never felt tied to either country. “By the time that col­lege came around,” he said, “I knew I wanted an edu­ca­tion that would let me go international.”

Last fall, Gasiorek studied at Hong Kong Uni­ver­sity and quickly con­nected with the city’s bustling startup scene. “You go from knowing nothing about an industry to learning how to make teams, pitch to investors, and put together a busi­ness,” Gasiorek said. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

As part of the expe­ri­ence, he par­tic­i­pated in Hong Kong Startup Weekend, a global com­pe­ti­tion in which entre­pre­neurs in 100 coun­tries are chal­lenged to create a product in 54 hours. Gasiorek’s group won in the cat­e­gory of “Best Mobile App” for designing a mobile shop­ping plat­form called “Shophop,” which helps con­sumers find inter­esting stores and fea­tures curated con­tent from local blog­gers and busi­ness partners.

Michael Gasiorek, far left, is a fourth-​​year stu­dent in the Bach­elor of Sci­ence in Inter­na­tional Busi­ness pro­gram. He started ShopHop with Hes­perus Mak, Olga Lyu­dovyk, and Kris Duffy.

Since the vic­tory, Gasiorek and his busi­ness part­ners have pitched the app to investors and are preparing to launch a closed beta test.

The young entre­pre­neurs once again par­tic­i­pated in the Hong Kong Startup Weekend this year, building a social media auto­mater called Boombox as a fun side project; though they don’t plan to launch it, they are accepting sign-​​ups in case they change their minds.

Gasiorek’s entre­pre­neurial spirit knows no bor­ders. This year, he moved from Hong Kong to Shen­zhen to take a co-​​op as a brand and mar­keting con­sul­tant for the Jiahua Lan­guage School.

In Shen­zhen, he men­tors fledg­ling entre­pre­neurs par­tic­i­pating in that city’s startup weekend event and serves as acting director or curator of three local meet-​​up groups for entrepreneurs.

Gasiorek praised the BSIB pro­gram for giving him the oppor­tu­nity to spend two full years in China. “You are out there in the real world,” he said, “learning first­hand in the field.”