As a legislator, I try very hard to bring the voices from startups, from young people, into this system controlled by old people.

In this episode of The News Lens Radio, a first-time legislator discusses her efforts to change Taiwanese society and the many challenges she faces.

Taiwan is well known for its success in the manufacturing and tech sectors. These industries have for years provided stable jobs in large companies for millions of Taiwanese. Today, however, many young people in Taiwan face fewer job opportunities and low wages. What is more, many don’t like the idea of spending their lives following orders in a big corporation. A new frontier of startups and social enterprises appears to hold the potential to drastically change the future for many in Taiwan. But for young people, how difficult will it be to break from tradition and forge a new path? What stands in their way?

About today’s guest

Karen Yu, is a 36-year-old politician serving her first term in Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan.

In the late 2000s, then a young businesswomen, she started what is thought to be the first fair trade company in the Chinese-speaking world.

In 2015, following eight years successfully growing that business, Yu turned to work with the government and launched Taipei’s first social enterprise incubator. She was also involved with environmental issues and politics as a member of Taiwan’s Green Party.

After the January 2016 general and presidential elections, Yu became a legislator-at-large with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, focusing on innovation and startups.

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