Sustainability inspires British Council finalist

  • Date

    Wed 8 Apr 20

Jian Jiang, wearing a back top and talking with colleagues, arm outstretched

A computational finance student who started his own business in a bid to build a more sustainable world for the future has been shortlisted as a global finalist by the British Council.

Jian Jiang, who graduated with a PhD in 2011, is founder of ParkBee which is eliminating on-street parking and lowering congestion in the UK and the Netherlands.

He is a finalist in the Entrepreneurial Award category of the British Council global alumni awards.

Jian, who left a job working in hedge funds to start ParkBee, credits Essex’s international outlook and intern opportunities as helping him achieve his dreams.

“I truly believe a sustainable future is ahead of us, and we all need to work towards that and be part of it,” he said.

Speaking about his time at Essex Jian said: “I enjoyed the international environment and good mentorship from my supervisor. I also got a chance to intern in the city during my study which played an important role in my career path.

“Essex also prepared me for finding opportunities through the lens of data. That’s why ParkBee is in essence a data and tech company, which happens to operate in the parking and mobility business,” he added.

ParkBee helps improve the quality of life in busy cities and dramatically reduce CO2 emissions by helping commuters find safe, affordable parking spaces. It is used by tens of thousands of travellers each month and has secured funding to expand throughout Europe.

“Starting the new business was full of uncertainty and scary. At that moment it felt adventurous and now I look back and it’s the moment I am most proud of,” Jian said.

Jian is one of three former Essex students to reach the finals of the British Council Awards. Khalifa Al Haroon, who completed a foundation course in English language in 2003, is also shortlisted in the Entrepreneurial Award category, and Lilia Petrosyan, LLM International Human Rights Law, 2013, is the only woman finalist in the Professional Achievement Award category.