Le Wagon Chengdu, Coding School for Entrepreneurs

Authors: Liao Wen

2018-11-20

Le Wagon, a coding training program from Europe, has already set foot in Chengdu. Its mission, as the founder of its Chengdu operation Mr. Allen Sanchez described, is much more than improving its students’ coding skills. It’s about inspiring their entrepreneurial thinking.
Walking into Le Wagon Chengdu's office at the WeWork Pinnacle One co-working space, you will find it hard to relate it to a traditional company or a training school. It's just like an opening multifunctional activity center of a university, where there are separate rooms, public spaces, and sections for recreation and entertainment, including an area with ping pong tables.
Talking about the setting of the training space, Allen, a graduate from Yale University who has years of experience in the education and training industry, shared his educational concept that to boost students' interest in learning, it is quite necessary to improve their learning environment.
Le Wagon Chengdu's office at the WeWork Pinnacle One co-working space
Le Wagon Chengdu's office
Since its inception in April 2017, Le Wagon Chengdu has trained 44 students, some of whom have already graduated and some of whom are currently studying on its 9-week coding bootcamp program. Allen said that they not only teach students how to program, but also let them think creatively and motive them to start their own businesses. "Two students, one from Thailand and the other from France, have set up their own businesses here in Chengdu." It is tempting to think that there will be more entrepreneurs from the Le Wagon Chengdu in the near future.
From an educator to a programmer
When Allen came to Chengdu last year from Shanghai with the Le Wagon program, it was not the first time that he started to live and work in the city. From 2013, Allen worked in Chengdu for two years as an educational consultant, providing consulting services for Chinese high school students preparing to study in the United States.
At that time, Allen didn't know how to program, but the booming of technology and its profound impact on the modern world ignited his interest in this field with ever increasing market demand. He later left Chengdu for Hong Kong and joined an American edtech company that had an office there. The company worked with American universities to offer live online courses for students in Asia. "I was responsible for the courses focusing on data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning provided by the University of California, Berkeley." The work experience encouraged him to make up his mind to join the club of programmers who are changing the world profoundly. "I first took a short-term training course in Hong Kong, and then I got to know the Le Wagon program in Shanghai, so I quit my job in Hong Kong and went to Shanghai and learn to code," Allen recalled.
After having graduated from Le Wagon Shanghai's first bootcamp, Allen came back to Chengdu again, this time with the program in tow. His goal is to cultivate more creative programmers in the city, as well as to make contributions to the improvement of the local entrepreneurial and innovation environment. In April 2017, he established Le Wagon Chengdu. Before that, Le Wagon's only branch in China was located in Shanghai.
Why did Allen choose Chengdu to operate the program? He said that as he had had some familiarity with the city in all aspects, which has a huge potential of development, especially in science and technology, is highly startup-friendly, and very supportive for new economy- and artificial intelligence-driven industries. "Chengdu is growing, and its high-tech zone is making great efforts to turn the city into a national center of science and technology, as well as hi-tech innovation," Allen told reporters.
Le Wagon Chengdu's founder Mr. Allen Sanchez and his partner Alina Kabirova
Allen Sanchez (left) and his partner Alina Kabirova
Allen is Not Alone
When Le Wagon Chengdu was launched last year, Allen was working alone. Now, he has had a group of like-minded partners, including Alina Kabirova, a graduate from one of the batches of Le Wagon Chengdu, originally coming from Russia.
Graduating from the Sichuan University with a master's degree, Alina has been living in Chengdu for six years. Like Allen, she was initially a layman in the field of science and technology, but then took the training course of Le Wagon. Currently she is a project manager of the Le Wagon Chengdu.
According to Alina, Le Wagon's full-time training program takes 9 weeks every time, with different teachers from all over the world. Slightly different from the courses at universities, its training lessons are more practice-oriented and intensive.
"Le Wagon Chengdu keeps a good relationship with many local software companies and foreign companies' Chengdu branches, including Ubisoft and ThoughtWorks. And many students who graduated from here have received offers from well-known companies, including Huawei," Alina said.
Both Allen and Alina sincerely expressed their love for Chengdu, which boasts not only a wide range of delicious food and warm-hearted people, but also a vibrant climate for innovation and a great potential for economic and social development. And now they're planning to expand the Le Wagon Chengdu, in the hopes of cultivating more creative and top-quality coding talents in the city.
Le Wagon Chengdu's staff and students
Le Wagon Chengdu's staff and students
About Le Wagon
Founded in 2013 in Paris, Le Wagon is one of the most innovative training programs in Europe. Today, it is running in 30 cities worldwide and has trained 3,400 students, with more cities and students joining in. So far, Le Wagon has had branches in Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen in China.

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