15 May 2019
Hands-on entrepreneurs in focus
The term “start-up” often brings to mind a team of engineers devising the next big thing in such abstract areas as fintech or blockchain but the start-up innovation field is limitless and many start-ups develop hands-on solutions which impact our daily lives.
The 11th HKTDC Entrepreneur Day (E-Day), organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) on 16 and 17 May – Thursday and Friday. The two-day exhibition brings together more than 280 exhibitors under the theme “The Start-up Living Lab”. The 2019 E-Day encourages start-ups and prospective entrepreneurs to create solutions for challenges arising in four different areas of everyday life − clothing, food, housing and transport − using innovative ideas as well as the research and development of new products and services. The exhibition will be open to the public and is free of charge.
Raymond Yip, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, said: “Since its launch in 2009, Entrepreneur Day has not only developed into our largest-scale event for Hong Kong’s blossoming start-up community, but it is also recognised as one of the signature events for nurturing start-ups. Aiming to equip a new generation of Hong Kong businesses to become future-ready through embracing new technologies, adopting a creative mindset, and developing a global market perspective, this year’s Entrepreneur Day has incorporated various new elements into its exhibitions, events and services to help Hong Kong start-ups learn, grow and thrive together.”
E-Day will feature more than 280 exhibitors and their innovative products and technologies, with the Imaginarium zone featuring local start-ups that offer real-life applications in the areas of medical technology, biotechnology, financial technology (fintech), environmental technology, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). Exhibitors include ACE VR Limited which applies virtual reality to its head-mounted devices and platform to imitate the daily activities of visually impaired patients, empowering clinicians to measure the degree of patients’ visual impairment to help them devise appropriate corrective measures.
The exhibition also sees a growing number of companies leveraging innovations and new technologies to promote sustainability and corporate social responsibility. At the press conference, Hong Kong start-up Fashion Clinic showed how it advocates sustainable fashion through services such as repairing, renovating and redesigning old garments.
More than 40 entrepreneurs from different industries will discuss technology trends and business opportunities, including AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, smart city development, health technology and education technology, in a series of seminars at the “Start-up Runway”, one of the event’s highlights. Renowned experts will also echo this year’s theme to share their inspiration as entrepreneurs and their secrets behind transforming from start-ups into larger-scale enterprises. The speaker line-up for this year includes Jordan Fung, the 16-year-old founder of innovative investment firm Pedosa Group; Sergio Pachón, Co-Founder & COO of Colombian start-up Kiwi Campus which uses autonomous vehicles to deliver meals on university campuses in California and Walden Lam, co-founder and Chief Hustler at on-demand garment maker Unspun.
Bay Area opportunities
Technology and innovation are among the key drivers of the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Mr Yip said start-ups in the Greater Bay Area can capitalise on Hong Kong’s advantages such as the free flow of information and capital, extensive international networks and sound corporate management services to enhance their capabilities and build connections to global markets, especially in the areas of commercialisation, intellectual property trading and cross-border investment. A series of events has been introduced to the fair to help start-ups tap into the opportunities unleashed by the Greater Bay Area initiative, including:
• The GBA Compass seminar, where speakers including Tim Lee, founder and CEO of QFPay Group, and Abraham Lam, Director and CEO of MEGA Automation, will share their insights on the Greater Bay Area start-up ecosystem, its potential development as a production base and consumer market, and its demand for professional services.
• Start-up incubation programmes and competitions – introducing competitions for the start-ups in the Greater Bay Area region, including the “Creation of Youth” Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition (Hong Kong Section).
• Various organisations and government agencies, including the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau that will oversee the setting up of the Greater Bay Area Development Office, will also participate in the exhibition to provide up-to-date market information and advisory services that will be helpful to current and potential entrepreneurs.
Top 10 look to go global
The HKTDC’s year-round start-up development programme, Start-up Express, returns to this year’s E-Day to help local start-ups build networks, market their business, seek potential partners and enhance brand awareness through exhibitions, study missions and other activities. The top 20 finalists will be selected to present their start-up’s ideas to a panel of judges led by Duncan Chiu, co-founder and Managing Director of Radiant Venture Capital, and Jason Chiu, CEO of Cherrypicks, on 17 May. The 10 winners will enjoy the opportunity to explore new businesses opportunities overseas by taking part in international events and exhibitions − including “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong”, a large-scale business promotion event in Los Angeles in the United States – to help them break into new markets.
Mr Yip said: “Start-up Express received positive feedback and broad support from various industries last year. Some of the winners won creative awards at international exhibitions, some entered new markets in the US, Europe and Japan, and some even found new investors and partners through activities organised by the HKTDC, including the Entrepreneur Day Pitching Final. The response to this year’s programme has been even more positive with more than 160 applicants, an increase of 25% compared to last year.”
A number of special events will be held as part of E-Day. The E-Living Hackathon, organised in collaboration with Young Founders School, will allow young and prospective entrepreneurs to design solutions to address daily annoyances. The “Fund & Mentor” Business Matching Session will engage entrepreneurs and investors in one-on-one pairings, while the Start-up Mixer, run in partnership with the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, will adopt the “speed dating” concept to let start-ups connect with elite industry leaders to help enhance their business acumen and understanding. Start-ups Meet Talent, co-organised with WHub, helps start-ups with their recruitment needs.
HKTDC Entrepreneur Day