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- HKSTP celebrates graduation of 48 start-ups from Incubation Programmes With the announcement of three strategic collaborations to strengthen support for tech start-ups
Graduates in this year’s Incubation Programme gained significant achievements. Easy Van successfully raised 20 million US dollars during the incubation programme, QBS Limited became an investor itself in two start-up companies in the Park while B-Free Technology Limited secured a purchase order from a Swiss manufacturer for its “B-Free Chair” designed for the disabled. Founders of the three companies (from left to right) Shing Chow of Easy Van, Dennis Kwan of QBS and Alan Lee of B-Free celebrated their success at the ceremony.
48 start-ups graduated from this year’s Incubation Programmes have already started to make their mark in the market, promoting a new, revolutionary lifestyle and serving different retail and corporate clients from sectors including information technology services, game and programme design, e-commerce and logistics, education and learning, as well as green technology solutions.
(Hong Kong, 31 March 2016) - Recently named the Technology/IT Incubator of the Year by the U.S.-based International Business Innovation Association, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (“HKSTP”) today hosted the 2016 graduation ceremony of its Incubation Programmes for 48 start-ups. While celebrating the success of these newly minted alumni, HKSTP also announced its collaboration with domain experts from local and Beijing to launch three new initiatives targeted at start-ups: the “HKQAA Hong Kong Registration – Start-ups” scheme organised in partnership with Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (“HKQAA”); the “Start-up CEO Mentoring Programme” organised in cooperation with Technology Incubation Network (“TIN”); and a partnership between HKSTP and Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation (“BICI”) borne of the signing of a memorandum of understanding, which covers various initiatives supporting local research and development, including the establishment of a HK$100 million BICI Innovation Fund by BICI in Hong Kong.
A vibrant technology industry
This year, 48 start-ups graduated from the Incubation Programmes. These new graduates, armed with their product commercialisation outcomes, have already started to make their mark in the market, promoting a new, revolutionary lifestyle and serving different retail and corporate clients. The areas of expertise covered by this year’s graduates include: information technology services, game and programme design, e-commerce and logistics, education and learning, as well as green technology solutions.
In addition to local developments, there are also graduates who, leveraging their team’s strengths, business model and creative ideas, were successful in attracting investment for overseas expansion. For example, EasyVan, under its parent company Huolala Global Investment Limited (“Lalamove”), secured US$10 million funding to expand its user-driver connection business to Southeast Asia and various cities in Mainland China. B-Free Technology Limited started to explore overseas opportunities, having secured a purchase order from a Swiss manufacturer for its “B-Free Chair” – a wheelchair designed to create for individuals with disabilities a world without obstacles – after winning the gold award at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. Optical Sensing Limited, a company specialised in highly sensitive optical sensing systems for monitoring and forecasting malfunctions in high voltage supply systems, has also had its products adopted by a world-leading railway company as well as several corporations in Southeast Asia.
Johann Wong, Deputy Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, HKSAR, joined Allen Ma, CEO of HKSTP in officiating at the ceremony. Wong said, “Congratulations to the 48 graduates today. They have demonstrated their vitality and passion on innovation to grow their ideas into a fully-fledged company that injects unlimited energies to Hong Kong’s economic development. This is something that requires not only hard work, but also comprehensive support throughout. With more than 400 companies graduated from the incubation programmes, HKSTP has been providing start-ups with comprehensive support since the launch of its incubation programmes in 1992. As Hong Kong’s technology ecosystem enters an era of high-speed development, I am confident that HKSTP’s innovation ecosystem will continue to exhibit phenomenal growth, leading Hong Kong to become a world-class entrepreneurial city.”
“HKQAA Hong Kong Registration – Start-ups” Scheme – Improving management capibility to strengthen customer confidence
Echoing the Government’s call for the adoption of technology to increase local business sector’s competitiveness, HKSTP and HKQAA join hands to strengthen the support network for start-ups. Designed by HKQAA, the “HKQAA Hong Kong Registration – Start-ups” scheme aims to assist start-ups in adopting a documentation system for systematising their operation and corporate management, particularly in terms of quality, finance and information security, to improve the quality of their products, solutions and services, as well as lower their business risk. The scheme will also allow local businesses interested in adopting locally invented technologies and services to easily recognise quality start-ups and give them the confidence to support local innovation.
Dr. Michael Lam, CEO of HKQAA, said: “We are pleased to partner with HKSTP to help start-ups demonstrate and improve their management capabilities through the ‘HKQAA Hong Kong Registration – Start-ups’ scheme, thereby enhancing partners’ confidence. We believe our collaboration will drive the sustainable development of the start-up ecosystem and strengthen the competitiveness of the industry.
Start-up CEO Mentorship Programme – Enriching management experience
HKSTP has partnered with TIN to launch a new mentoring initiative named “Start-up CEO Mentorship Programme”. TIN has invited many of its CEO members, many of whom with experience as start-up entrepreneur, to share their experiences as someone who has been through the same journey. Through these sharing sessions, these CEOs will act as a mentor for new entrepreneurs, providing them with guidance and advice on business operation, and therefore facilitate their transition from an innovator to a businessperson.
Kenneth Chau, Founder of iMusicTech Limited and Chairman of TIN, said: “The journey of entrepreneurship can be bumpy, which is why having a relatable mentor can be very helpful. The programme will provide mentee participants with invaluable guidance. We hope they can be steered towards the right direction so that they can find success in the tech industry.”
BICI supports technology entrepreneurship with capital, network, opportunities and skills
At the graduation ceremony, HKSTP entered into a strategic partnership with BICI. As part of the partnership, BICI will invest HK$100 million to establish BICI Innovation Fund in Hong Kong, to encourage youth in Hong Kong to pursue a career in the technology industry, as well as to attract high-potential start-ups in the region to operate in Hong Kong.
In addition, the two parties will launch two new programmes, namely the “Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme” and “Hong Kong Technology Enterprise Enhancement Programme”. The former will provide no less than 100 internship opportunities for youth in Hong Kong over the next three years, while the latter will enable Hong Kong technology companies to explore additional opportunities in Mainland China. BICI will also establish a new robotics centre in Hong Kong Science Park for facilitating talent exchange between Hong Kong and Mainland China, and to promote local robotics technology development.
Allen Ma, CEO of HKSTP, commented: “Hong Kong’s technology start-up ecosystem is having great momentum. The commercialisation results of our graduates in recent years have been outstanding, and the relationship between innovative technology, citizens and businesses is growing closer than ever. Also, the evidence of our incubatees’ success can now be seen from various places all around the world. I am also very grateful of the support that the ecosystem has been getting from all the stakeholders, which has been instrumental in fueling the advancement of Hong Kong’s technology industry. Innovation and technology are the key growth engine for diversifying Hong Kong’s economy, and every participant in this ecosystem plays a significant role. The 48 graduating start-ups today are now part of the industry’s new driving force. We look forward to forging more collaborations with various sectors, and together accomplish more exciting results in the future.”