Taking the plunge

Updated: 2014-09-26 05:23

(HK Edition)

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With an entrepreneurial zeal gripping Hong Kong's young people in recent years, the mood has been further lifted by a growing number of organizations helping budding entrepreneurs to make the grade.

Alan Lam, group chief executive of Sengital Ltd, told China Daily that when he started his own business a decade ago, he had already had a deep understanding of the challenges young entrepreneurs have to face. Together with a group of friends, he launched Technology Incubation Network in 2012 to help technology start-ups at Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

Apart from funding, Lam said what technology start-ups need most is the project itself. So, his company and colleagues at Technology Incubation Network resorted to giving start-ups some projects to work on. Sengital would normally hire the start-ups to do the product design to enable them to reap some revenues while gaining experience.

And recently, Sengital also began investing in technology start-up firms.

"I have two criteria when choosing start-ups to invest," said Lam, adding that firstly, he needs to know the entrepreneurial team for a period of time.

"Usually, I would spend time observing the start-ups that I had hired to do the projects. You can call it a test of their entrepreneurial drive - to see whether they would become careless as the project progresses well, and if they would get discouraged when facing challenges.

"Secondly, if I want to make an investment, the start-ups must have the plan and ability to grow quickly with my capital," Lam said.

Besides Technology Incubation Network, the Hong Kong Youth Council - a non-profit making organization - is organizing its second Youth Entrepreneurship Competition and offering incentives to young entrepreneurs.

Victor Pang, vice-chairman of Youth Council, told China Daily that it has received more than 100 business proposals so far this year - a significant growth compared to last year's competition.

The council has selected 11 proposals, based on their feasibility, creativity and sustainability, for the final stage of the contest. Two winners will be announced in November with a prize of HK$150,000 each.

Pang said the 11 teams chosen for the final are from different industries, such as technology, food and beverage and entertainment. The council has arranged for experts and business owners to meet the young entrepreneurs to help them revise and improve their business ideas.

"We've also arranged a two-day tour of Shenzhen to allow these young entrepreneurs a chance to see how mainland enterprises are being run and learn from them," he said.

Pang noted it's very encouraging to see so many young Hong Kong people eager to start their own businesses. He hopes the Youth Entrepreneurship Competition would help young people realize their dreams while encouraging others to take the first step towards starting an undertaking.

Taking the plunge

(HK Edition 09/26/2014 page9)