The 2014 “PolyU Micro Fund” award presentation ceremony was held on 29 September at Hotel ICON.
To cultivate innovative and entrepreneurial ambiance within the university community and nurture socially responsible young entrepreneurs with the “Do Well Do Good” entrepreneurial spirit, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) established the “PolyU Micro Fund” Scheme in 2011 to provide seed funding for students and alumni to support their entrepreneurial venturing.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU, said, “Micro Fund had supported 64 projects and nurtured over 180 young entrepreneurs. In the past 3 years, our awardees collectively secured over $20 million of external investments, incubation or financial support. We are very much encouraged by these achievements.”
Applicants of Micro Fund are required to submit a commercially viable business proposal for evaluation. The award-winning business ventures will receive HK$100,000 seed funding for the implementation.
Among the 135 applications received this year, 20 business ventures, including but not limited to social enterprise, product design, cultural education and multi-media applications, etc, have been awarded the seed funding. Two of the award-winning projects are briefly described as follows:
Experiential Learning Programme is a life simulation programme for primary students in Hong Kong. It aims to increase confidence of primary school students in the future by letting them experience their life journey in 10 years’ time. Through simulating activities ranging from studying in secondary school, entering University, choosing study streams, graduating to job seeking and experiencing failure in job interviews, students can discover their own strengths and think about their future development. During the process, mentors will target at the problem faced by participating students and offer them counseling, building confidence of students and helping them grow. The programme has been successfully implemented in a number of primary schools including Kowloon Rhenish School, W.F. Joseph Lee Primary School, and win acclaim from principals and teachers.
UNsuspended aims at promoting sharing culture in Hong Kong. Through the UNsuspended platform, individuals or corporate givers could purchase a variety of food coupons for the underprivileged. The coupons will then be distributed to the underprivileged through NGOs and welfare organizations. By bringing the giving individuals or corporations, NGOs and the needy together, Unsuspended provides a convenient and reliable platform and promotes sharing culture more effectively. Unsuspended is now collaborating with restaurants in Mongkok in selling coupons on-line, benefiting low-income families in Yau Ma Tei, Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Exploration of collaboration with chain food stores are underway.
Today, PolyU also launched StartHub (www.starthub.hk), a one-stop portal for youngsters to look for start-up information, news, blogs and resources, to support youngsters who aspire to develop their own businesses.
In addition to providing seed funding, PolyU also provides much pre-incubation support to the awardees at the infancy stage of their business, including entrepreneurship training workshops and mentorship programmes. Last year, PolyU organized various entrepreneurship programmes for undergraduates and research students to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within PolyU community.