Development programme promotes social innovation

Start-up Express, an entrepreneurship development programme organized annually by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), has returned for its fourth edition. The Pitching Final of the programme came to a successful conclusion today with a judging panel selecting exceptional Hong Kong tech start-ups that presented inspirational ideas and innovative solutions to help overcome social and environmental issues.

The Start-up Express Pitching Contest winners pictured together with the judging panel and special guests. Pictured on the front row (from left) are judges Herbert Chia, Venture Partner, Sequoia Capital China; Raymond Yung, Vice Chairman, AMTD Global Advisory Committee; Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of HKTDC; Hendrick Sin, Co-founder & Executive Director & Vice Chairman, CMGE Technology Group Limited; and Duncan Chiu, Co-founder, Radiant Venture Capital Limited.
The distinguished judging panel witnessed the rise of new start-up success stories.
Renowned stand-up comedian Vivek Mahbubani, the event host, talked to entrepreneurs from some of the participating start-ups.

For the second consecutive year, the Pitching Final was live-streamed online due to the pandemic. The Social Impact Award, established to recognize innovative and sustainable start-up ideas that create real social impact, was awarded to Breer. The “My Favourite Start-up Award”, decided through live online polling, was awarded to Growgreen. The “AMTD SpiderNet Start-up Award” was awarded to HK Bio-Rhythm R&D and offers the winner to have open access to AMTD SpiderNet ecosystem. The 10 winners of the Pitching Final will participate in local and international activities that will help them develop their businesses by building connections, exploring markets, seeking partners and enhancing brand awareness.

Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of HKTDC, said: “As the pandemic situation gradually begins to ease, and global trade and economic activities continue to recover, innovative business models and ideas will become a new stimulus for the economy in post-pandemic times. The enrolment for Start-up Express 2021 reflected the great enthusiasm of local entrepreneurs, with shortlisted start-ups coming from a broader spectrum of fields than ever before, including new areas such as green tech, health tech and retail tech. Start-up Express has given tremendous support to local start-ups over the past three years, helping them explore global markets, seal major orders and win international awards. The HKTDC will continue its quest to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, assisting start-ups in growing their businesses to the next level.”

Start-ups promote social innovation

The shortlisted companies in this year’s Start-up Express were mainly focused on new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, smart city tech, fintech and big data, with other emerging technologies such as green tech, health tech and retail tech also covered. In the Pitching Final, contestants put forward their innovative business ideas and responded to questions raised by a distinguished panel of judges as well as the online audience. This year’s judging panel comprised:

– Raymond Yung, Vice Chairman, AMTD Global Advisory Committee; Board Director, AMTD International (NYSE:HKIB; SGX:HKB)
– Duncan Chiu, Co-founder, Radiant Venture Capital Limited
– Herbert Chia, Venture Partner, Sequoia Capital China
– Hendrick Sin, Co-founder & Executive Director & Vice Chairman, CMGE Technology Group Limited
– Norma Chu, Founder, DayDayCook

The winners of the 2021 Start-up Express Pitching contest are: Kin Shun Information Technology (HK), PanopticAI, HK Bio-Rhythm R&D, CLAIRE Clinical AI Research, Wizpresso, Growgreen, Aurora Tele-Oncology, Kamakura Foods, Dayta AI, DeepTranslate. Click here (https://tinyurl.com/b7uu89n7) to view the profiles of each of the winning start-ups which will be able to join a range of local and international activities and events, exploring networking opportunities with potential investors, buyers and business partners.

Attracting investors

AMTD Group is the Sole Strategic Partner of Start-up Express for the third consecutive year. Calvin Choi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMTD Group, shared his perspective on the contest. “I am impressed by the performance of our city’s young entrepreneurs in this year’s Start-up Express Pitching Final presentation. We shortlisted more start-ups from a broader spectrum of fields this year. Among the product design and technology solutions, the area of environmental, social and governance (ESG) was heavily featured, with numerous innovative ideas and practical solutions presented, showcasing the unique business ideas of the participants and demonstrating the innovative power of the young generation in Hong Kong.”

He added: “As the pandemic begins to ease, entrepreneurs with strategic foresight and flexibility can adjust their business plans according to the current market landscape so as to overcome challenges and maintain ongoing development, exploring new opportunities amid this ever-changing business environment.” With the support of AMTD Group, the SpiderNet Start-up Award was established to recognize the top performer selected by AMTD in the Pitching Final. The award aims to provide the winner with a unique and rare opportunity to access the resources and network of the AMTD SpiderNet ecosystem. The winner will benefit greatly in terms of its future business development and will also create synergies with other entrepreneurs within the ecosystem.

Duncan Chiu, Co-founder, Radiant Venture Capital Limited and a member of this year’s judging panel, said: “There are bound to be challenged in every entrepreneurial journey and the strength of a true entrepreneur is the ability to fight their way through the hard times. The global economy has been affected by the pandemic, so I am delighted to see so many Start-up Express applicants amid this uncertainty, showing their determination to fight through adversity and succeed. Each start-up has its own strength, and its innovative ideas could help to boost social development. Regardless of the result, we hope all participants will embrace new opportunities in the international market through Start-up Express’s unique support system, building connections and seeking opportunities with potential investors and partners. The entrepreneurial journey is never easy, but the results can definitely be fruitful.”

Assistance building brand reputation and awareness

A key driver for start-ups looking to participate in Start-up Express is the opportunity to enhance their brand awareness while also connecting with mentors, partners and investors through HKTDC-organised local and overseas events and extensive highly curated marketing exposure. This provides start-ups with the chance to learn from experts and strengthen their core business.

Past winners of Start-Up Express have benefited from new opportunities, including Return Helper, which offers a data-driven return management solution that optimizes the return process and aftermarket activities for online retailers; and Gense Technologies, which develops portable imaging devices for patients’ continuous health monitoring.

Roy Wan, Co-founder and CEO of Return Helper, said: “With the assistance provided by the HKTDC, I successfully connected with e-commerce associations and organizations in Taiwan and Guangzhou, meeting almost 200 e-commerce representatives last October. These are the kind of valuable opportunities open to Start-up Express winners.”

Justin Chan, Co-founder and CEO of Gense Technologies, said numerous media interviews were arranged through the HKTDC, which have greatly enhanced his company’s brand awareness and enabled more people to get to know its products and technologies.

HKTDC throws full support behind local start-ups

The HKTDC has always given its full support to Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping to maintain the city’s status as a competitive business centre and hub for innovation.

– The Hong Kong Start-up Fiesta, held in May and June, comprises a full range of activities to support and foster the local start-up ecosystem and help innovative new companies capture business opportunities amid the challenges of the pandemic.
– The Start-up Express Master League, concluded in May, selected the programme alumni that had demonstrated the most vigorous business growth since joining the cohort.
– Co-organised with the Hong Kong Startup Council in mid-June, Enterprise Connect: Solution Day invited start-ups in the areas of medtech, food tech and wellness tech to present their ideas under the theme “Well Being Tech”, pitching to business users and fostering collaboration between start-ups and user enterprises.
– Co-organised with The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups in mid-June, the Young Founders’ Camp equipped young entrepreneurs via brainstorming workshops and mentorship sessions, offering a testing ground for them to implement their start-up ideas.
– The success stories of various Start-up Express alumni have been brought together in the Start-up Express Digital Book: A Journey to Success.

In addition, to help enterprises the HKTDC runs the “HKTDC Transformation Sandbox (T-box)”, offering free support on branding, e-commerce, manufacturing relocation and new market development. The “Voice of Start-ups” series has been launched on the HKTDC online platform to promote the success stories of local start-ups and show how their creativity and versatility help them thrive and capture local and overseas business opportunities. As well as organizing Start-up Express, the HKTDC will give more support to start-ups by hosting the annual Entrepreneur Day in December.

More information
Start-up Express: http://info.hktdc.com/startupexpress/en/index.html
Photo download: https://bit.ly/3h51AQ5

About HKTDC

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organizes international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn

About AMTD

AMTD Group is a comprehensive conglomerate in Asia, with businesses in investment banking, institutional asset management, digital solutions, real estate and hospitality, and education. AMTD Group is a global Strategic Partner Associate of the World Economic Forum, and has been the Grand Sponsor to the Singapore FinTech Festival since 2017 and Sole Strategic Partner to the Hong Kong FinTech Week since 2018.

AMTD International (NYSE: HKIB; SGX:HKB), a subsidiary of AMTD Group and dual-listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Singapore Exchange, is a leading independent investment bank in Asia and one of Asia’s largest independent asset management companies and is also a leading investment house in the financial and new economy.

AMTD Digital, a one-stop comprehensive digital solutions platform in Asia under AMTD Group, operates in businesses covering digital financial services, digital media, content & marketing, SpiderNet ecosystem solutions, and digital investment. Airstar Bank, one of the eight licensed virtual banks in Hong Kong, is a joint venture between AMTD and Xiaomi and a portfolio under this platform and is also one of the earlier virtual banks launching its service.

Media inquiries
HKTDC Communications & Public Affairs Department
Christine Kam, Tel: +852 2584 4514, Email: christine.kam@hktdc.org

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