Start-up Express, an entrepreneurship development programme organised annually by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), has returned for its fifth edition. As they face up to issues arising from the ongoing pandemic and adverse global economy, start-up enterprises are in need of support more than ever before. This year's programme continues to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses by building connections, exploring markets, seeking partners and enhancing brand awareness.
Nurturing a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem
Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of HKTDC, said the HKTDC would continue its commitment to supporting entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses, especially during the pandemic, in addition to promoting the city's capabilities in the areas of innovation and technology.
"Since the first edition of Start-up Express in 2018, the programme has already nurtured 40 start-ups, most of which are still active and have expanded on a considerable scale. Start-up Express has given tremendous support to local start-ups, helping them explore global markets, seal major orders and win international awards. We will continue our quest to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, assisting start-ups in growing their businesses to the next level and helping them gain a foothold in the global arena. The HKTDC remains committed to building a sustainable and international entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes local economic growth and business development," Mr Liang said.
New ESG Award recognises socially aware projects
Start-up Express is aimed at local tech start-ups that have plans to expand into international markets. As the pandemic situation gradually begins to ease, innovative business models and fresh ideas will provide a new stimulus for the economy in post-pandemic times. The enrolment for Start-up Express 2022 reflects the great enthusiasm of local entrepreneurs, with shortlisted start-ups coming from a broader spectrum of fields than ever before including emerging technologies such as art tech, green tech, health tech, prop tech, fintech, smart city tech, edtech, food tech and more. This year, the ESG Award has been added to reward the most sustainable and socially efficient start-up.
HKTDC offers full support to boost business development
The Pitching Final of this year's Start-up Express will be held on 15 June. The winning start-ups will be offered access to capability-building workshops, mentoring sessions, exploratory missions to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, marketing sessions, extensive publicity and investor pitching opportunities. These activities will help the winning entrepreneurs hone their business skills, gain access to the latest market insights and acquire business know-how from experienced industry leaders. The winning start-ups will also be presented with opportunities to interact with buyers and investors at HKTDC-organised local and overseas events. In addition, the HKTDC will arrange business matching meetings, helping the entrepreneurs to connect with potential partners, increase their media exposure and enhance brand awareness.
Taking the pulse of the market and building a global network
Mr Liang added: "Last year's winning teams stood out because of their innovative and forward-looking ideas. Through Start-up Express they were able to gain more insights into their industries, overseas market trends and investor preferences by participating in different HKTDC-organised events, including the Asia Summit on Global Health, Asian Financial Forum, the Belt and Road Summit, online exhibitions in Mainland China and overseas, and investor meetings in Hong Kong and the mainland. They have also been able to strengthen their business networks and expand their markets and businesses through the exposure they have gained. To help fuel the growth of these start-ups, the HKTDC also leveraged its network of 50 overseas offices worldwide to endorse them in international competitions and connect them to overseas investors through pitching events."
Professional judging panel to select 10 most outstanding start-ups
In the 2022 Pitching Final, the judging panel will select 10 outstanding teams out of 20 shortlisted start-ups. This year's panel comprises Raymond Yung, Vice Chairman, AMTD Group; Jason Chiu, Chairman, Hong Kong Start-up Council; Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation), Sino Group; Ben Cheng, Managing Partner, C Ventures; and Arshad Chowdhury, Managing Partner, Betatron Venture Group. In addition, AMTD Group is the Strategic Partner of Start-up Express for the fourth consecutive year.
Start-ups selected for the shortlisted top 20 in the Pitching Final have all presented innovative business solutions that help address social and environmental issues. Among them:
- Allklear advocates the concept of plant-based, functional and sustainable foods through innovative technology to produce a new generation of future health foods.
- i2cool has developed a radiative cooling paint that consumes no energy and does not require any cooling agent, and is able to reduce the surface temperature of buildings.
- PONS.ai, an artificial intelligence-powered phygital social marketplace for art and entertainment products, aims to empower creators worldwide with digital ownership.
- FlashGreen champions environmental friendliness by recycling stocks of short-dated, best-before-date foods from suppliers and reselling them at lower prices in vending machines.
Start-up Express 2022 Pitching Final
- Date: 15 June 2022 (Wednesday)
HKTDC SME Centre
1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai
Due to limited space, a livestream session will be arranged at the Media Centre. Media representatives are welcome to interview the winning start-ups at the SME Centre after the event has concluded.
- Judging panel
Raymond Yung, Vice Chairman, AMTD Group
Jason Chiu, Chairman, Hong Kong Start-up Council
Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation), Sino Group
Ben Cheng, Managing Partner, C Ventures
Arshad Chowdhury, Managing Partner, Betatron Venture Group
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