‘Balance Beyond the Boom’ – HKTDC Entrepreneur Day helps start-ups prepare for the post-pandemic landscape

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  • Inaugural ‘Start-up Express International’ gets international and local start-ups talking

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) announces the launch of Entrepreneur Day, a three-day (30 November to 2 December) event with the theme of ‘Balance Beyond the Boom’. Packed with a hybrid mix of online and physical seminars and exhibitions, the event explores a diverse range of developments in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through forums, exhibitions, workshops, and networking events in the “Start-up Arena”, industry leaders, experts, start-ups and participants learn how to achieve business success in the post-pandemic world. The first-ever “Start-up Express International” will also be held on 1 December bringing together local and international start-ups to exchange views and share experience, as well as encourage overseas expansion.

Organised by HKTDC, Entrepreneur Day began today. Margaret Fong, Executive Director of the HKTDC, delivered the welcoming remarks.
During the seminar, “T-Chat – Global VC Investment: Rise or Fall”, Eric Manlunas, Founder & Managing Partner of Wavemaker Partners, Duncan Chiu, Council Member (Technology and Innovation) of HKSAR Legislative Council, and Karena Belin, Co-founder of AngelHub & WHub, provided their outlook for the global venture capital market next year.
The “Start-up Zone” and “The Boosters” showcased over 30 start-ups and start-up supporting companies.

Welcoming participants to the event, Margaret Fong, Executive Director of the HKTDC, said: “We are delighted to host Entrepreneur Day in hybrid format for the first time. The pandemic has caused considerable disruption to market economies across the world. It has also hit entrepreneurs hard. Yet, I am encouraged by the new and emerging opportunities entrepreneurs are seizing, including in the digital economy. Indeed, entrepreneurs are the heartbeat of our global economy. Just like the pandemic, they disrupt the status quo. They challenge convention to enable progress. They accelerate innovation and economic growth across the globe.”

“Under the theme ‘Balance Beyond the Boom’, we will explore the trajectory of the global start-up ecosystem since the start-up boom and help start-ups gain a foothold in key markets, especially the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. To celebrate the Start-up Express’s 5th anniversary, we will launch its international series on Entrepreneur Day, when outstanding overseas early-stage start-ups will be invited to share the stage with Start-up Express winners.”

Charting the way forward with advice from experts
Entrepreneur Day featured several seminars beginning with “T-Chat – Global VC Investment: Rise or Fall?”. According to data from Dealroom, venture capital firms invested more than $675 billion in start-ups worldwide in 2021 or double the amount from the previous year. However, global capital markets have seen heightened volatility this year despite the fading impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eric Manlunas, Founder & Managing Partner of Wavemaker Partners, Duncan Chiu, Council Member (Technology and Innovation) of HKSAR Legislative Council, and Karena Belin, Co-founder of AngelHub & WHub, reviewed their investments in 2022 and shared their outlook for the global venture capital market next year. They also offered advice on how entrepreneurs can better equip themselves to raise funds in a potentially difficult environment.

Eric Manlunas said: “Despite the uncertainties of the current macro environment, global venture capital is here to stay, given the social utility it provides. Venture capital is a strong catalyst for innovation and business formation, thus its purpose is more compelling than ever [before], in spite of the current macroeconomic challenges”.

Duncan Chiu said: “Keep tracking talents. Talents attract talents. Fintech is not just [about] technologies, but still has to comply with international regulations”.

In a fast-changing world, start-ups need to be able to adapt to a dynamic environment while still being cautious about funding. The “Capture Funds at Critical Times” workshop featured Mingles Tsoi, Chief eXploration Officer of ParticleX, who has guided local and international technology start-ups through the challenges of fundraising, and Brian Tsui, Co-Founder of the Chicago Booth Angels Network, who shared their personal experience and advise to start-ups on their fundraising strategies and planning.

Enhancing customer experience with NFTs to create business opportunities
With non-fungible tokens (NFTs) becoming the talk of the town, Lucas Cheung, Managing Partner of leading Asian brand technology firm Gusto Collective, and Nick Lau, founder of digital luxury Web3 platform WEAR, shared their insights on the application of NFTs in the entertainment and fashion space. Cheung discussed how his company has enhanced brand value and opened doors to new opportunities through immersive customer experiences. Lau shared how WEAR has integrated physical products with digital collectibles and the company’s successful collaborations with world-renowned brands.

Propelling re-industrialization of Hong Kong – the springboard to the GBA
With a mature ecosystem for start-ups to thrive in, Hong Kong is well-known for its business-friendly environment and for incubating outstanding enterprises. In the panel discussion “Entrepreneurship in HK – Scaling up through Hong Kong”, previous winners of the Start-up Express competition shared their experience of starting a business in the city. The panel discussion involved Justin Chan, CEO & Co-Founder of Gense Technologies, KK Chiu, Co-Founder & CEO of Zeek, and Mazing Lee, Co-Founder & CEO of Lify Company Limited.

The 12th World SME Summit, co-organised by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Businesses, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and aimed to facilitate re-industrialisation in Hong Kong. The summit had the theme of “Achieving re-industrialisation through innovation in the new era” with discussions considering ways to expedite Hong Kong’s re-industrialisation efforts. In the session, Herbert Chia, Venture Partner of Sequoia Capital China, pinpointed the benefits of applying innovative technology from an investor’s perspective.

Turning waste into gold for a circular economy
With investors increasingly looking to support the recycling sector, Shrikanth Narasimha, Director of Sustainability and Supply Chain, Far East, Mainetti (HK) Limited, detailed the development of closed-loop recycling of plastic materials and the use of blockchain in the recycling process. Meanwhile, Rachel Barr, Vice President of Sustainability from the Israeli start-up UBQ Materials, shared the firm’s work to transform domestic waste into plastic products in collaboration with Mainetti (HK), while Ricci Wong, Founder and CEO of social enterprise HK Timberbank, explained how his start-up helps sort, cut, and dry damaged trees, recycling them into commercial timber and furniture.

Exhibiting innovations from emerging industries
The Entrepreneur Day exhibition also gathered more than 130 start-ups showcasing innovative products and technology as well as support services for the start-up ecosystem. The exhibition helped participants find business opportunities, secure professional advice and connect with potential business partners. The “Start-up Zone” showcased start-ups from a wide array of industry verticals ranging from medical and biotechnology products, green and food technology, to fintech and edtech. “The Boosters” featured organisations and government bodies supporting start-ups with the latest market insights and consulting services.

Start-up Express International – Fostering connections between local and global start-ups
To mark the 5th anniversary of “Start-up Express”, a start-up incubation programme, the HKTDC will launch “Start-up Express International” tomorrow during Entrepreneur Day 2022 where ten international start-ups from countries including Belgium, Mainland China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States with diverse technology backgrounds like health, education, smart cities, and agriculture, to blockchain, robo-technology, and marketing, will share their experiences together with the local winners of Start-up Express.

The HKTDC selected 30 international start-ups before choosing the final ten. Among those 30 international firms, many of which have won awards in the Mainland and overseas, are InxMed, a biotech company in Mainland China working on developing innovative therapies for tumour resistance and metastasis; inConAlert, a German healthtech company offering a wearable medical sensor; Mobbi, an Italian technology start-up that introduced the world’s first portable power bank rental app; and SynCom Agritech, a Japanese agritech start-up. They all hope to contribute to solving livelihood, social and environmental problems through innovative business ideas and new technology.

The top 10 winners of the competition were: inContAlert from Germany, Contents.com from Italy, Closer Inc. from Japan, VegeSense; KnowCarbon; InxMed from Mainland China, OTECH (Otsuka Technology) from Singapore, AON from South Korea, MOBIQU from Turkey, and rThreat from the United States. The winning start-ups will gain access to marketing and technical support, as well as consulting services and concessionary rents by HKTDC, helping them set up a business presence in Hong Kong.

rThreat, one of the winning start-ups, said: “We would like to thank HKTDC for arranging Start-up Express International as it has allowed us a chance to learn from our peers from around the globe, establish business relationships and explore potential business partners.”

The judging panel for Start-up Express International this year comprised Fred Li, Executive Director at Gobi Partners, Francis Pun, Promotions and Community Development Lead at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, and Clara Hong, Senior Manager of Ecosystem Development at Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited.

Alongside Entrepreneur Day, the Business Intellectual Property of Asia Forum will be held from tomorrow to 2 December, serving as an ideal platform for global IP experts and business leaders to investigate the latest trends in the Asian IP market and look for opportunities.

Exhibition and Forum Website
– Entrepreneur Day: https://eday.hktdc.com/conference/eday/en
– Start-up Express International: https://portal.hktdc.com/startupexpress/en/s/start-up-express-international
– Photo download: https://bit.ly/3VI4VGh

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 organises 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.

Media enquiries
Please contact Hill+Knowlton Strategies:
Joyce Kwong, Tel: +852 6842 5929, Email: joyce.kwong@hkstrategies.com
Nannerl Yau, Tel: +852 6846 7888, Email: nannerl.yau@hkstrategies.com

HKTDC’s Communications & Public Affairs Department:
Clayton Lauw, Tel: +852 2584 4472, Email: clayton.y.lauw@hktdc.org
Janet Chan, Tel: +852 2584 4369, Email: janet.ch.chan@hktdc.org
Sunny Ng, Tel: +852 2584 4357, Email: sunny.sl.ng@hktdc.org

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