Entrepreneurs and tech talents redefine local industries
The HKTDC Entrepreneur Day (E-Day), organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) on 16 and 17 July 2020. Under the theme “Revive‧Redefine”, the two-day event will bring together more than 30 speakers and 180 exhibitors, highlighting the practical and inspirational aspects of start-ups that can help to ensure the survival, growth, transformation and sustainability of the current business ecosystem in the face of significant changes and challenges.
As the anchor start-up initiative run by the HKTDC, E-Day serves as a one-stop platform for start-ups to get inspired, seek funding, source talents and build connections, and for investors to discover innovative new products and services. In light of the current pandemic, E-Day has undergone a transformation in terms of both content and format. Seminars held as part of E-Day will be broadcast live to reach a broader audience across the world, while the HKTDC will also arrange online meetings between start-ups and investors.
Insights into the future of entrepreneurship
Entering its 12th edition, this year’s E-Day presents a strong line-up of speakers. For the first time, a futurist will address the audience on emerging issues in the post-COVID-19 era in a seminar titled “T-Chat — Futurizing Your Business: Renaissance from the Age of Digitalisation”. The talk will feature Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency, who will shed light on future trends in such areas as business, society and governance in the context of exponential technological progress.
Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency
In a technology-dominated era, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming the main drivers for many businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated digitalisation by putting “remote everything” as the default setting. Addressing the audience from Switzerland, Mr Leonhard will share how the future of jobs, work and commerce is being redefined amid the challenges and transformation brought about by the pandemic; examine the role of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in creating major breakthroughs in a technology-dominated future; and look at what start-ups and entrepreneurs can do to be future-ready. He will be joined by Karena Belin, CEO & Co-Founder of WHub, Dr Toa Charm, Associate Professor, Business School, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Herbert Chia, Venture Partner at Sequoia Capital China, to discuss how COVID-19 will shape decision-making for start-ups, incubators and venture capitalists in Hong Kong and Asia. They will also answer questions from the floor.
Mr Leonhard is one of the world’s leading futurists whose work focuses on the future of humanity and technology, digital ethics, AI, future-leadership and communications. He has taken part in some 2,000 engagements in more than 60 countries since 2004, boasting a global audience of more than 2.5 million people.
How challenges lead to opportunities
A seminar titled From Crisis to Chances will examine how entrepreneurs are able to turn challenging situations into opportunities, offering inspiration to the audience. Highlighting Hong Kong’s research excellence and the city’s experience in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, Professor Yeung King-lun from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology will share how his team reacted to the challenges presented by the global pandemic to develop a smart anti-microbial coating, the Multilevel Antimicrobial Polymer (MAP-1) coating, to control infectious diseases. Designed for use on different surfaces including wood, glass, metals, concrete, plastics, fabrics, leathers and textiles, the coasting provides lasting protection and surface disinfection against microbial contamination for a period of up to 90 days. The university, in collaboration with industrial partner Chiaphua Industries Limited, has applied the smart coating in more than 70 day-care centres, homes for the elderly, kindergartens and primary and secondary schools. In addition, Professor HC Man, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will share on how his team launched the General Use Face Shield, to provide enhanced protection for the public and minimise the risk of virus transmission within the community.
Business opportunities are also arising for start-ups in fields such as fintech, smart city and education technology. Katherine Cheung, Chief Marketing Officer of on-demand online tutoring platform Snapask, will share on how recent social distancing measures have unleashed opportunities for the Hong Kong-based start-up in both local and overseas markets.
Founded five years ago, Snapask is now serving over 3.2 million students with more than 350,000 tutors across eight Asian locations — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Korea. The start-up has registered an increase of 1.3 million users over the past 12 months, including a big surge due to the suspension of classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Hong Kong, the platform currently has some 40,000 tutors and 200,000 active users, most of whom are high school students with a high percentage of them preparing for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination. Some parents also seek advice while helping their primary school kids with their homework. Understanding the demand from students studying late at night, Snapask has pushed the boundaries of traditional tutoring to offer a 24-hour service. Apart from its app, Snapask is also developing business-to-business (B2B) solutions using AI technology to provide personalised learning resources through big data analysis.
Pioneering ideas help to redefine industries
The E-Day plenary session, Revive‧Redefine, will feature two start-ups that are helping to redefine their respective industries through pioneering ideas. William Ip, Managing Director of Carousell Hong Kong, will share how the company has promoted the concept of a “sharing” future through its customer-to-customer (C2C) marketplace, which has recently been evolving into a business-to-consumer (B2C) Platform. Crystal Pang, Co-Founder of Pickupp, will introduce how the start-up is redefining the delivery industry and expanding its business in the Asian market. Pickupp also works with genetic testing and digital health companyPrenetics to provide a door-to-door saliva specimen collection service for patients who need to undergo COVID-19 testing.
The newly launched Enterprise Connect series, featuring Arup, Fung Group and P&G, will showcase how enterprises can join hands with start-ups to create shared value and revive businesses across different industry pillars. The series offers unparalleled opportunities — including speaker sessions, networking sessions and business matching activities — for corporations and start-ups to connect and explore potential collaboration.