Hong Kong Polytechnic University: PolyU Maker Fund to help young people embrace hardware start-up opportunities in the Greater Bay Area

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is delighted to obtain support from the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) of the HKSAR Government through the Youth Development Fund (YDF) Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The funding will enhance PolyU’s capability to foster the next generation of young entrepreneurs. In particular, the University plans to harness the funding to establish the “PolyU Maker Fund Programme 2021” (the “Programme”), as a “We Venture” Project funded by YDF.

Tailored for young Hong Kong people, the Programme will facilitate the product development of local hardware start-ups by providing funding and training support, as well as by leveraging the manufacturing capabilities of Greater Bay Area (GBA) cities such as Shenzhen and Dongguan, so as to help them meet the challenges in their prototype development and manufacturing scale-up. The Programme will also draw upon PolyU’s expertise, resources, industry links and alumni networks, and will furthermore benefit from PolyU’s close ties with partners like Shenzhen University, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.

“With an aim of fostering PolyU’s research and innovation and translating them into impactful applications, the University has been supporting academic-led and student-led entrepreneurship through different funding, education and incubation programmes under PolyU’s entrepreneurship support system,” said Dr Miranda Lou, Executive Vice President of PolyU. “Thanks to HAB’s support, the Programme reinforces our commitment to cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generation. Combining the innovation power of young Hong Kong people with the production capacity and market potential of mainland GBA cities, the initiative would generate exciting opportunities for hardware start-ups for the benefit of industry and society.”

Hardware development normally requires significant resources and capabilities, such as high starting capital, large manufacturing space and enabling facilities. It also involves a long iterative process to turn an idea into a marketable product. Hence, local infant-to-early hardware start-ups usually face many difficulties on their road to success. The Programme, which focuses on hardware start-ups, will help them address these challenges. It is scheduled to launch in April 2021. Application details will be announced in due course.

The YDF is under the administration of the Youth Development Commission (YDC) of the HAB. It aims at supporting youth entrepreneurship and youth development activities through collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including working with NGOs in the form of a matching fund to help young people start their own business. The YDC rolled out the Funding Scheme for Experiential Programmes at Innovation and Entrepreneurial Bases in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in 2019. The schemes aim at subsidising Hong Kong NGOs to provide start-up assistance and incubation services that befit the needs of young people who are about to start their businesses in Hong Kong and Mainland cities of the GBA, including helping them settle in entrepreneurial bases and further helping them meet their initial capital needs.

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