Trade fair looking to recruit entrepreneurs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2005, 12:00am

An 18-month trade fair in Wong Tai Sin will give hundreds of unemployed people a chance to realise their entrepreneurial dreams - as long as they have a good streak of artistic creativity.

The Creative Arts Playground, to start in November and last until May 2007, will have 50 dry-goods and food stalls and is expected to create more than 500 jobs.

The event, organised by the Hong Kong Playground Association, will be held at a vacant plot next to Wong Tai Sin Temple, where a similar fair ran for three months from the end of 2002 and ran up losses of $3 million.

The new fair, at 4,000 square metres, will be one-third the size of the previous one and will be open from 10am to 10pm daily.

The applicants will have to submit a detailed written proposal, preferably with graphics, outlining their ideas, which must be both creative and original.

Wan Lap-man, the group's chief development officer for planning and research, said: 'In the last fair, shops in the surrounding areas complained that many fair stalls were selling similar items cheaply and therefore affected their business. Hence the Home Affairs Department and the District Council have introduced this rule on us.'

A stall will cost at least $3,000 a month to rent and its operators will have to pay for electricity. The organisers will manage security and offer entrepreneurial training for the successful applicants.

They said their priority would be to minimise losses and to ensure the fair ran for the planned duration without too many problems.

'Running a flea market is not easy and often ends in failures due to rows with stall operators and weak customer flow,' Mr Wan said.

'For this market, we are hoping to do more to build up customer flow such as holding events every week and offering special activities like hot air balloon rides. Even so, I have to admit that it will be a remarkable feat if we can actually achieve break-even at the end of the day.'