Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings

Enterprising inventors

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 May, 2015, 12:02pm

Digital cameras make it cheap and easy for you to take tons of photos of your friends.

But do you find that you never have enough time to send the photos to your friends?

Winsie Lau Wan-sze and Oliver Nip Man-lok, both 21, have come up with an innovative solution to the problem.

It's a digital photo management system which uses face recognition technology to automatically send pictures to your friends.

Ms Lau says the idea came from real-life experience.

'My friends and I like taking photos. We can take loads of photos at a party. I've got more than 3,000 photos stored in my computer,' she says.

'But the problem is that after we get back to home, we are often too lazy to sort out the photos and send them to each other.'

With PowerPic, the name they've given their software idea, you can build up an identity for your friends which includes their individual portrait and e-mail address.

Then, whenever you upload pictures of your friends, the system's face-recognition technology will automatically identify the people in your photos and send them copies.

The duo's creativity, together with their detailed business plan, won them the top prize in this year's HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards.

The competition was judged by a panel which included HSBC chairman Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen, Cheung Kong deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, and Secretary for Education and Manpower Arthur Li Kwok-cheung.

Ms Lau and Mr Nip's rivals in the final round included a team from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and a team from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), who clinched the first runner-up and second runner-up prizes respectively.

The three teams that reached the final round were picked from 330 business proposals submitted by nearly 900 tertiary students, following three rounds of competitive selection.

The HKUST team proposed a software package that facilitates piano practice by providing feedback on accuracy, tempo and dynamics. The PolyU team put forward a business plan for a diary for mobile phones in which users can input descriptions and photos, like a blog, and search for information.

The judges said that the finalists' ideas were all innovative and applicable, but that the biggest difference was how well the teams presented their business plans in English.

'Some of them didn't speak English very fluently and this affected their performance,' said one of the judges, Marjorie Yang Man-tuk, who is chair of textile company Esquel.

'Presentation skills are very important because you have to convince the investors to invest in your projects.'

Agreeing that good English was a key to success in the global market, Victor Li encouraged young people to be bold in setting up their own businesses.

'There are lots of opportunities in the market. The question is whether you know how to grab them,' the tycoon said.

'There may be times when you feel deterred but you must have confidence in your business idea and strive on.'

The awards scheme, now in its sixth year, aims to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship amongs post-secondary school students.

It requires each participating team to develop a creative and commercially-viable business plan.

The Hong Kong champions will enter the regional finals in June, and face stiff competition from their counterparts in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.