Lunar New Year fair the testing ground for future entrepreneurs
Lunar New Year fairs have been for some a place to buy festive goodies, but for others they have provided a testing ground for their creativity and entrepreneurial skills when the economy is booming. Ku Man-wui, 21, and his five young 'partners' are among those hoping to succeed.
They have already obtained a 12-square-metre stall at Tung Tau Industrial Area Playground in Yuen Long and now have to show they can deliver the goods.
Mr Ku is a second-year business student from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (HakingWong).
During a project at a Lunar New Year fair last year, he and 19 students made an 80 per cent profit. And, because of this, he is confident of doing some 'real business' again this year and selling many products.
'The economy is prospering and people are more willing to buy. And now we have more experience in setting a budget, managing human resources and handling stocks,' said Mr Ku, adding that their investment was going to increase from HK$10,000 to HK$30,000 this year to buy more stock.
As the fair in early February will be held in the same month as St Valentine's Day, the young entrepreneur and his partners are hoping to take advantage of this.
'We have some special products such as underwear with roses on it,' he said. 'We also have other products such as balloons that we believe will sell well.'
Mr Ku, who is determined to set up his own business after graduation, said the Lunar New Year fairs were a good training ground for applying the business principles they learned in textbooks.
'We have made better preparations and I feel better decisions than last year. We have learned from mistakes we made in 2006.'
Meanwhile, Cheung Chi-wai of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups said ambitious youngsters should make sure they have a comprehensive plan before trying their luck.
'Many young stallholders don't have the right idea about costs. They also fail to keep their morale high throughout the project. Running a stall at a fair is like running a small business and there are many blind spots where one can get caught out,' he said.
The youngsters say they plan to turn their stall into a classroom before the fair by organising a reward scheme. They will hold workshops for others who will be running stalls and help them with management, sales and teamwork problems.
The applications and details of the scheme can be viewed at www.U21.hk/yen.