Mr. Shangkong

Busy season for Hong Kong's future entrepreneurs - from coffee shops to airport

From coffee shops to the airport, the talk among city's ambitious young is to be their own boss

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 October, 2015, 10:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 October, 2015, 1:16pm

The spirit of entrepreneurship has been certainly coming back to Hong Kong this year after growing doubts in recent years over where to find the next Li Ka-shing.

From almost any Starbucks shop across the city to a fast-growing number of high-level industry events, perhaps the three topics most often discussed are start-ups, innovation and entrepreneurship. In other words, as young Hongkongers keep complaining about low-pay entry-level jobs, many are striving to become their own bosses.

I was recently invited by Junior Achievement Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation that promotes entrepreneurship among youth, to sit in a start-up programme as an adviser for some students at King's College. Before our first meeting, I thought all the teenagers wanted were a couple of hours of chit-chat and fun. I was wrong.

I was impressed by how well informed they were about the latest technology trends, such as Facebook's virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, and they wanted to invent their own version. The students are clearly ambitious, and being ambitious is a key part of entrepreneurship.

This month, many fresh Hong Kong graduates applied for an employment-oriented training programme launched by Google and its local partners, including 40 major employers across the city. Those who join the "Google Ignite" programme can be the future masters of digital marketing and there are at least 80 jobs awaiting those who graduate from it. Many could eventually start their own businesses, providing digital marketing services, or launch their own social media apps.

Meanwhile, BSD Code and Design Academy recently launched a "15x15 programme" to train people in computer coding, design and digital marketing - three red-hot sectors for job opportunities. BSD staff said many young professionals were doing part-time study after work in the hope they could become their own bosses and launch their own game apps or work with other founders to promote new mobile devices.

Over the next two weeks, two high-level industry exhibitions and conferences about mobile technology and new electronic gadgets will be organised by Global Sources at AsiaWorld-Expo at the airport. Thousands of booths have been set up, including some by Hong Kong start-ups making their debuts in the competitive market for technology and innovation business.

After all the politically fuelled gloom hanging over the city in recent years, conversations at Starbucks, passionate teenagers at King's College, Google's efforts to help create more jobs for Hong Kong youths and the upcoming innovation events are positive signs that Hong Kong remains a dynamic city for entrepreneurship.


George Chen is managing editor of SCMP International Edition. For more Mr. Shangkong columns: or follow @george_chen on Twitter