Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) has cut the rent for local start-up technology companies by 38.5 per cent and is offering one year rent free to new participants in its incubation programme. HKSTP has also decided to admit firms with business track records of several years and start-ups spun off from well-established firms into the programme. The moves were aimed at assisting more home-grown entrepreneurs to commercialise technology into products and services, said HKSTP chief executive Peter Lo Yat-fai. Better resource deployment after the merger of Provisional Hong Kong Science Park, Hong Kong Industrial Estates and the Hong Kong Industrial Technology Centre into HKSTP had allowed funding of the programme's expansion, he said. Offered by the Industrial Technology Centre prior to the merger, the programme gives entrepreneurs low-rent office space, legal and accounting services, and referral to venture capital firms. Successful applicants are offered below-market rent of HK$13 per square feet during the programme's three-year period, and HK$240,000 in subsidies. The rent has been lowered to HK$8 per square feet to both new and existing participants. Some 96 companies have taken part in the programme, of which more than 70 completed it and now operate independently. Mr Lo hoped to increase the number of participants from 23 now to 70 by June.