The Hong Kong Trade Development Council is strengthening its start-up support programme, with the 10th edition of Entrepreneur Day this Thursday and Friday to feature a variety of initiatives to support aspiring start-ups. Earlier, the HKTDC also participated in a South China Morning Post conference on start-up opportunities in Hong Kong. Entrepreneur Day, a two-day event held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, comprises exhibitions, informative forums, pitching sessions and networking events for start-ups to gather market information, seek advice and funding, and build connections. The event is the HKTDC’s flagship project to support Hong Kong and international start-ups, which is also the objective of the SCMP’s recent Game Changer Series conference themed “Scaling Local Start-ups, Connecting Global Ecosystem.” The conference brought together start-ups, investors, potential partners and supporting organisations including the HKTDC, Science Park and Cyberport to exchange ideas on strengthening the start-up clusters in the city as well as globally. Among the speakers was Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director at HKTDC, who shared his insights on how Hong Kong start-ups can benefit from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development, the details of which are set to be unveiled shortly. “If you are a start-up based in this city, then you have a distinct advantage, something that ecosystems in other parts of Asia and the Silicon Valley can only dream of – being part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area,” he said. According to HKTDC Research, the most important market for Hong Kong start-ups is Hong Kong itself, and the second-most important market is the Chinese mainland. However, in terms of market potential, the Chinese mainland ranks number one, with 56 per cent of Hong Kong start-ups targeting this market for the long run. “The Bay Area development helps on both counts. In a way, it expands Hong Kong’s domestic market, and makes it easier for start-ups to enter the Chinese mainland market,” said Mr Liang. “Certainly, for the Bay Area to work as a single market, there are still details to be ironed out. But what is certain is the freer movement of people, goods and services.” It means that Hong Kong’s de facto “domestic” market – for talent, customers, buyers, products and raw materials -- will expand nearly nine times. “That’s a quantum leap, not available to other parts of Asia and the Silicon Valley!” Mr Liang explained there is strong support available to start-ups in Hong Kong. “There is a strong will throughout the community, from the top leadership of Hong Kong to all relevant public and private organisations, to help drive our innovation and technology development. “Link up with the ecosystem. There is no need to fight a lone battle. Plenty of help is available these days. There is a great variety of start-up support and incubation programmes in Hong Kong, offered by the HKTDC, Science Park, Cyberport and other institutions,” said Mr Liang. During the conference, Peter Mok, Head of Incubation and Acceleration Programmes at Science Park, shared his views on opportunities available in Hong Kong’s start-up scene. Toa Charm, Chief Public Mission Officer at Cyberport, spoke on the strong support start-ups can get from Hong Kong’s innovative infrastructure. Duncan Turner, General Partner of SOSV and Managing Director of HAX Shenzhen, talked about the advantages of the Bay Area, sharing the challenge and success he had encountered in growing the hardware ecosystem in Shenzhen.