Oxons Café social enterprise opens at Hong Kong College of Technology in bid to foster spirit of entrepreneurship among young

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 December, 2015, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 December, 2015, 6:13pm

Hong Kong College of Technology has joined forces with Monin Ung, an alumnus of Britain’s prestigious Oxford University, to open the Asian city’s first social impact café on HKCT’s campus in Ma On Shan.

It said the goal is to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship among young people in Hong Kong.

Dubbed Oxons Café, it serves organic food and will host regular weekend workshops where industry leaders like Don Moran, creator of the USB flash drive, or Ray Mueller, former mayor of Menlo Park in Silicon Valley, will give talks and share their insights with HKCT students in the coming year.

The café is the first of its kind in Hong Kong to focus on training young people in starting their own companies.

Founder Monin Ung said she hopes to expose HKCT students to the University of Oxford’s spirit of learning through a number of initiatives.

The café will serve as a platform for students to connect with industry leaders and business owners to gain mentorship and insight, according to Ung.

“Young people in Hong Kong can sometimes be afraid to put themselves out there,” she said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

“They are afraid to be different.”

“But through the ‘meeting of the minds’ in Oxons Café, we hope to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset in HKCT students,” added Ung, who gained an executive MBA at Oxford.

HKCT president Dr. Chan Cheuk-hay said tthe cafe will concentrate on students’ holistic development as they will have opportunities to land internships with companies that partner with it.

Students who attend cafe activities may also be offered global internship placements at companies such as Singapore-based bakery chain BreadTalk or Indonesia’s IndoCafe Group, the school said.

Local internships will be offered at Hong Kong-based apparel company Bauhaus International and Chinese herbal drinks company Hung Fook Tong.

Currently, the café is run by four full-time employees, who were hand-picked by Ung for their innovation and self-starting spirit.

Subsequent part-time employee positions will be offered to HKCT students who are keen to gain experience in the food and beverage industry.

Employees have full autonomy over the food items that are offered at the café, said Ung.

“At Oxons Café, we can decide how we want to run the business, and these are very good experiences for us,” said 22 year-old Mavis Lai.

The café had a soft opening last week but expects to be officially up and running in the middle of next month. It is currently only open to HKCT students. Ung said she hopes to open a second café next year.