13 CUHK start-up teams enter the mainland market with the support of We Venture overcoming business challenges brought by the pandemic
The Youth Entrepreneurship Assistant Scheme (WeVenture – “MAKE a DASH” in CUHK) organised by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), financially supported by “Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” (the Scheme), has recently nurtured 13 start-up teams and assisted these young CUHK entrepreneurs in establishing a presence in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and developing their businesses in mainland cities. MAKE a DASH has yielded encouraging results, with five of the start-ups obtaining business licences in mainland GBA cities.
The closing ceremony of MAKE a DASH was held at CUHK InnoPort today (13 May). In a speech, Professor Benny Zee, Director of CUHK’s Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services, said, “CUHK has been working diligently to promote the development of innovation and technology. We encourage teachers and students to combine research, innovation and enterprise, turning fundamental knowledge into innovative ideas, and creating the greatest impact. With the support of the government, MAKE a DASH has been able to nurture young entrepreneurs who not only dare to start their businesses, but also to make a move into the rest of the GBA, which is full of opportunities, creating a win-win result.”
Professor Kevin Au, CUHK’s Director of Centre for Entrepreneurship, commented, “We have made an effort to build and maintain a start-up ecosystem based on sharing and mutual benefit. Thank you, mentors, for grooming young alumni. Start-ups have been led to a new phase under MAKE a DASH. Even after the conclusion of the Scheme, the start-ups will be continuously supported by various CUHK entrepreneurship initiatives; for instance, introducing them to ‘He Innovation Space’ in Shunde District, Foshan, with which CUHK has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, to facilitate their entrepreneurial development in the GBA.”
Mentors expedite start-up business development in one-year incubation programme
CUHK is the first to complete the Scheme among the 16 funded organisations. With the support of MAKE a DASH, the 13 start-ups founded by CUHK students and alumni obtained a maximum of HK$600,000 funding under the Scheme and the CUHK Matching Fund over the past year, and received entrepreneurial support and incubation services offered by CUHK’s Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services and the Centre for Entrepreneurship to start and grow their businesses.
MAKE a DASH offered one-to-one mentor matching to every start-up, helping them turn innovative ideas into sustainable social or business opportunities, and seek investment and business collaboration with industry partners. Mentors also helped start-up teams set targets for different stages and take them forward in steps, which has accelerated their business development.
Despite being affected by the pandemic and the challenges of travelling between Hong Kong and the mainland, most start-up teams still successfully launched their businesses at entrepreneurship bases in the GBA, including the InnoHub at CUHK Shenzhen Research Institute and the GungHo Space. Their businesses cover a wide range of areas, including artificial intelligence, education technology, biotechnology and social innovation, showing the multidimensional nature and viability of local innovation and entrepreneurship. Five teams have received the Outstanding Performance Award (please refer to the appendix for details).
To learn more, please visit the MAKE a DASH Website：