10 June 2008

CUHK Students Create Social Ventures for the Community with Business Value



Social enterprises strive to maximize social good at the same time as being viable businesses. Especially during the last two years, with the promotion of the government, social enterprises have increasingly intrigued NGOs, government officials and business persons. Yet social enterprises in Hong Kong are still at the experimental stage. In order to encourage the younger generation to apply their creativity and energy to solving global and local problems by setting up social enterprises, the Centre for Entrepreneurship at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Booz and Company ran their fifth annual Social Venture Challenge earlier. The purpose is to instill in the students the spirit of social responsibility as well as the capacity for entrepreneurial action.

The competition, named “The Booz and Company Social Venture Challenge”, is open to all undergraduates and postgraduate students of CUHK. This year, 28 students in eight teams from five different faculties and 13 different programs including electronic engineering, computer science and engineering, full and part time MBA, bachelors in accountancy, hotel and tourism management, global business studies, Chinese Medicine, social work, sociology, economics and journalism and communications submitted plans for their ventures. Six teams entered the final round and presented their creative business ideas to generate social capital for society.

The winning team, “Golden Rice Mountain”, which was awarded HK$8,000, comprised four MBA students Sue Fan, Vivien Wang, William Wang and Milo Zhou. They propose to test the feasibility of large-scale, soil-less cultivation of rice. The plan detailed field testing using rice plants supported in cut, PVC piping, laid along the gentle contours of mountain slopes. The Judges were much impressed by the project’s scale and potential and suggested that the team may concentrate on higher value-added products in addition to rice. The winning team will also represent CUHK at the China Challenge Cup to be held in November this year.

“Lots of Love”earned both the first runner-up award and the best written plan award with its plan to become an event manager for wedding anniversaries. Targeting Catholic couples who wish, after many years, to renew their nuptial vows before priests in formal church ceremonies, the start-up would integrate marriage counseling to increase caring, cherishing and communication with celebration through banquets and photo-taking. Their social objective is to increase commitment and happiness of marriages. The creative idea is generated by a team of members from a well-mixed background, which included part-time MBA student Jason Sin, professional accountancy student Ricky Choi, quantitative finance student Angela Fung, hotel and tourism management student Amy Leung and Aimy Tang, master student in social work. They were awarded HK$3,000.

The second runner-up went to “Hearty Soup”, a plan presented by a team of undergraduate students from global business studies. The idea of their plan is to facilitate mainland immigrant housewives to design, prepare and deliver healthy soups from a kitchen / storefront facility in Sham Shui Po to white collar workers in the Yau Tsim Mong area. The team was awarded HK$1,000.

Another creative idea suggested by the team called“One”, has won the best presentation award. Non-government organizations (NGOs) often suffer from opacity and poor governance. By providing a website to systematically disclose, categorize, analyze and rank NGO characteristics, “One” plans to improve the transparency and efficiency of NGOs and, in so doing, increase the willingness of donors to give. Judges were impressed by the potential of the proposed website to become an industry standard of NGO certification.

The panel of judges was formed by representatives from the government, industry and finance sectors, includingMr. K.O. Chia, President, Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association; Mr. Jeffrey MacCorkle, Vice President, Booz & Company; Ms. Grace Ng, Project Management Officer, Community Investment & Inclusion Fund Secretariat of the Labour and Welfare Bureau and Dato S.J. Wong, Chairman, SBI E2-Capital Asia Securities Pte. Ltd.

The Booz and Company Social Venture Challenge provides an unique opportunity for students to learn about how to integrate profit-making business with social objectives in one single plan. Professor Hugh Thomas, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at CUHK, said “You cannot teach about social enterprise just in the classroom, especially when the concept is relatively new to Hong Kong. Students have to engage with the community in order to know its needs and problems. By writing a business plan that aims to provide a solution for a social need, the students can experience the practical challenge of how to get a good balance between business and social objectives. With the backing of Booz and Company’s sponsorship in its fifth year now, the Booz and Company Social Venture Challenge is fulfilling its mission to develop socially responsible graduates for Hong Kong and China. This is only possible through partnering between business organizations and the community. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Edward Tse, Managing Director of Booz & Company, Greater China, for his tremendous support to this competition.”

Booz and Companywww.booz.com/
Booz and Company has been at the forefront of strategic consulting for businesses and governments since its founding by Edwin Booz in 1918. Today, Booz is one of the world’s largest consulting firms serving clients on six continents. Its areas of expertise include strategy, organizational change and leadership, operations, information technology and technology management. Booz is strongly committed to its role as a corporate citizen through corporate philanthropy and community service. It supports a diverse group of charitable and nonprofit organizations in their offices around the work and through the activities of its employees who volunteer in the community. An example of its corporate citizenship, Booz has been providing extensive pro bono and in-kind management and technology consulting services to help nonprofits operate efficiently.

CUHK Center for Entrepreneurshipwww.cuhk.edu.hk/centre/entrepreneurship/
The CUHK’s Center for Entrepreneurship’s mission is to inspire a passion for, and an understanding of, entrepreneurship among the staff and students of the CUHK and the wider community. The Center is a multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship through:

Research- The Center seeks to understand this force through scholarly and applied research. Since 2002, the Center has been a member of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). It works with business and research organizations in Hong Kong and Greater China to identify and investigate the issues affecting entrepreneurship.

Education- The Center’s education programme enhances and expands the University’s current offering of courses in entrepreneurship. The activities include seminars, workshops, and visits to entrepreneurial ventures.

Practice- The Center helps students plan new companies that create value by satisfying market needs. Its business plan competitions enable students to develop blueprints for starting new ventures.

The winning team, “Golden Rice Mountain”, comprised four CUHK MBA students Wang Huiming William (1st from right), Wang Xingnan Vivien (2nd from left), Zhou Minglong Milo (1st from left) and Sue Fan. They propose to test the feasibility of large-scale, soil-less cultivation of rice. They will represent CUHK at the China Challenge Cup to be held in November this year. Dr. Edward Tse, Managing Director of Booz & Company, Greater China (2nd from right) presented the prize to the team
The winning team, “Golden Rice Mountain”, comprised four CUHK MBA students Wang Huiming William (1st from right), Wang Xingnan Vivien (2nd from left), Zhou Minglong Milo (1st from left) and Sue Fan. They propose to test the feasibility of large-scale, soil-less cultivation of rice. They will represent CUHK at the China Challenge Cup to be held in November this year. Dr. Edward Tse, Managing Director of Booz & Company, Greater China (2nd from right) presented the prize to the team

“Lots of Love” earned both the first runner-up award and the best written plan award with its plan to become an event manager for wedding anniversaries for Catholic couples. Their social objective is to increase commitment and happiness of marriages. The creative idea is generated by a team of members from a well-mixed background from CUHK, which included part-time MBA student Sin Yuen Kai Jason (2nd from right), Tang Quan Hong Aimy, master student in social work (middle); professional accountancy student Choi Wai Kit Ricky (3rd from left), quantitative finance student Fung Shuk Chong Angela (2nd from left) and hotel and tourism management student Leung Wai Ting Amy (1st from left)
“Lots of Love” earned both the first runner-up award and the best written plan award with its plan to become an event manager for wedding anniversaries for Catholic couples. Their social objective is to increase commitment and happiness of marriages. The creative idea is generated by a team of members from a well-mixed background from CUHK, which included part-time MBA student Sin Yuen Kai Jason (2nd from right), Tang Quan Hong Aimy, master student in social work (middle); professional accountancy student Choi Wai Kit Ricky (3rd from left), quantitative finance student Fung Shuk Chong Angela (2nd from left) and hotel and tourism management student Leung Wai Ting Amy (1st from left)

The second runner-up went to “Hearty Soup”, a plan presented by a team of CUHK undergraduate students from global business studies, including Lam Wing Ting Candy (second from left) and Hui Lai Ling Lily (second from right). The idea of their plan is to facilitate mainland immigrant housewives to design, prepare and deliver healthy soups from a kitchen / storefront facility in Sham Shui Po to white collar workers in the Yau Tsim Mong area
The second runner-up went to “Hearty Soup”, a plan presented by a team of CUHK undergraduate students from global business studies, including Lam Wing Ting Candy (second from left) and Hui Lai Ling Lily (second from right). The idea of their plan is to facilitate mainland immigrant housewives to design, prepare and deliver healthy soups from a kitchen / storefront facility in Sham Shui Po to white collar workers in the Yau Tsim Mong area