Applications for the third Jumpstarter contest opened Thursday. Winners will compete for US$5 million in investment and $100,000 in cash for the top five start-ups, as well as access to the Alibaba ecosystem for insights, experience and resources to expand their businesses.
The Fund has planned pitch events, between August and November, in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, San Francisco and Toronto. The goal is to connect global entrepreneurial talent with Hong Kong to bolster its reputation as a start-up hub and encourage founders to establish operations in the city.
“By substantially expanding the scale of the competition with start-up pitching events across the Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe and the U.S., we are truly putting Jumpstarter on the global stage, welcoming incredible young entrepreneurs from around the world and connecting them with amazing opportunities,” said Cindy Chow, the Fund’s executive director.
Last year’s Jumpstarter drew 600 business proposals, not least because the competition for the first time welcomed entries from entrepreneurs outside of Hong Kong. But this is the first year that the Fund is bringing Jumpstarter to participants overseas. The Fund said it expects to see 100 start-ups participate in the pitch events, with 40 finalists earning invitations to the grand finale.
Jumpstarter is held in partnership with InvestHK, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd., Cyberport and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. The competition focuses on companies from the retail, fintech, smart-city and advanced-technology sectors, all of which are seen as important for Hong Kong’s long-term economic development. Fintech companies get extra attention from the contest, as all fintech companies that apply get automatic entry into the Fintech Global Competition in November. The Fintech Global Competition is organized by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.
The nonprofit Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund was launched in 2015 to support Hong Kong-based start-ups with investment capital and expertise that will help them expand their operations both in the city and other markets. The Fund has also established the HKAI Lab to bring together academics, scientists, and entrepreneurs in artificial intelligence to further than research and help commercialize AI inventions and technologies.