Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) announced the winners of this year’s Jumpstarter entrepreneurship competition following a final round of judging last week.
Hong Kong-based start-up Allegrow Biotech took first place for its hydrogel microparticles and biomimetic coatings, while six other start-ups were also recognized for their achievements ranging from environmental impact to innovation.
“We believe that a large-scale event like Jumpstarter, which connects start-ups with investors, mentors, and also corporate representatives, will help entrepreneurs to seek investment, capital advice and business opportunities,” Cindy Chow, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of AEF, told an audience gathered by the Hong Kong waterfront on Friday.
The path to the competition’s final stage is a challenging one, including 15 rounds of pitching sessions to winnow down over 1,000 contestants from 85 regions to 30 finalists.
But it’s worth the effort.
Allegrow Biotech earned a HK$300,000 cash prize and a share of up to $5 million in investment money that will be shared amongst the 30 finalists. The six other top teams will receive cash prizes totaling HK$1 million ($127,000).
Ahead of the Jumpstarter Grand Finale, AEF fused tech, art and innovation during its two-week-long Tech by the Harbour event in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district.
AEF is a non-for-profit initiative launched by Alibaba Group in 2015 to spur innovation in the city and beyond.
Hong Kong is a growing hub for entrepreneurship and ranked second worldwide this year among emerging start-up ecosystems, according to research group Startup Genome.
Between Nov. 8 and 19, over 100,000 people took part in workshops, interactive displays and other activities organized by AEF.
“The inaugural Tech by the Harbour event this year has achieved unprecedented success, thanks to the participation of the government, business and various sectors of society,” Chow noted in a statement.
In a crowd-pleasing twist, not all event participants were human – some 80 robots also took to the street and stage in a series of performances across Hong Kong.