The Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund Thursday kicked off a $3 million startup competition to help young companies build up their businesses and promote Hong Kong as a center for innovation and entrepreneurialism.
In conjunction with Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co. Ltd. and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp., JUMPSTARTER 2017 will identify promising entrepreneurs through a series of pitching events that start in May. Teams reaching the semifinals can participate in workshops where they can get feedback and seek advice from subject-matter experts.
They’ll be winnowed down to 24 finalists who will compete for top spots later this year.
Judges will crown three winners in November, with each receiving up to $1 million of investment from the fund. The champs will also be able to consult with industry specialists and have the chance to accelerate their expansion by leveraging business resources from the Alibaba Group, Cyberport and Science Park.
“I totally understand the difficulties of Hong Kong’s young entrepreneurs, as I participated in starting up Alibaba 18 years ago,” said Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group. “The establishment of the Fund, and this collaboration with Cyperport and Science Park, should enhance support for the local startup community, while at the same time, encouraging entrepreneurs and shaping Hong Kong into a top destination for innovation and startups.”
Competition is open to startups in 10 different categories: Fintech; wearables, Internet of Things and EdTech; e-commerce; big data and artificial intelligence; robotics; healthy aging; sensors and advanced materials; and “Smart City.”
The program is now accepting applications. Those seeking to apply or more information about JUMPSTARTER 2017 can visit www.jumpstarter.hk or send and e-mail to email@example.com.
The Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund was founded in November 2015 as a not-for-profit initiative. Its mission is “to help Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs and young people realize their dreams and visions for their businesses and communities.”
It runs two programs to fulfill the mission: The Investment Program offers Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs investment capital and strategic guidance. Its Internship Program offers Hong Kong graduates and students from universities an internship at Alibaba Group or one of its affiliates.
In May 2016, the fund made its first investments, picking three local companies from among 200 applicants.
Cyberport is a a 900-strong community of digital entities in Hong Kong. The management company is wholly owned by the Hong Kong government. The mission is to develop the digital technology sector into a key economic driver for Hong Kong.
Science Park was established as a statutory body in 2001, aiming to develop Hong Kong into a regional hub for innovation and growth in electronics, information and communications technology, green technology, biomedical technology and materials and precision engineering. It offers affordable space, specialized services and infrastructure for applied research and product development.