Program details were announced today for the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund/HSBC Jumpstarter 2020 competition grand finale, taking place Feb. 11-12 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The non-profit initiative was launched in 2017 to invigorate the Hong Kong startup ecosystem but has since evolved into a platform that celebrates and supports young entrepreneurs from all across the globe. In the lead-up to the event, here are some highlights to keep an eye out for:
A Bigger and More Diverse Talent Pool
This year’s applicant pool was more than triple the size of last year’s, attracting more than 2,000 startups from 65 countries and regions. For the first time in its three-edition run, Jumpstarter also held pitch events in eight cities, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, San Francisco and Toronto. Forty finalists – representing the retail, fintech, smart city and deep technology sector – were selected from these events and will present their business ideas at the grand finale in Hong Kong.
The two-day event will feature keynote speeches from leaders, influencers and experts from businesses and organizations such as HSBC, InvestHK and Social Ventures Hong Kong. On the agenda, too, are masterclasses, sharing sessions and panel discussions, including one on the transformative powers of social entrepreneurship, led by winners of Jack Ma Foundation’s 2019 Africa Netpreneur Prize. Daniel Zhang, chairman and chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, is also set to speak at Jumpstarter this year for the first time and will be joined by group Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai.
Demos and Presos
Expect to see robots mingling with crowds this year as drone maker DJI sets up the exhibition zone with its interactive cyborgs. Attendees will also have a chance to hear from former Jumpstarter winners as well as representatives from AEF investees, such as delivery service Pickupp, fintech startup Qupital and online learning academy Polygence.
Growth Opportunities for Startups
The top five startups from this year’s competition will win up to $5 million in an investment commitment from the AEF as well as up to $100,000 in cash prizes. According to Cindy Chow, executive director of the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, Alibaba is committed to supporting innovation and turning game-changing business ideas into reality through Jumpstarter.
“Jumpstarter continues to unite startups across the world in an imaginative and vibrant forum, connecting them with more enterprises, investors and the public,” Chow said. “To support global entrepreneurs and young people to pursue their dreams, the event is committed to encouraging them to leverage Hong Kong’s advantages as Asia’s hub of new opportunities to fulfill their dream of starting their own businesses.”