EYE Program Research: Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of Hong Kong (Interim Report)

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 09:45

Booming Startup Ecosystem Signals Bright Future for Hong Kong Entrepreneurs
EYE Program study reveals strong startup ecosystem growth of almost 300% since 2009, yet startup rates remain low as aspiring entrepreneurs face many challenges

HONG KONG, September 2, 2014 – According to findings revealed today from Google and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Center for Entrepreneurship’s new study, Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem has grown by almost 300% since 2009, with significant growth in physical hubs, startup accelerators and incubators, funding providers, and university support. However, in contrast with the city’s business-friendly policies and growing startup ecosystem, Hong Kong’s overall entrepreneurial spirit remains low as local entrepreneurs face pressure from societal values and experience challenges in securing seed capital from local financial resources.
Years of economic prosperity has resulted in a high risk-averse society, leading to younger generations opting for safer career options encouraged by parents. Social antipathy in Hong Kong to embark on an atypical career path is also strongly perpetuated by friends in addition to family. The study noted that pressure from family and friends of entrepreneurs who decided to delay their plans increased 39% and 436% respectively after entrepreneurs enrolled in startup-related programs.

In tandem with the social pressure aspiring entrepreneurs face from family and friends, they also have few options for early investment - 88% of entrepreneurs stated their major source of seed capital as self-funding. Despite an abundance of financial resources given Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub, professional investors are not contributing to local startups because of various reasons, such as Hong Kong’s small market size, a lack of strong business ideas and legal issues that prevent investment opportunities. In consequence, 64% of experts stated the most important limitation for Hong Kong entrepreneurs is inadequate accessibility to financial resources.
Nevertheless, experts note that the future is bright for reviving the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, as major institutional players continue to accelerate investment and involvement in the city’s startup environment. In addition, knowledge providers from the private sector and universities are becoming more involved in offering programs and trainings tailored to meet the needs of entrepreneurs.

Dominic Allon, Managing Director of Google Hong Kong, said, “There is still much to be done to build a better ecosystem for local youngsters and entrepreneurs. Through the EYE Program, we want to address the challenges entrepreneurs face by inspiring them with a positive mindset, empowering them with multidisciplinary skills, and providing valuable networking opportunities. We are delighted to see how the EYE Program has taken off thus far, and hope our commitment will push forward the ecosystem and industry partners to turn Hong Kong into a digital hub for entrepreneurs.”

Professor Kevin Au, Director of CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship, explains, “If we were to describe Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with startup theory, we would conclude that it has performed a mostly successful commercialization and is now in its growth stage. Hong Kong is waking up, as one of our experts said, and it is doing it with its well-known dynamism and drive. What’s the next step? Initiatives like the EYE Program are making a sizeable contribution to advancing Hong Kong’s overall startup community, and we encourage more participation from the broader society to make an even bigger impact.” 
Professor Kevin Au, Director of CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship
The final report, available in November, will include a detailed analysis of trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as recommendations for Hong Kong becoming the hub for entrepreneurs.

A snapshot of key findings from the EYE Program Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of Hong Kong Interim Report includes:
A typical Hong Kong entrepreneur

  • Based on responses from the 612 surveyed entrepreneurs, a typical Hong Kong entrepreneur is male (72%), most likely between 21 to 25 years old (38%), holds a B.A. (58%) from a local university (83%).
  • Most entrepreneurs cite their major strengths as creative thinking, business management and presentation skills, while the least strong were fundraising, coding and most have them had no experience in entrepreneurship.
  • The key factors that Hong Kong’s young entrepreneurs consider before deciding to launch a startup are availability of business opportunities and knowledge, supply and use of technology and creative ideas, and availability of funding sources for entrepreneurs.
  • People who postponed their decision to pursue entrepreneurship think that regulation and policies in Hong Kong are not tailored enough for the needs of entrepreneurs (most important institutional factor), and that there is not enough funding availability (second most important factor).
  • Societal factors are preventing entrepreneurs from making the leap
  • The lack of economic necessity and financial security is amplifying high-levels of risk aversion, in addition to pressure from older generations to enter less risky careers.
  • Entrepreneurs face increasing pressure from friends and family after enrollment in entrepreneurship programs. Entrepreneurs who postponed their startups faced on average 39% and 436% increase in pressure from family and friends respectively.

Challenges in obtaining early-stage investment and seed capital

  • Most entrepreneurs surveyed stated self-funding (88%) as the major source of seed capital. Meanwhile, banks are the least represented as a funding source of early stage capital (6%), followed by venture capitalists (8%).
  • According to experts, financial accessibility ranks as the biggest weakness (64%) in Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The experts interviewed emphasized the contrast between the availability (abundant) and accessibility (very low) of financial resources from these formal channels.
  • Hong Kong has a high abundance of financial resources, with 260 established Hong Kong-based venture capital firms in 2013 investing in startups and 25% of startup support ecosystem being populated by funding providers in 2014. However, there is limited domestic investment from these groups: only an estimated 1.8% of total local venture capital investment and 21% of Hong Kong angel investor funding went to local startups from 2009 to 2013.

The future is bright

  • The number of coworking spaces has grown from 1 in 2009 to 22 in 2014, startup accelerators and incubators have more than tripled from 6 to 16, knowledge providers have more than doubled from 14 to 37, and funding providers (including associations HKBAN and HKVCA as single entities) have almost tripled from 16 to 42.
  • Direct funding from businesses to local universities has grown by 35% and government-matching collaboration programs have tripled since 2009, indicating private and public sector recognition of the importance of entrepreneurial studies and knowledge exchange.
  • Youngsters are positive in taking on the entrepreneurial journey, as the network of coworking spaces, funding and knowledge providers, and government programs continues to grow and better connect to the ecosystem.
  • Experts are positive about the future of Hong Kong’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, with its growing momentum.
  • The EYE Program Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of Hong Kong Interim Report is a comprehensive study from over 400 sources, including survey responses from 612 young entrepreneurs, interviews from a panel of 12 local experts, analysis from international databases and reports, and social networks assessing the viability of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. The goal is to identify the growth and challenges in Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem, and to generate enthusiasm and support for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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「EYE年輕創業家計劃」研究指出本地創業者迎難而上 創業生態系統自2009年錄得近300%增長

2014年9月2日,香港 ─ Google與香港中文大學(中大)創業研究中心今天發表的一份最新研究報告指出,本港的創業基地、創業加速器及孵化器、資金提供者和大學支援持續增加,創業生態系統自2009年起錄得近300%的增長。本地的創業者雖然面對來自社會和文化規範的壓力,也面對缺乏種子基金或本地資金的挑戰,但香港有利營商的政策和成長中的創業生態系統令本地創業氣氛漸趨明朗。



Google 香港總經理 Dominic Allon 表示:「我們期望透過『EYE年輕創業家計劃』,為有志創業的年輕人提供寶貴的交流機會,並協助他們建立多元創業技巧和思維,鼓勵他們以積極和正面的心態面對各種挑戰。我們很高興看到『EYE年輕創業家計劃』推出至今取得的成果,並致力推動創業生態系統內的創業社群以及業界共同合作,提升創業風氣,加強香港作為數碼樞紐的領導地位。」


  • 調查訪問了612位本地創業家,發現大都是男性(72%)、年齡介乎21至25歲(38%)和擁有本地大學(83%)的學士學位(58%)。
  • 大部分受訪的本港創業家認為創業思維、企業管理能力及演說技巧是他們的優勝地方,而有待加強的包括籌集資金能力、程式設計知識和累積創業經驗。
  • 他們在實現創業計劃時,主要的影響因素包括商業機會與知識、籌集資金能力以及科技的提供與應用和創意想法。
  • 創業家延遲創業的主因是由於香港的制度與政策未能完全配合初創企業的發展,其次是他們認為缺乏創業資金。


  • 缺乏經濟基礎及財政保障使創業變成高風險的行業,再加上長輩不希望年輕人經歷創業的艱辛,傾向選擇較低風險的職業或主流行業。
  • 決定延遲創業計劃的有志創業者表示,參加創業計劃後,來自家人(39%)和朋友(436%)的壓力飈升。


  • 大部分受訪的創業家都是利用自己的積儲作為種子資金來創業(88%)。僅6%的創業資金來自銀行,其次是風險投資者(8%)。
  • 專家指出,財政支援屬香港創業生態系統最弱的一環。受訪的專家強調,香港有充裕的資金但很難接觸到,資金的供應和可供取用形成了強烈的對比。
  • 香港擁有充裕的資金供應,在2013年,有多達260家以香港為基地的風險投資公司投資創業公司;在2014年,資金提供者佔香港創業生態系統的25%。可是,他們投資在本地的新創企業卻很少,在2009至2013年期間,估計只有1.8%本地的風險投資和21%香港天使投資者選擇投資本地新創企業。


  • 共同使用工作空間的數目由2009 年的1個颷升至2014年的22個;創業加速器及孵化器(startup accelerators and incubators)由6個增加至16個,增長有兩倍之多;知識提供者及資金提供者的數目分別有多於兩倍(由14增加至37)和接近三倍(由16增加至42)的升幅。
  • 自2009年起,業界對本地大學的直接資助增加了35%,受惠於政府等額資金資助計劃的項目亦有三倍升幅,顯示公營與私人機構對於創業研究與知識交流的重視。
  • 一系列的創業支援包括共同工作空間、資金和知識提供者及政府創業計劃等不斷增加,整個創業的生態系統日漸成形,年輕人因此對創業的前境更為樂觀。
  • 受訪專家對香港創業的未來發展以及愈來愈熾熱的創業風氣也表示樂觀。


Google以創新的搜尋技術每日協助全球數以百萬計的使用者尋找所需的資料。Google於1998年由史丹福大學博士生Larry Page和Sergey Brin創立,如今已成為全球各大主要市場中的重要網站。Google之針對性廣告宣傳計劃為各大小企業提供可量度之行銷效果,並且全面強化用戶使用萬維網的體驗。Google的公司總部設於美國矽谷,其辦事處遍佈美洲、歐洲和亞洲等地。有關Google的更多資料,請瀏覽: http://www.google.com

Links for download:
Press Release Booming Startup Ecosystem Signals Bright Future for Hong Kong Entrepreneurs
EYE Program Infographics

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