Research: Ecosystem of Hong Kong | Center for Entrepreneurship

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Research: Ecosystem of Hong Kong

Ecosystem of Hong Kong Interim Report (download the report)

by Marta Dowejko, Kevin Au and Nell Shen
Sep 2, 2014

The preparation of this report was supported by funding from Google (HK) as an integral part of Empowering Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) Program, organized by Google (HK) and Center for Entrepreneurship, CUHK.

    In worldwide rankings, Hong Kong has been listed in the top 10 innovation-driven and business-minded economies for many years. Its internationally competitive economy, solid information technology and communication policies, transparency and rule of law, coupled with the ease of doing business there, led us to believe support for local startups had gained momentum a long time ago. 

    In reality, the entrepreneurship support ecosystem of Hong Kong entered its growth stage only in 2009. Multiple institutions, incubators, co-working spaces, and other support organizations flourished after the worldwide financial crisis. According to our estimations, the number of local actors supporting entrepreneurs has at least tripled in the past 5 years. Have they begun to work together closely? Not yet.

    This interim report draws a picture of the entrepreneurial ecosystem’s growth and challenges. We explore the roles different actors play in the ecosystem and their contribution towards developing the local startup community. We investigate reasons why players in the ecosystem have not fully integrated with the other players in the community yet, and we lay down some implications for local entrepreneurship. 

    For the purpose of this report, we have identified 7 principal groups of actors. These are the entrepreneurial community itself, physical hubs, knowledge providers, government bodies, funding providers, public exposure enablers, and well-established industry members. While we discuss the first 5 groups in greater detail, the public exposure enablers, or media and startup contests and well-established industry members are only briefly mentioned in relationship to the other five.

    We then complete the picture with a brief analysis of the state of entrepreneurial spirit in Hong Kong and demonstrate how innovative, high-intensity entrepreneurship programs, such as Empowering Young Entrepreneurs Program, fit into the landscape by enhancing the support ecosystem and by motivating entrepreneurs to act.