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EYE Program Demo Day 2015 Recap
EYE Program Demo Day cum Award Ceremony
Google and CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship help transform Hong Kong as a city of entrepreneurship and innovation
The Empowering Young Entrepreneurs Program (EYE Program), co-organized by Google and CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship, has continued in 2015 with the theme “Living in the Mobile-First World” followed by the great success in 2014, aiming to build an even more connected network for startups and entrepreneurs both locally and globally, encouraging homegrown startups to embrace mobile technology and make a difference in user lives, and matching them with passionate mentors, providing inspiring workshops, sharings and overseas roadshow.
Grand Award goes to Sam the Local
The EYE Program Demo Day on November 20, 2015 - joined by over 100 startup founders and industry guests - was the last stop for the ten finalist startups after months of mentorship and training, as well as a trip to Taiwan, celebrating the milestones startups and their mentors have achieved throughout the program. Homegrown startup Sam the Local won the EYE Program 2015 Grand Award and customized watches producer EONIQ was awarded Best Presentation Award, while all ten finalists graduated from the annual entrepreneurship program launched by Google and CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship. Sam the Local will enjoy the full benefits of Google Cloud Platform for Startups, including the US$100,000 credits using the Google Cloud Platform.
This year, the EYE Program focused on startups with great ideas and potential to ride on mobile trends and the latest technology developments. According to Consumer Barometer with Google, 79% of Hong Kong people use smartphone, which is one of the highest in Asia Pacific in terms of smartphone usage. Among more than 70 business proposals were submitted, and 10 startups were selected to receive one-on-one mentorship and eligibility to visit Taiwan, while 24 teams got access to the Expert Pool formed by over 40 professionals in various field including technology, professional services and business development.
Sam the Local, is a web-based, mobile-friendly platform for a community of individuals that connects people who want to explore the place like Hong Kong, with the people that know the city best. The Explorer is connected to a Local, who creates a customized itinerary just for them and takes them on an outing. Founders Maggie Lau and Anita Chan were inspired to create Sam the Local after realising that every trip started with the question “Who do we know there that can tell us what to see and do?” The judges of this year’s EYE Program picked Sam the Local to receive the Grand Award based on the startup’s viability, impact, progress & achievement during the EYE Program, and their pitching capacity.
Anita Chan, Co-founder of Sam the Local, said: “We’re over the moon to win the Grand Award at EYE Program. We’ve learned so much and made so many connections through the journey - this experience has allowed us to take our idea further than we ever imagined. Now we’re setting our sights on working with companies and corporate partners, and of course, taking Sam the Local to even more places around the world. Watch this space!”
Dominic Allon, Managing Director of Google Hong Kong, said: “The ideas presented by EYE Program startups reflect the unlimited creativity and innovation that Hong Kong’s home-grown startups possess. Hong Kong has comprehensive infrastructure, good internet connection, high mobile penetration, and efficiency in business operations. With new ideas brought by startups and young entrepreneurs, we will be able to transform and fully benefit from the trends driven by technology. I’d encourage more collaboration among startup community, businesses, investors, educators, and the government, to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem together in Hong Kong.”
Professor Kevin Au, CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship, said: “Earlier in April, Google and the CUHK Center for Entrepreneurship published a research report “Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons” revealed that Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is still at the embryonic stage, and may run into an innovation deadlock. By launching the EYE Program in Hong Kong, we are able to better connect with various stakeholders and startups, hence driving more collaborations and new ideas.”
This year’s program is supported by Key Partners Cyberport and KPMG; as well as Strategic Partners including Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, ASTRI, Cherrypicks, CUHK EMBA Alumni Association, and StartupsHK.
David Fong, Managing Director of Hip Shing Hong Group
Emmanuel V Pitsilis, Non-Executive Director of Dragon Law
Irene Chu, Partner of KPMG China
Jason Chiu, CEO of Cherrypicks
Leonie Valentine, Director of Customer Experience APAC of Google