Knowledge Transfer Office

Remarks at the Launch Ceremony of
CityU Innopreneurship Ecosystem

Innopreneurship is a unique phrase, because the ecosystem is unique!  Here is why -

First, this unique ecosystem has not 1 or 2 components, but 5 components!

Secondly, this unique ecosystem is strategically designed to cover the needs of innovators in all phases.

Finally, this unique ecosystem is linked with CityU’s Discovery-Enriched Curriculum to move our students from passive learning in the classroom to active exploration of new knowledge to solve problems of today and tomorrow.

We call our Innopreneurship Ecosystem “i-i-123” – that is, Innovation Commons, Incubator, and 1-2-3 stages of our funding schemes.  Below, we explain all of the 5 components one by one.

 

1) Innovation Commons: this is where you start.  You have an idea, but you don’t have a business plan or teammates, you don’t have money, you don’t have advisors.  This is where entrepreneurial resources and tools are introduced to you.  You can call it one-stop service center.  Here, you can find all resources related to innopreneurship, on campus or outside (including events, courses, seminars, community workshops, business plan competition, training programs, school and government funding sources, expert assistance in IP and VC financing - and find other teammates, find mentors, find investors)

Innovation Commons is jointly established by the Office of Education Development and Gateway Education (EDGE), the Library, School of Law, and the Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), under the financial support of the Office of Provost.

I should also mention AppsLab under Prof. Ray Cheung, where students can learn how to do mobile application development.  Innovation Commons has worked to help AppsLab teams on idea exchange, coaching and teammate search. As a result, many CityU teams went on to win business plan competitions and government-funded venture programs. 


2) Incubator: Joint Incubator by CityU and HKSTP to nurture Start-ups.  You may have heard that HKSTP has a great incubator program that offers free working space and up to $645,000 financial support.  But perhaps you thought HKSTP’s Shatin location is too far --- Now we are bringing them to CityU!

Once you are selected to be incubated under this unique program, you are treated the same as HKSTP’s other incubated companies, enjoying a list of value added services including business development and fund raising, along with the HKSTP’s financial subsidies.  We are very grateful to HKSTP’s generous support --- they are also offering space across the street at InnoCentre (furnished by mid-2016) for us to use which will double our incubation capacity!  We’d like to thank HKSTP’s Peter Mok who’s here with us today – Peter, please!  - Thank you!!  


3) Three funding programs will help CityU entrepreneurs to materialize their innovative initiatives. They are designed specifically to offer seamless funding support for all 3 stages in a start-up’s early life.  

      -        ONE.  For the super early idea stage support, we have “Student Early Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (SEEDS)” which will fund CityU students’ earliest-stage idea validation, feasibility and marketing studies, for about $100,000 each.  With this support, they can develop their initial innovative ideas into a solid business plan, ready for the next funding support.

      -        TWO. For newly born companies, we have “The Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU)”, which was newly set up by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC).  Administered by KTO, TSSSU program gives CityU students & recent alumni to receive substantial financial support, up to $1.2M per team, during the most critical stage of their company’s young life.  These two programs so far offer what we call “free money” because they do not require any return on the funding support.

      -        THREE. For more mature startups, we have “CityUE Investment Fund”, which is a Venture-Capital-style investment fund, to invest in CityU spinoff companies in exchange for stock ownership.  CityU Enterprises Limited (CityUE) is a subsidiary company of CityU to assist CityU spinoff companies and to hold CityU assets from such spinoffs.  We have designed this unique VC investment fund, which will follow leading 3rd party investors when we consider an investment in CityU related start-ups.  Such a design allows us to gain a high leverage on our investment capital, and we can grow our working relations with leading VC investors in the community, to form an even more comprehensive support network for CityU entrepreneurs. 
Now you can see why we call this unique ecosystem i-i-123, because it represents Innovation Commons, Incubator, and 1-2-3 stages of our funding schemes. 


We have tried very hard to build an ENTIRE INNOPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM for all CityU community members!  This is because we believe that every student at CityU should have the opportunity to innovate, and to take their innovative ideas to the next level, and to realize their dreams.  This world changes quickly, and people say the only constant is the change itself.  In such a world, we want our students to learn not only static knowledge in a passive way, but to acquire critical skills of finding and implementing innovative ideas to face the unknown challenges in the future.