HK students gain confidence via Stanford entrepreneurship camp

December 24, 2015 16:50
Cyberport wants to provide young entrepreneurs with more overseas experience, says Herman Lam (right). Photo: Cyberport

When young entrepreneurs have their boots on the ground, they will have full confidence to present their ideas to the world.  

"We are always told by our mentors that our products should not be detached from the market's needs," said Davon Hui, whose team "Etransfer" is one of the 10 winning teams in the Demo Day of the Cyberport University Partnership Programme (CUPP) on November 17. 

"When creating new products, we should understand what the market has already had and what the users really want," he said.

Hui is among the 52 Hong Kong students in 18 teams who enjoyed the opportunity to visit the United States and participate in a one-week entrepreneurship boot camp that aims to enhance their ability in problem solving, product design and presentation in September.

Hui said he learned a lot of practical skills about doing business through the programme.

"Hong Kong is a good place for startups as it has a strong relationship with the manufacturing center in the Pearl River Delta and the financial service district in Qianhai in Shenzhen," he said.

"Bank Without Limit - Etransfer", a team from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, created an online platform that matches users for international money transfer. It simplifies international money remittance by making it more economical and efficient.

Why confidence matters

In August, Cyberport launched the CUPP, in collaboration with Stanford Graduate School of Business, with the goal of grooming young technology and entrepreneurial talents in Hong Kong.

Following the boot camp in September, the 18 teams presented their fintech ideas at Cyberport on November 17 to a panel of judges, including Andrew Hyde, Startup Week director at Techstars and founder of Startup Weekend; Edwin Lee, director of Cyberport and founder and chief executive of Bridgeway Prime Shop Fund Management Ltd.; and Stephen Wong, chief executive of Asia Miles Limited and Alfred P. Sloan Fellow at Stanford GSB.

"In pitching, the words you use only matter 7 percent while vocal skills account for 38 percent of the success. The most important thing is confidence, which represents 55 percent of the success," Edwin Lee of Cyberport said in a media briefing before the presentation.

Lee said many Hong Kong students, who initially showed lack of confidence, have shown great improvement in their confidence and presentation skills after they participated in the CUPP programme.

Herman Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong Cyberport, said Cyberport can seek to diversify to the upstream of the startup ecosystem through this programme.

"Startup ecosystem has only been established for several years in Hong Kong but decades in overseas markets," Lam said. "We want to provide young entrepreneurs with more overseas experience."

Cash prize of HK$100,000

Ten winning teams were awarded a cash prize of HK$100,000 and shortlisted to join the Cyberport Incubation Programme interview.

"Although 90 percent of startups will fail eventually, we can keep learning from the failure," said Henry Chan, team member of "", another winning team.

Chan said his ultimate goal is to create a product that can help others and make money. He said determination is a key to success.

He said he is interested in further exploring the trend of app integration as it is likely that by 2018 each mobile phone will only contain two to three fintech apps. 

"" from the City University of Hong Kong, provides a service that allows banks to reply to customer inquiries in a fast, interactive and convenient way. It has the potential to further support financial operation like payment and balance checking in a high security setting.

Other winning teams also provided a lot of innovative ideas about fintech. 

Three winning teams are from the University of Hong Kong.

“Asset Plus” created an automatic and personalized service that helps users to boost MPF return potential. “HandsonMe” made a mobile application that allows people to invest in Instagram and online shops selling handmade products.

“Credit Chest” made a platform that allows customers to purchase store credit with loose change.

“Authpaper” from the Chinese University of Hong Kong created a software solution that provides printable, cost-effective and secure anti-forgery protection for online documents by embedding a customized QR code.

“FinTune” from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University created a platform that incorporates business intelligence to help clients search for suitable financial products.

“Initial” from the City University of Hong Kong created an online system that improves ordering and financial reporting for Instagram shop owners and customers. 

“Mega Eye” from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology provides a big data service solution to extract, categorize and quantify online stock market information.

“Plain Exchange” from the same university created a platform for users to buy and sell leftover foreign currencies at market rates.

Jeff Pao is the writer of this article.

Why some university students are off to a US startup boot camp (Sept. 25, 2015)

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Ten out of 18 teams won a cash prize of HK$100,000 and were shortlisted to join the Cyberport Incubation Programme interview. Photo: Cyberport
Edwin Lee (center) says Hong Kong students have become more confident after they attended an entrepreneurship boot camp in Stanford. Photo: Cyberport

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