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Published: 23:38, July 27, 2021 | Updated: 23:47, July 27, 2021
HK youth entrepreneurs offered subsidies up to HK$1m
By Zeng Xinlan
Published:23:38, July 27, 2021 Updated:23:47, July 27, 2021 By Zeng Xinlan

A two-year entrepreneurship competition that aims to help Hong Kong youth start businesses in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is providing winning teams with a capital subsidy that could go up to HK$1 million (US$128,500).

The Innovative Elite @ Qianhai competition, which opened for registration in June, is being organized by the Y.Elites Association and funded by We Venture, a program which supports youth entrepreneurship in the Greater Bay Area under the Youth Development Commission.

Co-organizing the event is the Hong Kong, Shenzhen Qianhai Authority of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone (Qianhai Authority).

The Innovative Elite @ Qianhai competition will select 12 winning teams, including nine from the registered business group and three from the startup category

“The association will encourage more Hong Kong youngsters to study in and exchange with the Chinese mainland, support the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), and breed more technological and innovative talents,” Y.Elites Chairman Clarence Ling Chun-kit said.

“The joining of forces of the Hong Kong, Qianhai Authority and the Y.Elites Association could bring the competition to a new level,” said Witman Hung Wai-man, principal liaison officer of the Hong Kong, Shenzhen Qianhai Authority. He suggested the participants research the rules and the grading plan of the competition, as well as the projects’ innovations, business patterns, and independent development.

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Aiming to provide young entrepreneurs in the Greater Bay Area with funds, incubation services and mentorship, Innovative Elite @ Qianhai has two categories — registered but unlisted businesses that had an annual revenue of less than 50 million yuan (US$7.7 million) last year; and startups that are planning to register in the Qianhai Shekou Free Trade Zone.

The competition will select 12 winning teams, including nine from the registered business group and three from the startup category. Each winning team will receive a subsidy of up to HK$600,000.

That amount could increase to HK$1 million since participants will also be automatically included in the 2021 Qianhai Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, which can provide up to 450,000 yuan.

This project is organized by the Qianhai Authority, the Shenzhen municipal government, and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The competition is open to Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card-holders 18 to 40 years old with less than three years of startup experience. The application started in June and closes on Aug 16.

ALSO READ: Qianhai flourishes amid HK-Shenzhen collaboration

Founded in 2007, the Y.Elites Association aims “to gather young elites; promote national condition studies; to stay focused on social concerns, and become the think tank for contemporary social affairs”. It includes 14 research groups focusing on industry and commerce, and has over 1,100 members, including young entrepreneurs, industrial professionals, and leaders from various organizations.

The Authority of Qianhai was established in 2010 by the Shenzhen Municipal Government to manage and promote the development of the Qianhai Free Trade Zone, which was launched in the same year.

By 2019, Qianhai was ranked No 1 in the country in terms of GDP per square kilometer, at 15.26 billion yuan, according to the Shenzhen Municipal Government. It has blossomed into a potential prototype for cooperation between Hong Kong and the other cities in the Greater Bay Area.


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