Monday, February 24, 2020

Beyond the Pitch at Paperclip

Beyond The PitchBeyond the Pitch at Paperclip: “It’s about the business model. The money will come later”
October 20th, 5 Hong Kong based start-ups with less than 2 years of operations pitched their business models in front of a captive audience of entrepreneurs and investors. In the past few weeks, SOW Asia mentored founders via its accelerator program i2i to refine their social enterprise’s business models and bring them to the next level. Papaya Paths, Knots & Strokes, Emi & Eve, Appedu and the Fair Employment Agency solicited financial and/or non-financial support from mentors and investors.

Here is a brief summary of this interactive pitch night:

Papaya Paths

Insight: With extensive industry connections, this enterprise has established a first of its kind online platform connecting hotels with best-in-class green service vendors

Market observation: there is a lack of green expertise in Asia

Project Strength(s): staff engagement and training could power the brand and leverage the brand equity; opportunity to enhance the customer experience

Business model: Contract (80%) and membership (20%)

Next development phase: pilot project in Hong Kong and Singapore

Seed Funding: HK$380,000

Advice from the experts: Emphasize on the solution – the “Green Deal Program”

Knots & Strokes

Insight: A social enterprise that leverages a strong global network of artisans to offer luxury, eco-friendly accessories and high quality artwork

Market observation: there are high quality and unique items produced by very talented women across the globe. These products should be accessible to international markets

Project Strength(s): Community building and job creation

Business model: Online sales, travel programs and networking/direct to consumer

Next development phase: recruit more women within the cooperative and increase production

Angel investor: HK$1,000,000

Advice from the experts: As demand increases, quality control needs to be monitored beyond trust

Emi & Eve

Insight: Utilizing recycled exploded remnants of war as mediums, this design company creates and markets unique and luxury jewelry and accessories

Market observation: Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined country in the world and it will take at least 15 years to eradicate landmines

Project Strength(s): the product speaks by itself. The product behind the scene: check this video

Business model: Retail + Foundation (day care centre) / Art galleries

Next development phase: Improve the distribution network

Funding: not disclosed

Advice from the experts: Rethink your brand name and capitalise on the tagline “Bullets to Beauty”.


Insight: This innovative company provides a comprehensive and cost-efficient e-learning platform to facilitate teaching and learning between teachers and students

Market observation: the local market doesn’t offer a cost-effective solution with high quality content and personnalised support for high school students

Project Strength(s): Acquisition of 5,000 users since June 2014; crowd tutoring

Business model: Monthly Subscription

Next development phase: Convert beta testers into users and establish more partnership with schools

Angel investor: HK$2,500,000

Advice from the experts: Build a strong community and localize your offering

Fair Employment Agency

Insight: A social enterprise seeking to revolutionize the foreign domestic worker-employer relationship by facilitating placements at no cost to the worker

Market observation: Agency fees are questionable and do not serve the employer nor the employee

Project Strength(s): strong strategic alliance to become the new market standards

Business model: NGO / WOM

Next development phase: Use metrics and implement a recruitment software to better match employers and employees

Seed Funding: HK$400,000

Advice from the experts: Foresee more strategic alliances

About i2i program

The i2i program is Hong Kong’s first social accelerator program that focuses on social businesses that are seeking to scale and attract investment capital. We provide capacity building support for socially innovative businesses that includes a venue, entrepreneurial mentor network, private-sector business advisors and workshops, pitch nights, investor introductions, and impact measurement metrics. We strive to catalyze Hong Kong’s existing resources to create global-standard entrepreneurial and startup standards, and to attract international talent to Hong Kong for social innovation. Our program provides open sourced program data and produces relevant accelerator best practices in the East Asian region.

About SOW Asia Foundation

SOW Asia is a donor-supported charitable organization under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance, Hong Kong SAR. The Foundation has for mission to foster social impact, innovation and sustainability

By Audrey Reisdorffer

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