Tell us about the Incubation Program?
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) is dedicated to advancing technological innovation and growth in Hong Kong, by providing state-of-the-art infrastructure and services. Within the vibrant ecosystem of Science Park, there is a mix of large scale MNCs, local SMEs and start-ups, all of whom can learn from each other and strike exciting partnerships to grow their business.
We offer full-service Incubation Programmes and a Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme (LEAP) to assist startups in their vulnerable inception stages.
We have groomed over 300 companies over the past few years and there are currently 150 companies on the incubation programme
Our incubation programmes include the 1.5-year Incu-App Programme (for web/ mobile application startups), 3-year Incu-Tech Programme (for general technology startups) and 4-year Incu-Bio Programme (for biotechnology startups). These programmes incorporate industry-focused support services that address the needs of new companies during key stages of development. These include marketing and promotions, training and talent development, a mentoring programme, consultancy services, investment matching events to connect angel investors and venture capitalists, subsidised R&D fitted office space and financial aid packages to facilitate research and development. More information is available at www.hkstp.org/incubation
is the follow-on programme to the Corporation’s Incubation Programmes. It targets high potential ‘incubatees’/graduates, with an aim to foster them into regional/global companies. This is achieved by providing more in-depth assistance, with specific focus on corporate structuring, business development and financing. More information is available at http://www.hkstp.org/en-US/Services-Programmes/leap
What’s the application process like?
In general, the admission process of the Incubation Programmes takes around 2 months. Companies who are interested in applying for the Incubation Programmes should fill in the application form (available for download at www.hkstp.org) and submit it with their business plan and CVs of their management teams. Standard assessment procedures include:
- Applicants to submit full application by email or post
- Applicants attend a casual interview
- Application is evaluated by technical advisors
- Applicants to present their proposals at the Admission Panel Meeting
- Applicants will be informed of their application results
What do you look for in an applicant?
- Quality and competency of the management team
- Sound business plan and depth of innovation
- R&D content
Which area receives the most applications?
IT & Telecommunications and Electronics top the rating. We are seeing more and more applications from the green technology and biotechnology sectors.
What are common mistakes people make in the application?
Application quality is usually very high. Applicants should be aware that they need to demonstrate the company’s capability in the following areas:
- Clear roadmap of their product development and commercialization
- Technical and R&D content
- Feasible and solid business plan
- Clear corporate structure with shareholder information
- Full application documentation with all required information, e.g. accurate date of company establishment, proof of full-time staff members
What are the applicants like? Can you share any demographics about those applying?
Applicants come from a variety of backgrounds, such as university graduates, professors from the academic sector and industry veterans with rich experience in the technology sector. Amongst the current 150 incubatees, about 20% of them are from overseas. This covers many countries including Israel, Austria, France, Italy…and China.
We also see some tech talents who are working in the partner companies within the Science Park and who are being to expand their horizons and start their own business. For example, Joe Wong, who worked at Sengital, wanted to test his innovation and realise his entrepreneurial dream. As a result, he went on to start Medisen, a company that focuses on developing multi-media solutions addressing the needs of elderly dementia sufferers. He received a Gold Award at this year’s Geneva Innovation Award. His boss at Sengital, Alan Lam, was so supportive of his move that he also invested in Medisen to help kick-start the business.
Once someone is accepted, what does the next 1-2 years look like for them?
Once the company is admitted to our Incubation Programmes, they will enjoy a wide range of technical and service support. First of all, a dedicated Account Manager will be assigned to each company (incubatee). The Account Manager will assist the incubatees in their development throughout the incubation period, providing all-rounded support and coaching services.
Support that the incubatees will receive includes: subsidised R&D office, various training on business planning, people management, marketing etc, and a number of networking and business matching sessions to facilitate their development.
For major product launch, they will also be able to seek the advice and support from the publicity team to help prepare press releases, pitch for media interviews and conduct press launches. The incubatees will also have access to 12 shared laboratory facilities and common meeting rooms. We will also conduct a milestone review with them every 6 months to better understand their progress of R&D and business development.
In general, the incubatees will be developing their business successfully andthey’ll enjoy plenty of support to help them overcome challenges or difficulties. Whatever the problem, our team will be there to offer them assistance. Their success is our success.
What are the ways you help support incubatees?
We support our incubatees in many ways. Some of them include: subsidised R&D-fitted office space and financial aid packages to facilitate their research and development, technical training and talent development, a mentoring programme, business plan consultancy services and investment matching events to connect them with angel investors and venture capitalists, and also marketing and promotions to help speed up commercialisation of their innovative products and services.
For example, we recently organised a business matching event for the various industries including electronics, toys, food & beverage catering etc. We will be connecting technology companies with different expertise in the Park, and with industry leaders, in order to foster business collaboration. Incubatees can also benefit from the advanced laboratories and test centres, backed up by a team of professional engineers to support their research and development in the five focused technology areas: Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications, Precision Engineering, Biotechnology and Green Technology.
What is your favorite success story to come out of the HKSTP incubator program?
Our incubatees are our heroes. We want more people to hear about their stories, and to hear their first-hand accounts of how we support young start-ups.
Story of Appotech: AppoTech is a fantastic semiconductor company which focuses on developing high-performance, high-reliability, cost-effective system-on-chip (SoC) silicon solutions. Founded by Mr Chuck Cheng, a seasoned entrepreneur who returned to Hong Kong from Silicon Valley in 2003 during the SARS outbreak, AppoTech has been one of the high flyers in the Incubation Programme and nowadays has an annual turnover of more than HK$800 million. You can find other success stories on our website.
Interview with Peter Mok, Head of Incubation Programme