Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Gov't to bring more opportunities

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

Hong Kong is an affluent city and is a centre for philanthropic support to other parts of China and many other countries. Yet our city is also a place in which many find themselves struggling for opportunity. The city has made great economic achievements, many citizens enjoy a comfortable life, but, economic circumstances for the city are changing. Many have not enjoyed access to the prosperity that can give security in old age or ill health. Younger generations do not find the same access to opportunity that my generation had.


When the Government re-established the Commission on Poverty in 2012 to review the poverty situation and existing policies, we were also determined to explore new measures, and to promote cross-sector partnership to create ladders of opportunity out of circumstances that can trap individuals and families.


The Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund, established under the Commission, has set out to be a catalyst for generating new partnerships, networks and innovative experiments that can help develop entrepreneurs who generate greater social impact and social value for the city. The idea is to see if we can expand the scope and scale of enterprises in Hong Kong that make the creation of social value the heart of their business. Over time this should add to the diversity of opportunity provided in the city and add to the learning and adaptation among existing programmes of public subvention, charitable endeavour and corporate social responsibility projects, meeting the needs of individuals and families in ways that give them greater agency and capacity to make their own choices.


The Fund has recently appointed four intermediaries to be its first group of executive agents or strategic partners. They are the Yeh Family Philanthropy, or YFP, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and SOW Asia. These four intermediaries have varied backgrounds and each has distinct strengths and unique emphasis that should help expand the ecosystem for social innovation and entrepreneurship.


In the case of YFP, it has already demonstrated its capability to encourage young social entrepreneurs through education. Nurturing Social Minds is an extended version of these efforts. I am delighted to see YFP, in partnership with the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, running this "Social Entrepreneurship & Venture Philanthropy" course which allows students to learn about social entrepreneurship not just in the classroom, but also through working with social businesses to address real-life issues. It is a good demonstration of collaboration between a philanthropic foundation, an academic institution and social businesses. I am very pleased to learn that a second university will join the programme, giving more young people the chance to be engaged, inspired and equipped for social entrepreneurship. I hope this partnership can provide a model for others to follow.


Chief Secretary Carrie Lam gave these remarks at the launch ceremony of the Nurturing Social Minds programme.

Otmane El Rhazi
Department of Commerce
Economic Development
Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

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