Google plans incubation program in HK

Teresa Leung
05 Nov 2013

Google and the Chinese University of Hong Kong will jointly create a one-year program to empower and enable young entrepreneurs and students in the city.

The Internet giant announced the plan in Hong Kong on Monday during an event where Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman was a guest speaker. Several local startup owners and students were invited to speak with him in a panel.

The program will provide incubation and access to mentors. Google will also sponsor outstanding program participants to visit the firm’s US headquarters where they will meet and connect with experts in the global community.

There will also be ‘efforts’ to help young entrepreneurs overcome startup costs and isolation that come with high rents and a fragmented entrepreneurship community, Google added without giving financial details.

Schmidt: Chinese culture is entrepreneurial

“Chinese culture is entrepreneurial,” said Schmidt during the event. “That’s a great asset [of the culture]. Our goal with the program will be to help sustain and enhance that culture, enabling the next generation of digital innovators in Hong Kong.”

Mentorship also has an important role to play in enabling the success of businesses run by young entrepreneurs, he said. “There’s the myth that entrepreneurs are by themselves and work alone in their apartments. But what they need is an ecosystem where coaches and mentors are reachable.”

Asked the strengths of Asian entrepreneurs, he said that the availability of tech talent in Asia and a family culture that’s supportive of members who want to be entrepreneurs are the region's forte.

“Most of the great ideas have a tech component that needs engineers and people with tech skills to realize,” he noted.

But Asian entrepreneurs need to think about how to get funded beyond self-financing. “Many businesses here are self-financed,” he said. “But there’s lots of cash in the region. Go convince people that your [business] model will work.”

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