The government in Hong Kong has unveiled a new incubator program through its Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP). The program, which was first reported by Technode, is focused on helping to develop promising startups in a range of industries, which include the gaming, Internet and mobile spaces.
The initiative is inviting applications with the promise of support for up to 645,000 HKD (that’s around $82,000) over a three year incubation period. Total funding is broken down to cover a number of different services and requirements, with each startup’s figure calculated from its business and provided based on progress every six months.
Providing assistance for startups
The program offers two years of free rent of office space in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP), while there are options for on-site labs for bio-tech startups.
Amongst the assistance provided for companies that are accepted into the program, technical and management assistance is offered — with an option to “explore and bridge” relationships with the Hong Kong University — while there are also possibilities to use the close links with third-party business plan consultants and a mentorship program.
For its part, the HKSTP is committed to helping the incubating companies by providing promotional and development assistance — which includes help with marketing efforts — and help providing partnerships with distributors, investors and technology providers in Hong Kong and China.
The set-up also provides HR-like assistance with support for hiring employees and training staff.
Eligibility and application
The program has a number of eligibility stipulations for any business interested in applying for a position.
As you’d expect from a government supported initiative, a number of rules are in place to ensure that the program deals with startups that will serve the Hong Kong tech community. For example, companies must be registered in Hong Kong, with at least two full-time staff members working from the country.
Equally other factors to ensure that the startups catered to are new and fresh, including regulations around the amount of funding received at the time of application, are also required.
Applicants that make it to the interview stage are first welcomed by a casual interview, before more rigorous assessment from a technical evaluator. Finally, applicants must pass a committee panel interview during which they will meet with representatives from HKSTP and the Hong Kong Venture Capitalist and Private Equity Association.
The full list of application requirements and the application process can be found online.
A possible launchpad into China
Given its close proximity to China this program could be an excellent way to build up a company and raise support for a move into the world’s most populous market. However, the requirements of applications means that any company interested in being involved must already be active, or at least be planning to be active, in Hong Kong.
For eligible businesses in Hong Kong, this is definitely a program that is worth looking into.
Full details of the program can be found on the Incu-Tech website.