[Hong Kong, 29 November 2016] Eight teams of young, creative entrepreneurs received acknowledgement as ‘successful graduates’ at the graduation ceremony of ASTRI Innovation Runway (AIR) held on Monday, 28 November 2016. Organised by Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and sponsored by Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR Government and Microsoft Hong Kong, the AIR platform offers one-stop comprehensive pre-incubation support to young technology entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.
The graduating entrepreneurs were joined at the ceremony by Mr Wong Ming-yam, BBS, JP – Chairperson of ASTRI Board of Directors, Dr Franklin Tong Fuk-kay – ASTRI CEO, Ms Joelle Woo – Director of Business Development and Developer Experience at Microsoft, and Mr Peter Mok – Head of Incubation Programmes at Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.
In his speech, ASTRI CEO Dr Tong congratulated the students for their enterprising spirit and the feat they’ve accomplished. He stressed that in today’s knowledge-driven economy, “we need to do more to advance applied scientific research in Hong Kong in order to contribute more to development of the city, our country, and the region as a whole.”
Since being launched in August 2015, the AIR programme received a total of 206 applications from aspiring start-up entrepreneurs. Multiple rounds of reviews, screening and assessments led to six and two projects being finally chosen to receive comprehensive pre-incubation support from ASTRI including skills training, coaching and mentoring, access to ASTRI labs and other resources, exposure to industry stakeholders and partners, visits to eminent business premises, and introduction to the commercial space. The programme also included training, workshops and other technical support from Microsoft Hong Kong.
The eight teams – comprising a total of 20 members – who graduated at the ceremony presented demonstrations of their business model as well as products and/or services. Over the period of their pre-incubation, these fellows of this programme received a monthly fellowship award of HKD 9,000 as start-up support. They are also allowed to utilise ASTRI’s technology solutions and patents for commercialisation upon graduation.
One behalf of the participants, Michelle Lui – Air Fellow from team Recipio – singled out the fact that “this programme transformed us from struggling undergraduates to confident start-up entrepreneurs who can now dare to dream.” She acknowledged the role played by the mentorship, practical field trips and access to funds in their journey.
Dr Vincent Lau, Director of Intelligent Software and System of ASTRI– one of the programme mentors – commented that “The programme offered various support to the young entrepreneurs, allowing them to focus on the technology development and realize their innovative ideas. If there was any similar program back in my days, it would definitely smooth out my bumpy and grumpy entrepreneurship journey.”
The ideas materialised by these teams are:
- Trops: A wearable device and app enabling cost-effective motion capture and analysis
- RECIPIO: An app to issue digital receipts customers at retail stores
- VRPose: A real-time posture/position estimation system and a virtual reality theme park
- hk: On-line venue booking platform that enables release of unutilised space
- eScooter: An original idea of a lightweight, portable and foldable electric scooter
- Locavel: App platform that facilitates interaction and exchange between students and locals
- MiniMaps: Precise indoor navigation system that interacts with preinstalled beacon devices
- MyParents: Social enterprise that enables people to take better, closer care of elderly parents
The programme was supported by an advisory panel which included: Dr Meikei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer of ASTRI, Dr Justin Chuang, Vice President, Next Generation Network of ASTRI, Dr Duncan Wong, Vice President, Financial Technologies of ASTRI, Dr Andrew Chan, Director, Executive MBA Program, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Dr Jack Lau, Former Chief Marketing Officer of ASTRI. In addition, the entrepreneurs’ teams were coached and mentored by domain experts.
More information on each of these teams – including their project details – can be found on the http://air.astri.org/news/
Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) was founded by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2000 with the mission of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness in technology-based industries through applied research. ASTRI’s core R&D competences in various areas are organised under seven Technology Divisions, namely Communications Technologies, Electronics Components, IC Design (Analog), IC Design (Digital), Opto-electronics, Security and Data Sciences, and Intelligent Software and Systems. Five areas of applications including financial technologies, intelligent manufacturing, next generation network, health technologies, and smart city are identified for major pursuit. For further information about ASTRI, please visit www.astri.org
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Group photo with Mr Wong Ming-yam (6th from right), BBS, JP, Chairman of Board of Directors of ASTRI, Dr Frank Tong (5th from right), Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI, R&D experts of ASTRI, mentors of AIR programme, and graduates of AIR Programme.
Mr Wong Ming-yam (1st from right), BBS, JP, Chairman of Board of Directors of ASTRI and Dr Frank Tong (1st from left), Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI present certificate to acknowledge the ‘successful graduates’ of AIR fellows at the graduation ceremony.
Members of RECIPIO present thank you card to Dr. Andrew Wat, one of the programme mentors.
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