[Hong Kong, 17 August 2015] Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) has launched its first-ever entrepreneurship fellow program, ASTRI Innovation Runway (AIR), offering one-stop comprehensive pre-incubation support to assist young technology entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to start up their business.
Sponsored by Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR Government and Microsoft Hong Kong, and with the support of over 20 local companies, organizations, universities, and incubators, ASTRI’s first AIR program is designed to assist young technology entrepreneurs overcoming various obstacles at the initial stage of starting up, enabling young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and develop their business successfully.
Fellows of this program will receive a monthly award of HKD 9,000, mentorship support, office facilities, field trips to successful technology companies in Mainland China, workshops, training, networking activities, etc. They may also utilize ASTRI’s patents and license them for commercialization upon graduation. Microsoft Hong Kong will also provide technical training and workshops.
Officiating guests of the Launching Ceremony included Mr. Ming-yam Wong, BBS, JP, Chairman of Board of Directors, ASTRI, Mr. Horace Chow, General Manager, Microsoft Hong Kong, The Hon Charles Peter Mok, JP, Legislative Council Member (Information Technology), Dr. Frank Tong, Chief Executive Officer, ASTRI, Dr. Alan Lam, Group CEO of Sengital Limited, Mr. Denis Tse, Managing Principal of Asia-IO Advisors Limited, Mr. Peter Mok, Head of Incubation Programmes of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Ms. Alsa Choi, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Innovation and Technology Commission, and Dr. Jack Lau, Chief Marketing Officer, ASTRI.
An entrepreneurship forum with the theme “ASTRI Innovation Runway – for your ideas to take off!” took place after the ceremony. Speakers of the forum included Dr. Alan Lam, Group CEO, Sengital Limited, Mr. Denis Tse, Managing Principal, Asia-IO Advisors Limited, Mr. Peter Mok, Head of Incubation Programmes, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation, and with Dr. Jack Lau as the moderator. The speakers discussed the challenges a start-up may face, and the main elements leading and sustaining a company successfully. They also share insights on entrepreneurship. Over 150 audience, mainly young entrepreneurs, senior management from the industry, academia, R&D professionals as well as students attended the forum.
“ASTRI has over 400 R&D professionals. All our R&D leaders are not only outstanding technologists with extensive management track records, but also specialists possessing extensive “domain knowledge” of industries”, Mr. Ming-yam Wong, Chairman of ASTRI said during the event, “With the AIR program in place, we can assist young entrepreneurs to pave their business runways and accelerate their start-ups. Together, we can promote innovative businesses, preserve the competitive edge of our city thereby benefiting our community.”
“Microsoft Hong Kong is pleased to join forces with ASTRI to help students and young entrepreneurs realizing their start-up dreams. As the only commercial sponsor of AIR, Microsoft is determined to provide technologies and training, such as on Azure and other cloud solutions, to inspire fellows to achieve more through technologies. We truly believe that young entrepreneurs are the fresh blood in the IT industry, as they have come up with some of the most innovative ideas to bring positive changes in society”, said Mr. Horace Chow, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong.
The AIR program is now open for online application. Young entrepreneur who is 18 or above, and has not established any company, is welcome to join. Application could be made by individuals or teams of not more than 5 people. All applications will undergo initial screening. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a proposal and deliver a presentation to a final judging panel on the final selection day. The assessment criteria include team’s strength, value proposition and business model, innovation and creativity, and impact to the society and community. A maximum of 20 people will be admitted as Fellows of the program. They will develop their technology businesses in the areas of financial technology, medical & healthcare technology, data analytics, cyber security, communication technologies, Internet of Things, etc. For the program details, please visit http://air.astri.org
About Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI)
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. In 2006, ASTRI was designated the Hong Kong Research and Development Centre for Information and Communications Technologies by the Innovation and Technology Commission. In 2012, ASTRI received the approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology to establish the first Hong Kong Branch of National Engineering Research Centre. Since its inception, it has also succeeded in creating economic impact by transferring new technologies to its customers in Hong Kong, the Mainland and the region. For details, please visit www.astri.org
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Hong Kong was established in 1991.