On 18-19 April 2020, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) convened the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy (first cohort for 2020). The Academy opened with strong statements from the supporting Partners. “If you come up with creative ideas, or crazy but good ideas today, which utilize technology to promote sustainable gastrotourism, I would encourage you to get in touch with our team to find out how we can turn your dreams into reality.”, said Mr. George Lam, Chairman of Cybeport. The other speakers spoke of the convergence of sustainability and entrepreneurship under the sustainable development Agenda. The other partners supporting this initiative in Hong Kong are: the Centre for Business/Social Sustainability Innovations of Gratia Christian College (GCC), Youth Square and UNESCO Hong Kong Association.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted normal ways of doing business. The South-South Entrepreneurship Academy training was, until this one, conducted face to face. The first 2020 training utilised telecommunication tools. There were 18 participants from 9 countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa, namely, Botswana, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The first 2020 cohort training focused on the topic of “Gastrotourism and Entrepreneurship” over two days. The training included a series of lectures and workshops. The speakers came from diverse backgrounds, including academia, entrepreneurs from the gastrotourism industry, as well as experts in investment, marketing and branding. Some of the speakers include:
The training consisted of four sessions. These were, introducing the gastrotourism industry, the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, linking business with the sustainable development goals, as well as the role of South-South Cooperation in promoting entrepreneurship development in the Global South. Some very interesting outcomes of the training were offers made by the resource people and the Hong Kong partners ranging from continuing to provide advice, mentoring, consultation and possibilities for seed funding for good initiatives.
The two-day training will be followed by a business plan competition. The students have formed groups to brainstorm on a business plan in the gastrotourism industry, based on local cuisines, culture and environment. The first-place winner of the competition will get a chance to visit Hong Kong partners and participate in the annual entrepreneurship meeting under the Youth4South initiative of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation in Shenzhen later this year. The first and the second runner-up of the competition will also get a cash prize to encourage their efforts.
While it was the first attempt for UNOSSC Asia-Pacific and its partners to have an online event, it turned out to be an unqualified success. The Regional Office will take the opportunity to build on this experience to organize more events on capacity building and interregional cooperation.