The first of two events for 2019 organized under the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy took place at Youth Square, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) on 3-4 April, 2019. The South-South Academy is the brainchild of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Gratia Christian College and several institutions of the Government of Hong Kong SAR. The South-South Entrepreneurship Academy intends to build entrepreneurship capacities as well as inter-cultural understanding. In response to the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Agenda’s mantra to leave no one behind, to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Policy 2018) that, “A nation will prosper when its young people thrive. A nation will be full of hope and have a bright future when its younger generation have ideals, abilities, and a sense of responsibility,” (para 302) and the mission of Gratia Christian College to be a private independent Christian university that excels in liberal arts and professional education for developing servant leaders to serve the Chinese and global communities with competence and Christian love, the three respective parties came up with the idea of a “South-South Entrepreneurship Academy”.
The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Centre for Business/Social Sustainability and Innovations (BSSI) of Gratia Business School of Gratia Christian College and the Government of Hong Kong SAR (Cyberport and Youth Square) convened the first cohort of the Academy for 2019 with the support of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association. The event was successfully held on the 3rd and 4th of April, 2019 with an objective to explore entrepreneurship options in technology and the financial sector under the theme “Technology, Financial Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”
In this context, the expected outcomes were to enhance: 1) understanding by youth of the new financial industry; 2) understanding of transformation of knowledge to entrepreneurship; and 3) development of entreprenuial ideas for implementation on return to country.
The Academy was honored to invite Mrs. Susanne Wong, J.P., District Officer, Central and Western District Office, Home Affairs Department; Ms. Doris Luey, Executive Director, Youth Square; Dr. Darwin Chen, President, UNESCO Hong Kong Association; and Ms. Maisy Ho, Executive Director, Shun Tak Holdings Limited as guests-of-honor for the opening ceremony.
Some of the invited speakers included:
Mrs. Suzanne Wong, J.P. District Officer stressed the importance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in policy-making. Ms. Maisy Ho, Executive Director, Shun Tak Holdings Limited, highlighted the importance of sustainability as an ever-evolving journey that needs to taken with different stakeholders. Mr Denis Nkala noted that the objectives of the Academy are aligned to the outcome document of the recently held Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South cooperation in many aspects.
During the two-day event, over 80 youth participants from China, Germany, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Tanzania, Zambia, and Hong Kong were exposed to up-to-date theoretical and practical aspects of entrepreneurship in the financial sector in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. Renowned entrepreneurs on a range of areas ranging from finance, technology, startups to fashion, art and academics shared their valuable and insightful experiences on innovation and sustainability. At the end of the session, participants worked in groups to compete for the best business plan compiled from the knowledge accumulated during the training. The purpose for this exercise is to promote working together across cultural to create cultural sensitive entrepreneurs with a sustainable development mind-set.
The organisers and participants thanked Dr. Shirley Yeung of Gratia Christian College Buiness School who has worked tirelessly to engage the various Hong Kong Institutions to participate in the Academy. The in-kind and financial contributions of the Hong Kong Institutions have enabled the event to take place. The 2019 April Cohort was hosted by Youth Square. Ms. Doris Luey, Executive Director of Youth Square noted that the South-South Academy has inspired her and her team to “not to open doors for young people from Hong Kong only but to have a global vision”.