10 winning start-ups stand out at Start-up Express

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  • Innovative solutions in art, finance, health, green tech and more

The fifth edition of Start-up Express, an entrepreneurship development programme organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), came to a successful conclusion today. The Pitching Final, which was streamed live, saw 10 winning start-ups selected from a total of 20 shortlisted companies. The “My Favourite Start-up Award”, decided through live online polling, was awarded to Good Food Technologies, while the newly added ESG Award went to i2Cool in recognition of its sustainable and socially efficient business solution. The 10 winning teams will participate in a series of local and international events to develop their businesses by building connections, exploring markets, seeking partners and enhancing brand awareness.

The Start-up Express Pitching Final winners pictured together with the judging panel and special guests. Ben Cheng, Managing Partner, C Ventures; Jason Chiu, Chairman, Hong Kong Start-up Council; Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director, HKTDC; Raymond Yung, Vice Chairman, AMTD Group; and Arshad Chowdhury, Managing Partner, Betatron Venture Group [back row, L-R]

The distinguished judging panel witnessed the rise of the latest cohort of Start-up Express winners
Renowned stand-up comedian Vivek Mahbubani was the event’s host, taking the opportunity to chat with entrepreneurs from some of the participating start-ups

Stephen Liang, HKTDC Assistant Executive Director, said: “As the pandemic situation gradually begins to ease, innovative business models and ideas will become a new stimulus for the economy in post-pandemic times. The enrolment for Start-up Express 2022 reflected the great enthusiasm of Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs, with 20 shortlisted start-ups coming from a broader spectrum of fields than ever before, including arts tech, green tech, health tech, prop tech, fintech, smart city tech, edtech, food tech and others. Over the past four years, the programme has nurtured 40 start-ups and the HKTDC continues to pass on the spirit of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, assisting local start-ups in growing their businesses to the next level. At the same time, we strive to create a sustainable and international entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Diverse opportunities offered to winning start-ups
Pitching Final contestants presented their innovative business ideas and responded to questions raised by a distinguished panel of judges as well as the online audience. This year’s judging panel comprised Raymond Yung, Vice Chairman, AMTD Group; Jason Chiu, Chairman, Hong Kong Start-up Council; Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation), Sino Group; Ben Cheng, Managing Partner, C Ventures; and Arshad Chowdhury, Managing Partner, Betatron Venture Group. The 10 winning start-ups are: Allklear Health, Beth Bioinformatics, Calioo Technologies, Custonomy Company, EggLogics, Flow, Good Food Technologies, i2Cool, MixCare Health and PONS.ai (click here https://tinyurl.com/2p8kvfxs to download the list of winners and their company profiles). The HKTDC will arrange a series of exposure opportunities through which the winning teams can interact with buyers and investors.

Outstanding presentations at Pitching Final
AMTD Group was the exclusive Strategic Partner of Start-up Express for the fourth consecutive year. Calvin Choi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMTD Group and Founder of AMTD IDEA, shared his thoughts on the contest, saying that all the contestants presented extraordinary business ideas. “This is the fourth year that AMTD has supported HKTDC’s Start-up Express as an exclusive Strategic Partner. The wide range of start-ups participating in this year’s Pitching Final continue to innovate and develop in a more diverse and contemporary way. In particular, we saw more start-ups coming from art tech, food tech and other emerging areas this year, which shows that local start-ups are market-sensitive, quick to respond to the direction and dynamics of emerging industries, as well as reactive to rising trends and fads of the times,” Mr Choi said.

Noting that local businesses across different sectors had been affected by the pandemic, he added: “It is encouraging to see Hong Kong start-ups remaining active despite the difficulties and on the lookout for opportunities under the new normal. Government policies and the social environment have been very supportive of start-ups, too. I am confident that if local start-ups can continue their efforts, stay flexible and be determined to find unique opportunities in the new normal, they can definitely stand out from their competitors in an ever-changing business environment and find a sustainable way forward.”

The “SpiderNet Start-up Award”, established to recognise the top performer selected by AMTD in the Pitching Final, was awarded to EggLogics. The award aims to provide the winner with an exclusive opportunity to access the resources and network of the AMTD SpiderNet ecosystem. The winner will benefit greatly in terms of its future business development and at the same time create synergies with other entrepreneurs within the ecosystem.

Jason Chiu, Chairman of the Hong Kong Start-up Council and a member of this year’s judging panel, said: “It is my pleasure to be on the judging panel again this year. There is tremendous competition in this year’s contest. All the start-up teams used their innovative mindsets to deliver exceptional pitches and shone through, highlighting the fact that local tech talents are extremely capable. I am confident that Start-up Express will serve as a springboard for the winning teams to access more opportunities. They can leverage this platform to expand their business network, explore markets in Mainland China especially the Greater Bay Area and overseas, and take their business to the next level.”

Start-up Express boosts brand awareness and network expansion
Start-up Express provides start-ups with the chance to promote their business ideas and enhance their brand awareness while connecting with investors and industry leaders, as well as acquiring business know-how from industry experts. Calvin Cheng, founder and CEO of Wizpresso which was a winner in the 2021 Start-up Express, said: “With the assistance provided by the HKTDC, we gained a lot of exposure that helped greatly with our brand promotion. We also had the chance to participate in international trade fairs to connect with potential clients. These are the kind of valuable opportunities open to Start-up Express winners.”

Logistics platform Zeek, another winning team at last year’s Pitching Final, has successfully established a presence in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and other markets. KK Chiu, CEO of Zeek, said the company was able to grow its business connections by meeting with different businesses under the coordination of the HKTDC. Through HKTDC-organised local and overseas events, it also gained the opportunity to promote its brand to other local and international businesses.

Start-up Express International Edition launches in December
The HKTDC has always given its full support to Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping to maintain the city’s status as a competitive business centre and hub for innovation. In celebration of the fifth anniversary of Start-up Express, the first International Edition of the contest will be held this December as part of HKTDC Entrepreneur Day. Winning teams from Hong Kong will compete with outstanding start-ups from Mainland China, USA, the UK, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Singapore and other countries and regions. Winners in the International Edition will be offered comprehensive assistance to enter the Hong Kong market and explore opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area via the Hong Kong platform.

Start-up Express website: https://portal.hktdc.com/startupexpress/en/
Photo download: https://bit.ly/3HnvEBW

About HKTDC
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn

Media enquiries
Please contact HKTDC’s Communications & Public Affairs Department:
Clayton Lauw, Tel: +852 2584 4472, Email: clayton.y.lauw@hktdc.org

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