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Speech by FS at Global Youth Entrepreneurs Forum 2014 (English only)(with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the Global Youth Entrepreneurs Forum 2014 this morning (October 13):

Rosanna (Wong), Victor (Fung), Peter (Wong), Vincent (Lo), Shelley (Lee), ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     It's indeed a great pleasure for me to join you all today for the inaugural Global Youth Entrepreneurs Forum. I am still a bit groggy having just landed early this very morning after a week in the US, where I met with a large number of young people quite equally excited like yourselves about opportunities that we have in Hong Kong.

     I understand there are some 400 of you out here for this day-long gathering, coming from some 20 countries and regions. Among you, I see a bright mix of entrepreneurs building a successful enterprise, I see young employees looking to start their own companies, and students poised to conquer the business world.

     I would like to refer to a few comments by someone by the name of Thomas Alva Edison, who's credited with inventing the light bulb, the phonograph, moving pictures, and much more. I am not sure some of you out there would know what these things are. Mr Edison, who at one point held over 1,000 US patents, spoke often about the secret for success, which to him was simply hard work and persistence.

     "I have not failed," he said once. "I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." And, to drive home that message, he added, "Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up."

     The path to success is never straightforward, but it is easier to find your way in an environment that is nearly friction-free. I am talking about Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, you will find this free and competitive economy. You will find a low and simple tax system. You will find rule of law, free flow of capital, information and talent. These, and other strengths, have helped create an ideal environment for doing business. And for nurturing young entrepreneurs like yourselves.

     The Government is committed to helping small and medium-sized enterprises and those looking to start their own business. And that certainly includes young people.

     Our Trade and Industry Department's Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs, better known as SUCCESS - how's that for a fitting acronym - is central to the effort. SUCCESS offers free information and free consultation services for SMEs. And the Business Start-up Information Service of SUCCESS can help you with everything that you need to start a business in Hong Kong, including details on licences and permits, guidelines on drafting business plans and budget essentials.

     SUCCESS also organises seminars, workshops and other platforms to help SMEs, and business start-ups, enhance their entrepreneurial skills. And its "SME Mentorship Programme" features accomplished entrepreneurs offering one-on-one counselling.

     If technology or design is your path to success, look to the incubation programmes of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation as well as the Hong Kong Design Centre. They offer everything from subsidised office space to financial aid and a wide range of support services as well.

     The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation is another source of help. It launched the Microfinance Scheme in collaboration with banks and non-governmental organisations in 2012. It offers loans to young, would-be entrepreneurs, together with mentorship and entrepreneurial training.

     Your Forum organiser, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, also plays a key role in helping local youth explore career opportunities. The Federation's "Youth Business Hong Kong" scheme targets young entrepreneurs with seed money, with business support, information and networking. Three years ago, the Federation launched the HSBC Youth Business Award to promote entrepreneurship among young companies. Let me add that our Trade and Industry Department has been involved in the Federation's Youth Business Award for the past four years, the past two as "Strategic Partner". I am confident that our good partnership with the Federation will continue.

     My thanks to the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and The Dragon Foundation, the organisers of this forum, as well as its sponsors, strategic partners and supporting organisations. Your efforts in promoting youth entrepreneurship will help create tomorrow's business leaders and innovators today. So, take a good look: some of them are sitting among you today.

     Thank you very much and have a good day.

Ends/Monday, October 13, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:11


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