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SCED's opening remarks at 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme VIP dinner (English only) (with photos)

     Following are the opening remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme VIP dinner tonight (November 12):

     Distinguished guests, good evening! I am delighted to join Invest Hong Kong's VIP dinner for all sponsors, winners, speakers, judges and support organisations which are organising events during this exciting StartmeupHK Week now under way.

     A warm welcome to all our guests from overseas with whom I may not have had the chance to meet, and congratulations to the Grand Award winners, the winners of the industry awards and to all winners again. I very much enjoyed your pitch yesterday at the Venture Forum.

     I would like to convey a very special "thank you" to all of this year's StartmeupHK sponsors for your generous contribution, participation and kind support. My colleague Charles Ng (Assistant Director-General of Investment Promotion) from Invest Hong Kong will acknowledge all of our sponsors when we invite you for a photo towards the end of the evening.

     This year's StartmeupHK Venture Programme would not have been possible without your commendable efforts. You are among the star champions of the startup ecosystem and, by working closely together with my colleagues at Invest Hong Kong and support organisations, you have helped to connect the local startup communities and partners with startup entrepreneurs and experts around the world. This StartmeupHK Venture Programme will certainly raise Hong Kong's profile as the world's fastest-growing startup hub.

     Startups, with their relentless passion towards creating successful businesses, are the engines of economic and social progress. Listening to some of the pitches at the Forum yesterday, I was excited to learn how they bring inspiration, innovation, ideas, talented people and technology transfers to our economy.

     I would like to salute all sponsors and support organisations for generously giving your time and contributing your resources in putting together initiatives and events throughout the year, in particular during this StartmeupHK Week. You have helped the startup scene in Hong Kong gain momentum and grow rapidly.

     In addition to the new co-working spaces setting up and expanding their presence in the city, I feel very encouraged by the launch of several new incubation and accelerator programmes by large multinational corporations and large conglomerates setting up in the city. These include Accenture launching the First Financial Technology Innovation Lab and Accelerator Programme for Fin Tech startups and entrepreneurs in September, Swire Properties launching their B2B incubation centre and programme the day before yesterday, and KPMG launching their state-of-the-art Insights Lab in Hong Kong to bring global innovation in data analytics and data business driven solutions to enterprises.

     Moving forward, I look forward to Invest Hong Kong attracting more innovative, high-impact and scalable startups, early to growth stage ventures and entrepreneurial talent to our city. We would like to welcome and encourage overseas and Mainland angels, VCs (venture capital), and family offices to set up a base in Hong Kong. Not only can they explore the possibility of setting up joint funds in Asia with Hong Kong-based investors, but they can also invest in innovative Hong Kong-based startups and enrich their portfolio with meaningful deals.

     Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong has all the ingredients to becoming a leading destination and hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. All of us here are very passionate about building the ecosystem. Looking ahead, the HKSAR Government looks forward to continuing working closely with all stakeholders in the startup ecosystem to bring the future development of innovation and entrepreneurship in Hong Kong to the next level.

     I hope you will all enjoy this evening's dinner and for those from overseas, I hope you will be able to fruitfully engage with Hong Kong-based stakeholders and forge meaningful long-lasting business relationships.

     I would also like to congratulate the 14 winners again. You have been judged the best from among 550 entries from 47 economies.

     In closing, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Invest Hong Kong for organising StartmeupHK, to Inspira, this year's StartmeupHK vendor for their support, to all sponsors for your generous contribution, and to the assessors, speakers, judges and support organisations for their time, effort and passion in helping make the 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme and StartmeupHK Week a real success.

     Thank you!

Ends/Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:06


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