Email this article
Speech by CS at launch ceremony of Nurturing Social Minds (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the launch ceremony of Nurturing Social Minds held by the Yeh Family Philanthropy this evening (May 12):

Yvette (Mrs Yvette Fung, Chair, the Yeh Family Philanthropy), members of the Yeh Family Philanthropy, Joseph (Dr Joseph Lee, Vice-chairperson, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund Task Force), distinguished guests, students, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. It's my pleasure to be here today to celebrate the launch of the partnership between the Yeh Family Philanthropy and the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund, or the SIE Fund, that has supported the Nurturing Social Minds programme. The SIE Fund itself is an innovation, aiming at seeking new ways to help address poverty and social exclusion in Hong Kong through the promotion of social innovation and entrepreneurship. I am delighted to see that after months of hard work by the Task Force led by Professor Stephen Cheung, supported by my colleagues in the Efficiency Unit, this initiative has progressed from concept to execution.

     Hong Kong is an affluent city and is a centre for philanthropic support to other parts of China and many other countries. Yet our city is also a place in which many find themselves struggling for opportunity, as you have seen from the photos in the video. The city has made great economic achievements, many citizens enjoy a comfortable life, but, economic circumstances for the city are changing. Many have not enjoyed access to the prosperity that can give security in old age or ill health. Younger generations do not find the same access to opportunity that my generation had.

     When the Government re-established the Commission on Poverty in 2012 to review the poverty situation and existing policies, we were also determined to explore new measures, and to promote cross-sector partnership to create ladders of opportunity out of circumstances that can trap individuals and families.

     The SIE Fund, established under the Commission, has set out to be a catalyst for generating new partnerships, networks and innovative experiments that can help develop entrepreneurs who generate greater social impact and social value for the city. The idea is to see if we can expand the scope and scale of enterprises in Hong Kong that make the creation of social value the heart of their business. Over time this should add to the diversity of opportunity provided in the city and add to the learning and adaptation among existing programmes of public subvention, charitable endeavour and corporate social responsibility projects, meeting the needs of individuals and families in ways that give them greater agency and capacity to make their own choices.

     As many of you already know, the Fund has recently appointed four intermediaries to be its first group of executive agents or strategic partners. They are the Yeh Family Philanthropy, or YFP, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and SOW Asia. These four intermediaries have varied backgrounds and each has distinct strengths and unique emphasis that should help expand the ecosystem for social innovation and entrepreneurship.

     In the case of YFP, it has already demonstrated its capability to encourage young social entrepreneurs through education. Nurturing Social Minds, the programme we are celebrating today, is an extended version of these efforts. I am delighted to see YFP, in partnership with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, running this "Social Entrepreneurship & Venture Philanthropy" course which allows students to learn about social entrepreneurship not just in the classroom, but also through working with social businesses to address real life issues. It is a good demonstration of collaboration between a philanthropic foundation, an academic institution and social businesses. I am very pleased to learn that a second university will join the programme, giving more young people the chance to be engaged, inspired and equipped for social entrepreneurship. I hope this partnership can provide a model for others to follow.

     I want to express my warm appreciation to all who have made this programme possible.

     First, I would like to thank YFP for its commitment in driving social innovation in Hong Kong. As the Fund's strategic partner, through this programme, YFP set an inspiring example of cross-sector collaboration by generously making available your own funding to support the social businesses in implementing their innovative ideas while allowing the active participation of the students. You have also given us ideas and insights that help with the wider development of the social innovation programme.

     Second, credit must go to Stephen and Joseph, and all the good folks at the Task Force, as well as colleagues at the Secretariat, for helping to make these cross-sector partnerships happen. I understand that the Task Force has taken great effort to select the intermediary proposals that offer best opportunity to learn and build capabilities in this new field.

     Looking at the students who have joined in this programme, and hearing about what you have done, I can see why the Task Force was keen to partner with YFP to develop the Nurturing Social Minds programme. I can see your passion and enthusiasm to bring about good impact for society. I am sure the programme has equipped you with the knowledge, insight and hands-on experience to help you create new social businesses, inspire and change existing businesses, and help charities and NGOs build more self-sustaining and adaptable services that continue to meet the changing needs of Hong Kong's complex society in the years ahead.

     I hope you will spread the good word about this programme and share your learning experience with your friends and relatives. You are the first fruits of this programme and you will help to grow and diversify the ecosystem of social innovation and entrepreneurship for years to come.

     I thank you all, and wish you and the future courses of Nurturing Social Minds every success.

Ends/Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:48


Photo Photo
Print this page