Speech by CS at Joint Opening Ceremony of Hong Kong International Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Week 2016 (English only) (with photos/video)
Simon (Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Dr Simon Ip), Alice (Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises, Dr Alice Yuk), Jane (Chair of the Organising Committee of the Social Enterprise Summit, Dr Jane Lee), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you all at the opening of the first ever Hong Kong International Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Week (IPSE Week). Let me extend a very warm welcome to all distinguished speakers and guests coming from different parts of the world.
The IPSE Week 2016 aims to promote the collaboration between different sectors to advance social objectives and to showcase the ongoing efforts and achievements of Hong Kong in the development of philanthropy and social enterprises. We are glad to have government officials, non-governmental organisations' leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, philanthropists and professionals from relevant sectors around the globe joining us to exchange experience, with a view to generating ideas for social innovation and advancement. Indeed, I would say this is a congregation of great minds from different places and different backgrounds celebrating a common pursuit of social good.
In line with Hong Kong's hyper-efficiency, this IPSE Week comprises three distinctive forums and summit on philanthropy and social enterprise development.
First, we have the Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. We will explore together the best practices of philanthropy and the effective use of philanthropic capital to create social impact in addressing metropolitan social issues.
Hong Kong is a small yet fascinating international city. While most renowned for its economic and business success, we also have our unmet social needs. To meet the challenges, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government strives to strengthen social safety nets for the disadvantaged on one hand, and foster its long-standing relationship with charitable bodies to deliver public services and social projects on the other. We work with various charities, on all fronts and at all levels, in a wide range of programmes for good causes - from health care, education and support services for the disadvantaged, to promotion of arts, culture, sports, youth development and community building in our city, to even financial and disaster relief overseas.
Hong Kong is a city with a long-established culture of giving. The first Chinese hospital in Hong Kong was not initiated by the Government but by a group of earnest local Chinese leaders through raising funds in the community. Following the enactment of the Tung Wah Hospital Ordinance and with the funding support and land grant from the Government, the Tung Wah Hospital was completed in 1872 and started to provide free Chinese medical services to the sick and the poor.
In the late 19th century, abduction and trafficking of women and children were serious in Hong Kong. In 1878, a group of local Chinese presented a petition to the Government to set up an organisation to rescue the kidnapped victims. The Po Leung Kuk, formally known as the Society for the Protection of Women and Children, was established in 1878 to prevent and resolve kidnappings and to protect destitute women and children.
What is more is that the first university in Hong Kong was founded by the generosity of a philanthropist at the beginning of the 20th century. My alma mater, the University of Hong Kong, was established in 1911 when the Indian businessman Sir Hormusjee Naorojee Mody learned of Governor Sir Frederick Lugard's plan to establish a university in Hong Kong, and decided to donate HK$150,000 towards the construction and HK$30,000 for other costs for the development of the first higher education institution in the city.
With the population size expanding dramatically during the early 1960s, poverty, diseases, delinquency, family violence and other serious social issues plagued the Hong Kong community. In 1965, a group of enthusiastic and visionary volunteers started to propose the establishment of a "collective channel" for fund-raising to address social issues so that social welfare agencies could concentrate on developing quality services for local beneficiaries. In 1968, the Community Chest of Hong Kong, the first of its kind in Asia, was officially founded under the Community Chest Ordinance to help raise funds on behalf of member social welfare agencies.
Any recount of Hong Kong's history of giving would not be complete without mentioning the tremendous impact of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. For over 130 years, the Club has donated large sums of money to educational, medical, recreation and sports facilities in Hong Kong. Last year, the Club made a record-breaking $3.8 billion donation to various good causes.
But if you will forgive me for being pedantic, the above laudable initiatives are charitable acts which involve donations in kind or in cash to relieve a particular social problem or to meet a shortfall. Philanthropy, on the other hand, aims to address the root cause of the problem, with a focus on the quality of life, driven by the love and concern for humanity. As the title of this Forum suggests, philanthropy can create a better city. Particularly at a time when our society tends to become more polarised and suffer from deepening divides of wealth and opportunity, greater emphasis on philanthropy could, in my view, bring about social inclusion and solidarity. This gathering of practitioners and experts in philanthropy cannot therefore be more timely.
Indeed, there are already very positive signs of this evolution from charity to philanthropy in Hong Kong. In recent years, following the increasing number of charitable organisations, the evolvement of new forms of giving and help, as well as the promotion of corporate social responsibility, we are seeing the emergence of social enterprises as a new sector which aspires to achieve social objectives through private businesses. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has made pioneering moves in venturing into initiatives to promote elderly care through its CADENZA project and to support the healthy development of young people through its PATHS to Adulthood. And this time last year, the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund organised Hong Kong's first ever Shared Value: Creating Competitive Advantage Forum with an aim to inspire participants to incorporate Corporate Shared Value into their corporate strategy. All these efforts are philanthropic and will make Hong Kong a better city.
This takes me to another highlight of the IPSE Week - the Social Enterprise Summit, which is an annual flagship event in Hong Kong to promote cross-sectoral collaboration among social enterprises. This year, we hope to leverage on the experience of other Asian cities to find new ways for social innovation, cross-sectoral collaboration and social impact assessment.
I have been very closely associated with Hong Kong's social enterprise movement. Fifteen years ago, in my capacity as the Director of Social Welfare, I set up the first government social enterprise programme to provide seed money to NGOs running small businesses to provide employment for people with disabilities. This was followed by another social enterprise programme I launched as the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs to alleviate poverty through social enterprises at district level. As the Secretary for Development responsible for, amongst other things, Hong Kong's heritage conservation, I invited social enterprises to help revitalise our historic buildings into a heritage hotel, youth hostel, a design hub, etc.
We now have a remarkable total of more than 570 social enterprises, as against a population of around 7.3 million. According to research by the Fullness Social Enterprises Society, Hong Kong has the largest number of social enterprises per 1 million of population as compared with Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and Vietnam.
The social enterprise sector in Hong Kong is community-driven with the Government playing a supporting role. The Government promotes the development of the social enterprise sector under a multi-pronged approach. We provide funding for social enterprises and social innovation projects, as well as aids in training for social enterprises to build up capacity and enhance competitiveness. We also encourage public support for social enterprises through publicity and promote cross-sectoral collaboration. We are glad to see that increasingly social enterprises in Hong Kong are not only engaging in more different lines of businesses and operating models, but also achieving more diverse social objectives and gaining wider recognition in the community.
As a final instalment to the IPSE Week, we have the Social Enterprise World Forum. This world forum was first launched in 2008 and has since grown in impact through its annual run in various cities of the world. Hong Kong is proud to serve as the newest host to this influential international event. This year's forum will review the business models and best practices in the social enterprise sector based on success stories and explore the use of social enterprises as a new market and a new form of business to achieve social objectives.
Good business practices can maximise both business and social values, especially in the tripartite collaboration between businesses, the community and the government to address complex social needs. Within the Hong Kong SAR Government, we have the Innovation and Technology Commission, the recently established Innovation and Technology Bureau, and the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund under the Commission on Poverty to work for this cross-sectoral interest. Through these institutions, we have been building the ecosystem of support not only for the creation of new businesses, but also for existing businesses to create new business value in ways that will increase social value.
We want to create a shared value that can enrich both business and society. It is not easy to overcome the inertia of entrenched practices and assumptions to find shared value. I am pleased to note that, however, businesses in Hong Kong are positive to the call to rethink, to experiment and to find ways to work better for our city and for our society.
As a result of globalisation, many social issues and challenges have in fact become universal - the productivity challenge brought by ageing population, the job market challenge brought by technological advances, the environmental challenge brought by urbanisation and modernisation, the housing challenge brought by affordability issues. Such challenges also present new business opportunities, taking the shared economy as an example. Increasingly we also aspire to take things at the higher level - from environmental protection to sustainable development, from job creation to provision of equal opportunities, from provision of basic learning to the support for self-development, from poverty alleviation to reduction of the wealth gap.
While giving help to those in need, we also want to create social capital to address social issues and challenges. We also want to transform social challenges into new business and development opportunities. We do not just look for solutions, but strategies for social advancement. Apart from stepping up efforts for social good, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs alike are increasingly keen to find ways to assess the outcomes of their inputs and to see how such outcomes are translated into social values and impacts for the betterment of society. In a nutshell, we need to innovate and open new frontiers. To do so, we have to look beyond borders and across different sectors. And that's why we are here with the IPSE Week.
The inception of the IPSE Week marks an important milestone in the social enterprise movement of this city. It provides a great platform for us to exchange ideas, share experience and explore together possible strategies and solutions in response to global social challenges. I must express my heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous efforts made by the three organisers - the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Hong Kong Social Entrepreneurship Forum, and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises. My gratitude also goes to my colleagues in the Home Affairs Bureau. As the government institution overseeing the growth of the social enterprise sector in Hong Kong, the bureau has made considerable effort to steer and co-ordinate the organisation of this grand event.
I look forward to the new insights and inspirations coming up from the IPSE Week to help us advance social good for the world. May I wish the IPSE Week every success, and all visiting participants a most rewarding and enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:38
Issued at HKT 18:38