Speech by CS at opening ceremony of Social Enterprise Summit 2022 (English only) (with photos/video)
Rebecca (Chair of the Organising Committee of the Social Enterprise Summit, Mrs Rebecca Choy Yung), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to join the Social Enterprise Summit this year. A big thank you to Rebecca, and her team, for making great efforts to host us in this wonderful setting, and a very warm welcome to you all, whether from local businesses or around the world.
The theme of this year's Summit is "Bounce Forward Together". As we are now bringing society back to normal under the COVID-19 epidemic, bouncing forward is surely one of our important targets.
In his Policy Address "Charting a Brighter Tomorrow for Hong Kong", the Chief Executive said, and I quote, "The next five years are important for Hong Kong to break new grounds and achieve another leap forward". As Hong Kong enters a new chapter, I take this opportunity to invite you all to play an active part in bringing about positive social change.
Likewise, the Social Enterprise Summit has also reached a new milestone. This year marks the 15th anniversary of this signature event. For local social enterprises, 2022 is also a year to remember as the number of social enterprises surpassed a remarkable 700. This shows that we are united by a shared value to care for the community and the environment, support the socially disadvantaged, and create positive social change together.
Over the years, social enterprises in Hong Kong have been enriching their services. There are good stories from people at different positions in the social enterprise community. And this encouraging development comes as no surprise: social enterprise is about tackling a social cause through what Hong Kong people do best – business!
From home service, education and training, food and beverage, to lifestyle, eco-service, transportation, corporate service and business support, we have arrived at a critical moment. It is time to explore ways to better position ourselves in a fast-changing world to tackle its different needs and challenges.
In the coming few days, the Summit will take participants through hot topics like innovation and technology, sustainability, metaverse and industry 4.0. The Government is glad to see social enterprises continue to grow; and by joining hands, we can achieve more positive results.
Since 2006, we have been running the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme. It helps social enterprises to set up and scale up, and increase employment and training opportunities for the socially disadvantaged. So far, around $369 million has been granted to help establish over 250 social enterprises.
Also, the Government is a promoter and facilitator for social innovation and entrepreneurship. Since launching the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund in 2013, we have enhanced the ecosystem to help social entrepreneurs succeed, and for innovative ideas, products and services to take root. So far, the Fund has supported over 430 ventures and projects, involving total funding of over $500 million. This has supported more than 320 000 people in need, including children, the elderly, people with disabilities, grassroots families and ethnic minorities.
Over the past few years, the COVID-19 epidemic has brought great challenges to the social enterprise sector. Now, with society being brought back to normal in an orderly manner, the Government is also prepared to help social enterprises "bounce forward" and become more visible in people's daily lives.
One of our publicity initiatives this year is the SE Tree Mark programme, which adopts a specially designed tree logo to enable the public to identify social enterprises more easily. The image of a tree represents social enterprises starting out as tiny seeds that have grown big. Also, remember to look out for the new SE mascot called Bloomy the Tree, which will also appear at the ceremony today. The eye-catching logo and mascot will help promote social enterprises and encourage people to support the great work they do.
The way forward for social enterprises lies in the robust entrepreneurial spirit of our young people. I am glad to know that a Young Entrepreneur Showcase will be held on Saturday, enabling young social entrepreneurs to network and share ideas. Also, it is worth noting that, among the projects supported by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund that I mentioned earlier, many are launched by the youth.
Ladies and gentlemen, I look forward to joining with you all to help social enterprises "Bounce Forward Together". The Government will keep reviewing and enhancing efforts to provide more opportunities for social entrepreneurs, especially young ones, to drive positive social change.
On this note, I wish all participants fruitful discussions, and this year's Social Enterprise Summit a great success. Thank you very much.
Ends/Thursday, November 24, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:30
Issued at HKT 18:30