The Next Generation of Hong Kong Entrepreneurs: How Young Innovators are Making their Mark

Hong Kong, the bustling financial hub of Asia, has always been known for its cutting-edge skyscrapers, luxurious shopping malls, and international cuisine. However, a new pattern has evolved in recent years: the increase in local young entrepreneurs.

Gone are the days when a secure job in a big corporation was the only path to success. More young people today are creating their own enterprises, pursuing their passions, and making the jump into entrepreneurship.

Increasing number of startups in Hong Kong from 2018 to 2022.

According to Invest HK’S 2022 Startup Survey, the number of startups reached a record high in 2022, demonstrating the ecosystem’s significant resilience despite past challenges brought by the pandemic.

Cecilia Cheung’s online store ACT Times’s poster, featuring their own brand’s model (Source: Instagram @act.times)

One of the entrepreneurs is 21-years-old Cecilia Cheung, who launched her own online fashion store two years ago. “I always had a passion for fashion, but I never thought I could turn it into a business,” she says. “With the rise of e-commerce, it became so much easier to launch my own online store.”

Cheung is not alone. Many young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong are taking advantage of the city’s highly connected and tech-savvy population to launch their own online businesses. From e-commerce to social media marketing, these young entrepreneurs are leveraging digital platforms to reach customers both in Hong Kong and around the world.

But it’s not just online businesses that are flourishing in Hong Kong. The city’s vibrant startup ecosystem has also given opportunities for a wide range of new businesses to set up their offline stores.

Eva Lai’s offline macaron store Ohiyo Bake in Kwun Tong (Source: Instagram @ohiyo.bake)

One such startup is 28-year-old Eva Lai’s macaron store located in Kwun Tong, which was an expansion from successfully operating its online Instagram store for three years. “I noticed that a lot of people wanted to see our products in-person and have a taste of it before making a purchase,” she says. “So I decided to invest in an offline store that welcomes our customers to have a closer look and take Instagramable pictures of our macarons.”

Offline Store of Ohiyo Bake is made to be extra Instagramable, attracting different kinds of customers to come and snap a shot. (Source: Instagram @porkfloss.eggroll_poodle)

Lai’s offline store was quickly crowded with dessert lovers, some bringing along their pets and loved ones. She has plans to further expand her business by holding workshops, so both children and adults can experience making their own macarons.

The rise of young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong is not just a reflection of changing attitudes towards work and career. It’s also a response to the challenges faced by young people in the city, including a highly competitive job market and sky-high housing prices. For many young people in Hong Kong, launching their own business is not just a way to pursue their passions, but also a way to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Despite the challenges of entrepreneurship, these young entrepreneurs remain optimistic about the future. “Starting a business is never easy, but I believe that if you have a passion and a vision, you can make it happen,” says Cheung.

As Hong Kong continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its people, the rise of young entrepreneurs is sure to play a key role in shaping the city’s future. But to truly understand the rising trend of young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, it’s important to look at the issue from different perspectives. One stakeholder who has a unique perspective on the issue is Elvie Cheng, a seasoned investor in the city’s startup ecosystem.

According to Cheng, the rise of young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong can be attributed to a number of factors, including the city’s highly connected population and its supportive startup ecosystem. “Hong Kong is a city that’s always on the move, and young people here are very tech-savvy,” she says. “Combine that with a supportive startup ecosystem, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing so many young entrepreneurs launching their own businesses.”

But Cheng also acknowledges that there are challenges to starting a business in Hong Kong, particularly for young people. “The cost of living in Hong Kong is very high, and it can be difficult for young people to find the resources they need to launch and grow their businesses,” she says. “That’s why it’s so important for the government and other stakeholders to provide support and resources to help these young entrepreneurs succeed.”

Indeed, the Hong Kong government has recognized the importance of supporting the city’s startup ecosystem, and has launched a number of initiatives aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. One such initiative is the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund, which provides funding to startups and entrepreneurs in the city.

But for young entrepreneurs like Cecilia Cheung and Eva Lai, government support is just one part of the equation. “Ultimately, it’s up to us as entrepreneurs to take the initiative and make things happen,” says Lai. “We can’t rely solely on government support or outside funding. We have to be willing to put in the hard work and take risks if we want to succeed.”

And that’s exactly what these young entrepreneurs are doing. From launching their own online businesses to setting up offline stores, they are taking advantage of the opportunities and resources available to them in Hong Kong, and carving out their own paths to success.

Of course, not every young entrepreneur in Hong Kong will succeed. Starting a business is never easy, and there are always risks involved. But for those who are willing to put in the hard work and take the necessary risks, the rewards can be significant.

Official Website of ACT Times (Source: act.times)

For Cecilia Cheung, the decision to launch her own online fashion store was a daunting one. Yet she says that the experience has been incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally. “Starting my own business has given me a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I never had when I was working for someone else,” she says. “It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.”

Macarons of a wide range of flavors including chocolate cheese, strawberry yoghurt, salted caramel, red velvet from Ohiyo Bake (Source: Adrian Tan)

For Eva Lai, the key to success as a young entrepreneur in Hong Kong is to stay focused and stay true to your vision. “There will always be challenges and setbacks along the way,” she says. “But if you believe in what you’re doing and you’re willing to put in the work, you can overcome those challenges and achieve your goals.”

As the trend of young entrepreneurship continues to grow in Hong Kong, it’s clear that these young entrepreneurs are not just shaping their own futures, but also the future of the city as a whole. With their passion, innovation, and determination, they are driving Hong Kong forward into a new era of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Featured Image: Ohiyo Bake

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