The Hong Kong Government is committed to supporting startups and SMEs to help realize their vision and take their business to the next level. Find out about government funding schemes available to assist your business.
Bodies Supporting Startups
CREATE HONG KONG
The CreateHK is a dedicated agency set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau on 1 June 2009 to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It co-ordinates Government policy and effort regarding creative industries, focuses Government’s resources catering for the promotion and speeding up of the development of creative industries in Hong Kong, and works closely with the trade to boost the development of creative industries.
Cyberport is a creative digital community with a cluster of technology and digital content tenants. With a vision to establish itself as a leading information and communications technology (ICT) hub in the Asia-Pacific region, Cyberport is committed to facilitating the local economy by nurturing ICT industry start-ups and entrepreneurs, driving collaboration to pool resources and create business opportunities, and acceleratingICT adoption through strategic initiatives and partnerships.
HONG KONG DESIGN CENTRE
As the Hong Kong government’s advisor on design, Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) sets its mission to champion design’s many possibilities, to constantly remind our community what great, intelligent designs can achieve and to lead the way for our next generation of designers.
HONG KONG PRODUCTIVITY COUNCIL
The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) is a multi-disciplinary organization. It promotes productivity excellence through the provision of integrated support across the value chain of Hong Kong firms, in order to achieve a more effective utilization of resources, to enhance the value-added content of products and services, and to increase international competitiveness.
HONG KONG R&D CENTRES
The Hong Kong R&D Centre Programme is the core initiative driven by the Innovation and Technology Commission of HKSAR Government with the aim to harness Hong Kong’s advantages in applied research, intellectual property protection, business-friendly environment and proximity to the manufacturing based in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, to thrive as a regional technology service hub.
HONG KONG SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY PARKS CORPORATION
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is a statutory body that has one simple goal – to transform Hong Kong into the regional hub for innovation and technology development.
A hub that will diversify and grow the city’s economy, expand employment opportunities across a multitude of industries, raise Hong Kong’s status as a global powerhouse to a new level, foster talent and interest in STEM as well as offer them highly-sought-after tech careers, and most importantly, help create a sustainable world and brighter future for the younger generation.
HONG KONG TRADE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) offers a variety of platforms and business-matching services, connecting small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong with business partners from all over the world. The HKTDC’s website will be useful for startups to find materials such as economic and policy analysis, global market information, and trade fairs.
HK Startup Society exists to serve Hong Kong’s startup entrepreneurs in their quest to achieve startup success through a wealth of exclusively curated content provided by an elite group of startup entrepreneurs around the world. Their platform provides a collection of resources created by established startup entrepreneurs exclusively for startups to benefit from their experience and wisdom.
INVEST HONG KONG
Invest Hong Kong works with overseas and Mainland entrepreneurs, SMEs and multinationals that wish to set up an office – or expand their existing business – in Hong Kong. It offers free advice and services to support companies from the planning stage right through to the launch and expansion of their business.
Creativity and Design Funding Opportunities
CREATIVE SMART INITIATIVE (CSI)
The CreateSmart Initiative (CSI) was established by the Government in June 2009 to promote and speed up the development of local creative industries so as to build Hong Kong into Asia’s Creative Capital. The CSI aims at providing financial support to projects conducive to the development of creative industries in Hong Kong. It is administered by the Create Hong Kong (CreateHK).
DESIGN INCUBATION PROGRAMME (DIP)
As a major incubation programme fully supported and funded by the Hong Kong SAR Government and managed by Hong Kong Design Centre, the Hong Kong Design Incubation Programme (DIP) aims to nurture design startups at the early stage of their business development, with hardware and software support.
Under the programme, each incubatee is expected to graduate within a period of up to 2 years. Throughout the incubation period, incubatees will enjoy a variety of support services including ready-to-use office, financial subsidies, business development and networking sessions to better prepare design-prenuers to meet the competitive challenges during the early and critical stages of development. Industrial organisations, academic institutes, investment angels, professional bodies and business partners are valued supporters of this programme.
FASHION INCUBATION PROGRAMME (FIP)
Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) is an advanced business of fashion incubator for ardent fashion talents and brands. 15 designers will be selected to join a 2-year programme over a 3-year period. FIP aggregates expert business and technical advisory, resources, tools & technical expertise and support to nurture a new generation of fashion designers and design entrepreneurs. FIP Designers will grow through personal development, creative confidence, contents, contexts, authenticity and conscious leadership.
Financing Loan or Insurance Opportunities
HONG KONG EXPORT CREDIT INSURANCE
The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation was established in 1966 under the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Ordinance (Chapter 1115). It was created by statute with the aim of encouraging and supporting export trade by providing Hong Kong exporters with insurance protection against non-payment risks arising from commercial and political events. Its contingent liability under contracts of insurance is guaranteed by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, with the statutory maximum liability currently standing at $55 billion. The Corporation is required to operate in accordance with the requirements laid down in the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Ordinance and to pursue a policy directed towards securing revenue sufficient to meet all expenditure properly chargeable to its revenue account. It is a ‘public body’ under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. ECIC staff are not permitted to accept any advantages from ECIC customers. Anybody offering any advantages to ECIC staff in connection with official business commits an offence.
The Scheme aims to offer Micro Business Start-up Loans, Self-employment Loans and Self-enhancement Loans to assist people who wish to start their own businesses, become self-employed or achieve self-enhancement through training, upgrading of skills or obtaining professional certification.
The Scheme will provide supporting services including mentorship and referral to entrepreneurial training to entrepreneurs and self-employed persons as required in order to enhance their ability in running business and also help them to resolve problems in their daily business operations.
SME FINANCING GUARANTEE SCHEME
The Scheme aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and non-listed enterprises to obtain financing from participating lenders for meeting their working capital and business needs so as to enhance their productivity and competitiveness in the rapidly changing business environment.
SME LOAN GUARANTEE SCHEME
The Technology Talent Scheme, which comprises the Postdoctoral Hub Programme and the Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme, was launched in August 2018 to nurture and bring together more technology talent. The Scheme is implemented on a pilot basis for an initial period of five years from August 2018 with HK$500 million set aside from the Innovation and Technology Fund.
Innovation and Technology Funding Opportunities
INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY FUND FOR BETTER LIVING
The Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living (“FBL”) is a scheme for funding innovation and technology (“I&T”) projects which will make people’s daily living more convenient, comfortable and safer, or address the needs of specific community groups.
INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY VENTURE FUND (ITVF)
TECHNOLOGY TALENT SCHEME – POSTDOCTORAL HUB PROGRAMME
TECHNOLOGY TALENT ADMISSION SCHEME (TECHTAS)
TALENT LIST HONG KONG
While the Talent List has displayed what professions are the talents that Hong Kong needs most and are eligible for the immigration facilitation under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS), potential entrants from other industries and sectors not covered by the Talent List are welcomed to apply for the QMAS and other admission schemes as long as they fulfill the respective eligibility criteria.
Market Development Funding Opportunities
To help Hong Kong enterprises capture the opportunities arising from the National 12th Five-Year Plan, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government set up a “Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestics Sales” (the BUD Fund) of $1 billion in June 2012.
To help SMEs, including start-ups, grasp economic opportunities and boost their competitiveness, the 2018-19 Budget proposed to extend the geographical scope of the BUD Fund to include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets by launching the “ASEAN Programme”, and to increase the cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise for projects involving the Mainland China Market (the “Mainland Programme”). The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved the enhancement proposal and funding injection of $1.5 billion in June 2018.
GENERAL SUPPORT PROGRAMME (GSP)
GSP is a programme under the ITF catering for non-R&D projects that contribute to the upgrading and development of our industries as well as fostering an innovation and technology culture in Hong Kong.
Projects to be supported under GSP may include conferences, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, promotional events, studies and surveys, youth activities, events or projects to support platform building / upgrading of industry, etc. In general, the GSP will not support projects for promotion of products/services of a specific commercial entity.
PATENT APPLICATION GRANT (GSP)
The Patent Application Grant (the Grant) is a funding scheme to assist local companies and individuals to apply for patents of their own inventions. The Grant is administered by the Innovation and Technology Commission with Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) as the implementation agent.
Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme for Manpower Demand Management (ReTAAS)
The Government sets aside $50 million for Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme for Manpower Demand Management (ReTAAS) to help the retail industry to adopt relevant information and communications technology and other technologies that help manage manpower demand.
SME EXPORT MARKETING FUND
The SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) aims to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their markets outside Hong Kong by providing financial assistance to SMEs for participation in export promotion activities.
Technology Voucher Programme (TVP)
TVP aims to subsidise local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes.
TRADE AND INDUSTRIAL ORGANISATION SUPPORT FUND (TSF)
The Trade and Industrial Organisation Support Fund (TSF) provides financial support to non-profit-distributing organisations to implement projects which aim at enhancing the competitiveness of non-listed Hong Kong enterprises in general or in specific sectors. It is a merger between the previous SME Development Fund (SDF) and the Organisation Support Programme (OSP) under the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund).
Research and Development Funding Opportunities
ENTERPRISE SUPPORT SCHEME (ESS)
It is a major funding initiative under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), which is designed to encourage the private sector to invest in research and development (R&D).
GUANGDONG-HONG KONG TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION FUNDING SCHEME (TCFS)
TCFS aims to enhance the level of collaboration on R&D between organizations in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. Projects funded by the TCFS will have to demonstrate an element of Guangdong/Hong Kong cooperation (e.g. collaboration between research institutes and enterprises in Guangdong, Shenzhen and Hong Kong).
INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT PROGRAMME (ITSP)
ITSP supports midstream/downstream research and development (R&D) projects undertaken mainly by designated local public research institutes, R&D Centres, industry support organisations, professional bodies and trade and industry associations.
INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME (GSP)
The Internship Programme aims to encourage university graduates to pursue a career in innovation and technology (I&T) and nurture more I&T talents. The Internship Programme consists of the following two sub-programmes:The Internship Programme aims to encourage university graduates to pursue a career in innovation and technology (I&T) and nurture more I&T talents. The Internship Programme consists of the following two sub-programmes:
1. Internship Programme (Innovation and Technology Fund) (“IP-ITF”)
2. Internship Programme (Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) and Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited) (“IP-SPC”)
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT CASH REBATE SCHEME
The Research and Development (R&D) Cash Rebate Scheme aims to reinforce the research culture among private companies and encourage them to establish stronger partnership with designated local public research institutions.
THE SOCIAL INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT FUND (SIE FUND)
The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund), as a catalyst for social innovation in Hong Kong, connects our community with different sectors, including businesses, NGOs, academics and philanthropies to create social impact through innovative solutions that address poverty and social exclusion. Mostly through intermediaries, the Fund provides visionary individuals and organisations with diverse resources in support of research, capacity building and the entire life cycle of innovative ventures, from idea incubation and seed funding to implementation and eventual scale-up. The ultimate goal is to foster an ecosystem where social entrepreneurs can thrive and innovative ideas, products and services can benefit society by meeting underserved needs, unleashing underutilised talents and more.
UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY COLLABORATION PROGRAMME (UICP)
UICP aims to stimulate private sector interest in R&D through leveraging the knowledge and resources of universities. The emphasis is on close collaboration between private companies and universities in Hong Kong. There are three schemes under this programme:
Teaching Company Scheme
Matching Grant for Joint Research
Industrial Research Chair Scheme
Social Innovation Funding Opportunities
SOCIAL INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT FUND (SIE FUND)
The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) connects the community with businesses, NGOs, academics and philanthropies to provide budding entrepreneurs with a wide range of resources to help them develop innovative ideas, products and services that serve unmet social needs. In FY 2015/16 the SIE Fund has provided funding to 25 ventures to help social entrepreneurs actualise their innovative ideas and their empathy for the underprivileged. Besides, an on-line platform has been built at the Fund’s website to share stories of “HK social innovators” with the aim of inspiring more visionary persons to start their own ventures.
IP MANAGER TRAINING PROGRAMME
Nowadays, intellectual property (IP) is recognised as a key element in business development. The IP Manager Training Programme aims to build up the manpower capacity in the businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to adopt good IP management into their overall business strategy and practice.
Those who participate in the training programme will gain a good basic understanding of IP management and will help your enterprise to:
- Enhance awareness of IP protection in your enterprise
- Fully exploit the creative potential of your enterprise
- Proactively protect your enterprise’s IP from infringement
- Liberate the value of your enterprise’s IP assets for trading or seeking investment
- Enhance your enterprise’s competitiveness
The two-day training programme will be delivered by local IP experts. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion of training.
NEW TECHNOLOGY TRAINING SCHEME (NTTS)
It aims to provide assistance to companies that wish to have their staff trained in a new technology that would be useful to their business. New technologies include those which are not widely applied in Hong Kong and the absorption and application of which will significantly benefit Hong Kong.