Knowledge Transfer Office

CityU Innopreneurship Ecosystem
A Complete Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for CityU Community

Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business, typically a start-up company offering an innovative product or service. Under the CityU Innopreneurship Ecosystem which includes government and university programs, CityU entrepreneurs gain comprehensive support in all stages of the entrepreneurial pursuits on:
1) entrepreneurship education and training (Innovation Commons); 
2) physical space for entrepreneurial start-ups (CityU-HKSTP Incubator Scheme); and 
3) financial schemes from early stage, mid-stage to late-stage supported by SEEDS, TSSSU, and CityUE Investment Fund respectively.

1) Innovation Commons
Where Entrepreneurial Resources and Tools are Introduced

Anyone can start a business with sufficient passion and desire, however to be a successful entrepreneur means a lot more - it involves ongoing learning with the right tools, skills and resources at different stages. Therefore, Innovation Commons is set up to make such resources accessible to CityU entrepreneurs, from conceptualization to formation stage of their start-ups.

Innovation Commons is a one-stop resource centre for CityU community. It is jointly established by the Library, Office of Education Development and Gateway Education, School of Law, and Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), under the financial support of the Office of Provost in September 2014. Resources and tools are widely opened to give to all CityU members, who can receive consultation on entrepreneurship-related issues, create mentor network, improve IP strategy and business concepts, and learn to raise money via government and private funding sources.

Innovation Commons also encourages a campus-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem - it helps students form cross-disciplinary teams to prepare for competitions in which they put what they have learnt into practice. For example, many projects from CityU Apps Lab, where students can acquire and implement practical skills on mobile application development, are brought to Innovation Commons for idea exchange and partner search. As a result, many of CityU teams went on to win competitions for business plans and government-funded venture programmes.

2) CityU-HKSTP Incubator Scheme
Joint Incubation Scheme by CityU and HKSTP to nurture Start-ups

This is a joint incubation programme with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP), such that teams that are incubated by CityU while passing all the requirement and admission processes of HKSTP's incubation programmes, will be treated the same as HKSTP’s incubated companies, enjoying a list of value added services including business development and fund raising, along with the HKSTP’s financial subsidies. In addition, HKSTP’s Incubation Centre at Shatin, as well as facilities at InnoCentre on Tat Chee Avenue, which are expected to be completed by Q2 2016, will be made accessible by these teams, thereby enhancing our incubation capacity, where the start-up companies can grow into their maturity in a nurturing environment.

3) Funding Schemes for CityU Entrepreneurs
Financial Resources plus Guidance Designed to Offer Seamless Assistance across Different Stages

The three funds aim to encourage and assist CityU entrepreneurs to materialize their business initiatives. They are designed specifically to offer funding support for 3 stages in a start-up’s early life, in a seamless and connected funding model.

  • Student Early Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (SEEDS) is to be launched in November 2015, it will fund the earliest stage idea validation, feasibility and marketing studies. The funds will be supported by the Provost Office for the first three years, with expected donations from outside to gradually become a larger funding source.
  • The Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU) was newly set up by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) in 2014 to provide funding support to encourage students, alumni and professors of local universities to start up technology businesses and commercialize their ideas at pre-seed stage. KTO has successfully administered two annual rounds of selection which benefited 16 companies with a total of $8 million. In the new entrepreneurial ecosystem, KTO will continue to execute this TSSSU program as the mid-stage funding mechanism, the timing of start-ups receiving TSSSU funding being after the SEEDS program but before the CityUE Investment Fund.
  • CityUE Investment Fund, a Venture-Capital-style investment mechanism, supports CityU spinoff companies in exchange for stock ownership. CityU Enterprises Limited (CityUE) is a subsidiary company of CityU to incubate research outputs of University staff, students and alumni. KTO has worked with CityUE leadership to offer unique VC investment funding by following leading investors into such investment opportunity in CityU related start-ups, thereby grooming stronger relationships with leading VC and angel investors so as to strengthen CityU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This program is fully endorsed by the CityUE board of directors, CityU finance committee, and is slated to be launched in November 2015.