A helping hand to small business

Karen Lai

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CityU's College of Higher Vocational Studies has teamed up with the Chinese Manufacturers' Association to help Hong Kong's small and medium-sized enterprises cope with the challenges of the new economy.

The institutions have joined forces to establish the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development, a not-for-profit corporation that will support local SMEs in business profiling and consulting, and in providing learning facilities.

"The aim of the Centre is to establish benchmarks for different businesses and enterprises, to provide consultancy and training to help SMEs solve their specific problems, and to develop degree and lifelong learning programmes for SMEs," said Professor Richard Ho, Joint Chairman of the Centre and Provost of the College of Higher Vocational Studies.

Added Chan Wing Kee, President of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong: "Hong Kong companies must press ahead with the build-up of human capital and embrace state-of-the-art managerial skills."

The Centre is supportive of government policy on SMEs. The Hong Kong Government has plans to establish four funding schemes, with an expected maximum expenditure of $1.9 billion, to support SMEs. One such funding scheme is the SME Training Fund, which will cost $400 million. It will be launched January next year to provide financial support to SMEs.

"Combining the expertise and knowledge of academics and industrial leaders to provide high quality services and training to entrepreneurs, the Centre is a good initiative to help SMEs," said Chau Tak Hay, Secretary for Commerce and Industry, who officiated the launch of the Centre on 11 December.

With its expertise in the industrial sector, the Centre will provide consultancy services, work placement, organize talks by industrial speakers, and provide regular updating of industrial demands. The Centre also plans to launch academic programmes to promote entrepreneurship among the younger generation as well as the working population. The first one will be a six-month diploma programme to be launched in March next year. It aims to train middle managers and to-be-retired executives to map out new plans or start their own business in face of the economic change. Full-time academic programmes in entrepreneurship and related business management areas will also be launched.



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