Student business plan wins with CityU technology

Michael Gibb

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A Year 2 scholarship student from the Department of Economics and Finance has performed strongly in a local entrepreneur competition in which he and his team submitted a business plan based around the use of chemo-sensors that draw on technologies developed at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

Ralph Tigoumo, who is the Business Development Director of the start-up Inno-Chemos, received HK$100,000 for coming third in the 2013 HKUST One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition.

“Our mission is to provide platforms for innovative testing solutions which can make testing more efficient, economical and accurate, thus enhancing the safety of consumer products and protecting human health and the environment,” said Ralph, who is originally from the Republic of Cameroon, and who spent one year studying Putonghua in Xi’an prior to taking up the offer of a scholarship to study Quantitative Finance and Risk Management at CityU. He is fluent in Putonghua and Cantonese.

The team, which includes two other directors, one of whom is Ralph’s sister who is also an undergraduate student in Hong Kong, were looking for technology that would enable them to help tackle one of society’s most pressing challenges: consumer product safety. 

“We searched for technologies that aligned with our mission and held the potential to help us fulfill our broader vision to make the Earth a safer and more sustainable place to live,” he said.

Inno-chemos plans to use innovative chemosensor technology developed by two renowned CityU professors who, together with other industry professionals and entrepreneurs will join the team.

“Our innovative solution is the use of chemosensors in high throughput kits to test a sample substance, usually the consumer product being analysed, for any toxic substances or molecules,” Ralph added.

The team will focus on the Hong Kong and mainland market in the first two years, Ralph said, before expanding to other countries in Asia, Europe and in North America starting from 2017.

“After graduating next year, we plan to work full-time on commercialising this innovative technology, and work on other entrepreneurial projects that also promise to benefit society,” Ralph said.

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