Deepening divides demand new responses
In Hong Kong today some are enjoying opportunity and prosperity but others are finding it increasingly difficult to find security and prospects for themselves and their families. While traditional measures can provide a safety net that alleviates hardship, finding new ways to restore opportunity to those who now find themselves left behind socially or economically makes good sense. Learning how to create new patterns of business and social engagement that allow ever more of the people who make up this city to contribute their own ideas and energy to the common wealth of the community is vital as new technology changes the nature of the world in which we live.
Social innovation comes on stage
Social innovation – the creation of new products and services that create social value and meet changing social need – is not itself a new idea, but the stresses of modern societies have recalled it to the minds of men and women around the world who are concerned to see their communities growing happily together. In Hong Kong, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, academics, NGOs and government agencies have also been turning their thoughts and efforts to the creation of new business models that can help to keep this city growing as a successful community that gives hope and prospect to all its members.
The SIE Fund sets sail
With the objective to further nurture social entrepreneurship and innovation in Hong Kong, the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) was announced in late 2012. A task force has been set up under the Commission on Poverty to oversee how the $500 million fund is used. The SIE Fund aims to stimulate cross-sector collaboration, sharing learning and experience, guiding resources to groom and coach entrepreneurs, incubating and implementing new ideas, with the expectation that some of these will lead to new, sustainable businesses that help tackle poverty and social exclusion in the community.