Would the use of intermediaries in processing applications for the SIE Fund lead to conflict of interest?

We are fully aware of the issue of potential conflict of interest in engaging intermediaries for the processing and selection of projects for funding. A proper selection framework together with a sound control and governance mechanism for the engagement and management of intermediaries will be put in place. We will monitor the performance of the intermediaries to ensure that the processing of applications is fair and open. No conflicts of interests would be allowed.

Since profit-making organisations are eligible to apply for the Fund, how to ensure that this type of successful applicants will effectively use the public fund for achieving the Fund's objectives and to avoid abuse?

Various control measures will be put in place to ensure that project proponents, no matter they are not-for-profit or profit-making organisations, will effectively use the SIE Fund for achieving the Fund's objectives and to avoid abuse.

In the evaluation and selection of projects to be funded, the Task Force or its delegate will ensure that the selected projects are in line with the Fund's objectives and that it is satisfied with, amongst other things, the expected social impacts brought about by the projects.

A successful project proponent will be required to propose its corporate governance plan for the endorsement of the Task Force or its delegate. The endorsed corporate governance plan will form part of the contractual agreement between a successful project proponent and the Task Force. For profit-making organisations, we may consider setting a ceiling on the percentage of profits that could be distributed to the shareholders. The undistributed profits should be re-invested in the services/ projects supported by the Fund for addressing poverty issues in Hong Kong.

Throughout the contractual period, a project proponent is required to submit reports and audited accounts regularly to demonstrate the effective use of the funds to meet the Fund's objectives.

How could the SIE Fund prevent itself from being abused?

We would put in place mechanisms to safeguard the prudent use of public money. Establishing transparent, objective and consistent Key Performance Indicators and effective evaluation mechanisms are some of the measures that may be used.

How to assess whether the SIE Fund is successful or not?

The Task Force has agreed that the evaluation will be conducted at three levels, i.e. the overall impact of the SIE Fund, the effectiveness of intermediaries and the impact of individual projects. A fair, impartial and consistent evaluation mechanism will be designed. In any event, given that the prime focus of the SIE Fund is to support social innovation and nurture social entrepreneurship, it should be emphasised that the effectiveness of the SIE Fund should be assessed both from financial and non-financial perspectives.

How can I participate in social innovation?

You can help promote social innovation and entrepreneurship by spreading our messages and the information about the SIE Fund to other stakeholders in the sector to which you belong. Depending on one's interest, expertise and experience, he or she can participate in social innovation by taking up different roles, such as –

  • an innovator who generates innovative ideas for addressing social issues;
  • a social innovation implementer who implements social innovation initiatives;
  • a mentor, incubator or adviser to help nurture innovation and entrepreneurship by building the capacity of social entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs and/or building the network to support them; or
  • an impact investor or a sponsor who provides financial support on social innovation projects or related capacity building work, etc.

You may network with and partner with other stakeholders within and outside your own sector to embark on the above work through collaboration.