Posted by: bevmeldrum | October 18, 2007

Social Enterprise in Hong Kong

Back in 2006 I met Jessica Tam, from The Hong Kong Council of Social Services at a social enterprise conference in Atlanta, US. She was attending the conference with a number of social entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, most of whom were running existing NGOs that were looking to develop social enterprise activity. They were attending the conference to find out how social enterprise worked in the US and other countries.

The Hong Kong Council of Social Services supports NGOs in Hong Kong by providing capacity building support, networking opportunities, working with the NGOs to deliver new services and improve existing ones and acting as a bridge between government and the business sector. In 2006 they established the Social Enterprise Resource Centre – a one-stop shop for NGOs looking to develop social businesses.

In June 2006, the government produced a social enterprise action plan – one interesting idea that was included was a TV series on social enterprise development in Hong Kong and overseas that was shown on television across a three month period.

Over the last few months I have noticed a lot about social enterprise in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Council of Social Service’s Institute is running its second Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship which starts this month. Also, this year saw the Social Enterprise Challenge being run by The Chinese University of Hong Kong. This was a business planning competition for teams of university students who were challenged to create a viable business plan for a social enterprise. This year’s winners were Hand-by-Hand Laundry and Plandol Catering.

Also in the news recently was the Chief Executive of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government who gave his policy address for 2007-08 and mentioned social enterprise as an opportunity for businesses to get involved in the improvement of welfare services. The government are also in the process of putting together a booklet on social enterprise that will include case studies on successful social enterprises in Hong Kong and abroad.

At The Tool Factory we have also been talking with professionals about creating a version of our Business Plan Writer for social entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. It seems that a lot in going on and it will be very interesting to keep an eye on how social enterprise as a concept develops in Hong Kong.

I think there is great value in learning from each other’s experiences. By it’s nature social entrepreneurship is creative and a flexible approach adapting to its environment and the culture that it is in. And the more I see social entrepreneurship working in different settings the more I am inspired to look for new opportunities to use it to address the needs in our own communities.

How about a prime time series on how social entrepreneurs are bringing change to our communities. Enough of the negativity of all the problems our communities are facing why not instead, create a series that will inspire a new generation of social entrepreneurs.

At The Tool Factory, what we want to see is for social enterprise and being a social entrepreneur to be as common as mainstream business. For everyone, to know what a social entrepreneur is and for social enterprise to just be the normal way of doing things – why set up a mainstream business, when instead you could be having a positive impact on your community. It’s just common sense.

Some interesting links if you want to know more:

Hong Kong Council of Social Services –
HKCSS Institute –
Social Enterprise Challenge 2007 –
Commission on Poverty –



  1. […] came across this post – Social <b>Enterprise</b> in Hong Kong – and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you find it interesting too and take the time to read […]

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