All semester long, the students of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) learned about how social innovation and social entrepreneurship can address society’s problems. Outside the classroom, these brilliant individuals have formed teams to work tirelessly as consultants alongside the social businesses they chose to partner with. Some have taken field trips to understand the ultimate beneficiaries they wanted to serve; others have applied design thinking principles in delivering their recommendations.
Last week, on consecutive evenings at HKUST and CUHK, the student teams passionately delivered their pitch presentations to panels of industry experts. The students then took on the role of funders themselves, evaluating the presentations of their fellow student teams and helping to decide where two separate grants of HK$250,000 would go.
Now the heavy lifting is done.
Tonight was an unprecedented celebration, as students and stakeholders from both universities came together to celebrate the hard work and collaborations for the good of Hong Kong society. In a truly cross-sector event, representatives from government, corporate, non-profit, social enterprise all mingled, laughed and broke bread together (figuratively, since the cuisine of the evening was Shanghainese!)
The two winning social enterprises were MakerBay from HKUST and Easycare from CUHK. Both were ecstatic about winning their Big Cheques, but secretly wondering how they would cash them in!
All of the student teams and social entrepreneurs all shared their experiences with the room, gave their thanks and hugged each other after such a rewarding journey. Tears and fond farewells marked the end of old collaborations, while smiles and hopeful handshakes began new ones.
What an amazing way to end the term!