Kenny Cheung's Posts

Enter Goldman

On a bright and lovely Sunday, just a few days out from the final pitch night, our HKUST Spring 2017 students and Social Venture Partners were blessed with the opportunity to visit the Goldman Sachs HK office, to work out the final kinks in their presentations with 16 Goldman Sachs volunteers. The volunteers are part of the Community TeamWorks program, and come from different departments across GS, offering valuable insights from a variety of perspectives to our social entrepreneurs and budding changemakers.

Amidst a backdrop of stunning 360 views of Hong Kong’s stunning landscape, the teams went through a full day of mock pitches and discussions, as the GS volunteers dissected every last detail of their business plans, strategies, funding models and pitching performances.

The feedback from all parties has been overwhelmingly positive, and we hope to continue such meaningful engagements going forward. Now the teams must scramble to incorporate all of the great advice and revamp their presentations for this week’s Funding Committee Meeting.

We’re taking things to a higher level (literally and metaphorically!)

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Our feature in The Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Stanford Social Innovation Review has published a special supplement on Social Innovation and Social Transformation in East Asia, that “examines the different ways that social innovation is evolving in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan, as a result of each country’s unique history, culture, and political-economic system.”

The Yeh Family Philanthropy was asked by our friends at Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation to contribute an article about the Nurturing Social Minds programme in Hong Kong, so that the lessons learned from the tripartite partnership between foundation, government and universities can be shared with practitioners elsewhere.

It is an honor to be able to tell our story to a global audience.

Link to the story here.

 

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A Tale of Two Universities

 

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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!

 

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We have a new University Partner!

Nurturing Social Minds is excited to announce our new partnership with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School!

Under the partnership, CUHK Business School will develop and deliver a new course on social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy for its students. The course will be launched this fall and begin student enrollment this summer.

The course welcomes students from CUHK Business School’s MBA, master’s and undergraduate programs to join. The course will be co-taught by Prof. Kevin Au along with a dedicated teaching team.

In addition to lectures, CUHK Business School students will be learning from pioneers and practitioners from the field of social innovation, both in Hong Kong and internationally. There will be valuable opportunities for networking with high-level executives from corporates, foundations and government. Students will work in teams as consultants for curated social enterprises that have already proven their concept, to help scale up operations. The student teams will then be pitching on behalf of their social venture partner for HK$250,000 in grant funding from The Yeh Family Philanthropy.

 

 

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TVB Feature of Snapask

This evening, TVB’s Money Magazine did a feature on startups in Hong Kong, highlighting the struggles that startups face…for every success story there are nine stories of failure.

For the feature, TVB interviewed Timothy Yu, founder of Snapask and one of our Social Venture Partners for Spring 2015. Find out more about Timothy’s entrepreneurial journey in the links below!

Also featured is our good friend from Good Seed, Raymond Chu.

 

You can find an online version of the entire show here, or download the feature here.

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“Work puts skills to use”

The Education Post has recently published an informative article on Nurturing Social Minds, noting that YFP is looking to “change the paradigm”:

 

Launched initially in 2013 as a two-year pilot programme, the current intake is capped at 25 per class. This may increase and, subject to further discussions, the concept may also be extended to other local universities.  
 
In part, this reflects a growing interest on campuses and in the wider community in the work of social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy. It would also allow YFP to continue “building capacity” in line with its stated mission of promoting education and assisting a range of organisations dedicated to finding innovative or preventive solutions to social and environmental problems. 

A key element of the course sees students going out to work with pre-selected social ventures, with the expectation that they “get their hands dirty”. The participating organisations focus on schemes like barrier-free schooling for individuals who are wheelchair-bound or hearing-impaired, improving care for the elderly and encouraging children from better off families to ask for a donation to charity in lieu of an overpriced birthday present.

 

You can find the full article here.

 

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Website Up and Running!

With a little inception amidst a flurry of activity, Nurturing Social Minds launched its website today.

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HK Economic Journal Interviews Yvette

The chief architect behind Nurturing Social Minds (“NSM”) and Chair of The Yeh Family Philanthropy, Yvette Yeh Fung, normally keeps a very low profile. To support the launch of the NSM Programme however, Yvette has done a series of interviews with media publications around the city. The Hong Kong Economic Journal today released an endearing article profiling Yvette, discussing not only the Programme itself, but also delving further into the mind of this modern-day philanthropist.

(full text in Chinese)


林艷虹 訪談錄

新昌集團家族成員馮葉儀皓

心繫教育 默默育人

When I was small and Christmas trees were tall, we used to love while others used to play…….,Bee Gees名曲First of May無論令你想起《記得香蕉成熟時》的陳堅抑或《兩小無猜》的Melody,這些回憶都屬於六十年代出生、七十年代的學生哥。

Bee Gees很多歌曲都簡單易唱,意境深遠,是新昌國際集團有限公司董事馮葉儀皓的青春之歌。一如大多數音樂家抗拒被稱作音樂神童,生於大富之家的馮葉儀皓也不願被視作千金小姐,正低調地搞慈善教育的她,更自言和普羅大眾一樣,都是聽Bee Gees、Air Supply、溫拿的歌和看《陸小鳳》、《倚天屠龍記》長大的人。

「我比較貪玩,是個不聽話、上課愛說話的女孩。」馮葉儀皓一頭短髮很清爽,穿上款式簡約的束腰連身裙做訪問時,總是笑面迎人,說話時會望着對方的眼睛,絕沒有嬌生慣養的大小姐的氣焰。

「烏烏吓」是她訪問時經常掛在口邊的三個字。「記得小時候請老師教彈琴、唱歌,可是我是零音樂細胞,唱歌走音,學鋼琴不成,老師跟我媽媽說不如慳番啲錢!」

提起糗事她毫不介意,更忍不住連打幾個哈哈自嘲:「想不到是老師炒我魷魚!」她笑稱慶幸兩個女兒遺傳了丈夫的優良音樂細胞,從小便很享受音樂。

葉氏家族在香港很有名,馮葉儀皓父親葉謀遵是香港老牌建築公司新昌集團主席,曾任香港期貨交易所主席,對本地建築及金融界貢獻良多。其兄長是惠理基金創辦人之一、有「金錢之王」之稱的葉維義,父兄名字響噹噹,她則為人低調。

爸爸教曉生意王道

馮葉儀皓的故事放在今天,應會被說成「贏在起跑線上」。畢業於拔萃女書院,後往美國史丹佛大學及洛杉磯加州大學深造,分別獲取文學學士學位、法律博士學位及工商管理碩士學位。名校出身,曾任職律師超過十年,自然被歸類為社會精英。她卻謙稱:「我從來沒有職場計劃,大學選科是盲摸摸、烏烏吓闖出來。那時人人都讀business,於是我便讀business,之後進修法律,發現自己幾喜歡這一科,畢業後順理成章在美國找到一份相關的律師事務所工作,不是做大狀打官司,而是負責做deal。我覺得幾有興趣,便一直做下去。」

1998年亞洲金融風暴,對香港帶來巨大衝擊,爸爸着她回來打理家族企業,於是她放下律師身份,加入新昌集團,投身物業管理範疇。「當時自己什麼都不懂。」她因為一竅不通,就加倍努力學習、發問和嘗試。

「爸爸的做人處事及工作態度,對我影響很深。作為企業老闆,他教曉我一個人即使如何聰明,誠信才最王道。作為父親也會管教嚴格,但他大多時候會讓孩子自由作出決定,但你必須有合理理由。」父母的開明和信任,給孩子一個自由發展的空間,也是愛的一種方式。

有些家長管教嚴厲,不讓子女看電視、玩遊戲機,一味催促子女溫書、補習,往往適得其反。生於富裕家族,馮葉儀皓童年生活是愜意的,在娛樂少、電視的黃金年代,劉松仁版的《陸小鳳》、鄭少秋版的《倚天屠龍記》等經典劇集陪伴她成長。

回望中學青葱歲月,也是她人生中的珍貴日子。「同學關係很親密,相處很愉快,有些很乖,有些很曳,但曳不是飲酒食煙那種,而是調皮。我們每五年舉辦一次reunion,一班120人,都有60人出席,即使在外國住了多年也回來香港,這份友誼很難得。」

後來她到外國讀書,除了眼界大開,也學懂跟不同背景的人相處。「外國教育最大優點是增加與人接觸的機會,學會社交技巧,而不是上完課便一句拜拜就走。我們在宿舍一起居住,有些人你很喜歡,有些不喜歡,而且生活習慣不同,她習慣八點睡而你又喜愛遲睡,如何與人相處呢?這些經驗對我成長過程很重要。」

最近,有朋友送她一本《時代》雜誌記者Amanda Ripley撰寫的The Smartest Kids in the World,講述作者跟隨三個十多歲的高中生分別去到芬蘭、南韓和波蘭進行學習和生活,通過對他們的觀察,分析不同國家的教學體系、家教及態度如何培育小孩子,她覺得故事引人入勝。

「美國的大學常在全球大學排名名列前茅,但美國人會投訴public school制度不好。韓國和多數亞洲國家一樣,家長大灑金錢為子女補習,韓國孩子要補習至凌晨十二時,不同教育制度總會有正反兩面。」

教女兒以禮待傭人

她在1991年結婚,與丈夫育有兩女,長女二十歲,細女十三歲,都在國際學校讀書,接受小班教育,功課不多,但要做很多課堂報告和討論。「有些家長可能投訴國際學校的數學唔得、中文唔得,不如送他們去DGS、St. Paul這些中文出色的學校,但DGS的家長又會投訴傳統學校太多考試……」她認為沒有一個教育制度百分百完美,作為家長的倒不如認清小朋友的個性,作出適當選擇。

談及教女之道,她說無特別心得。「你永遠不會知道是否做得正確,直到你七十歲。」她深信每個人都有自身要走的路,自己的一套未必適用於子女,相對於期望兒女出人頭地,她更要求孩子有好品格。

「我們一家人都是基督徒,父母從小教導我們要尊重其他人。對於兩個女兒,我的堅持一樣。在街上看見別的小朋友對家傭無禮貌,我告訴她們絕不能如此對工人,這是對人的基本尊重,工人和我們一樣都是人,不是second class。」

她認為父母一定要以身作則,方能為子女樹立良好的榜樣,否則所有大道理只會淪為空談。她自言是很幸運的人,能在最好的學校接受教育,她還說如果這個世界不再將人分階級貴賤,能將自己所學和天賦投入每個微小而重要的事情上,那便好。

作為葉氏家族慈善機構主席,她自2013年起支持香港科技大學商學院開辦 「公益創業及慈善創投」課程。科技大學商學院院長邢吉天表示:「這是帶學分選修科,讓學生可與社企及慈善基金合作,運用商業知識和技巧,協助社企推動業務持續發展。同時為學生提供機會,從投資者角度深入了解公益創業及慈善創投,透過參與課程的社企,與從事公益創業的專業人士直接交流接觸,了解行內和社會的實際需要。」

訓練後輩運用基金

社會企業透過商業的模式來解決社會的問題,營運的目的不是賺最大的利潤,而是解決社會問題。獲利扣除投資成本之後,再投入擴大經營,追求永續發展。馮葉儀皓指香港有不少出色社企經營茶餐廳、長者服務等。「很多年輕人放假到沙灘執垃圾、幫老人院維修等,每件事都有意義。當這班大學生看到社會那麼多有心人,體會箇中熱情,將來畢業無論是投身大公司抑或想當社企創業家,同樣燃起他們的興趣,繼續關心社會,而不是一心只想賺錢。」

早在八十年代,葉氏家族已成立「新昌──葉庚年教育基金」,接手基金實際事務的馮葉儀皓笑言不能「只出錢」,更要「出力」。「我們不想捐了錢就算數,而是想知資助目的是否達到?資助者之後如何?」

為確保有正確的管治架構,葉氏家族慈善機構設立撥款委員會,評估所有撥款申請及一個包括少數家族成員的獨立董事會。她笑言2013年才真正運作,是baby organization。「尤其是教育項目,今年做的需要五六年後才知成果。」

是否很多人敲門?「我們較低調,有網站但宣傳不多。無論做什麼,我認為理念要清晰,曾有人找長者服務資助,與我們主力教育方向不一致,無辦法也得拒絕。做慈善不同做生意,做生意有競爭,有客來就要攬住個客。但做慈善如果我們辦不到,知有其他慈善機構感興趣,我們能做的是轉介。」

她與坊間不同的家族慈善基金團體也有交流:「不只香港,全世界有很多問題,貧困、失學……需要慈善基金,很多資源可以重疊,大家有經驗可以分享,不是你有你做,我有我做。」葉氏家族亦鼓勵年輕一代參與慈善,馮葉儀皓的大女和其兄長的女兒是家族基金會成員,每年獲分5萬港元,她們可向一至兩個組織撥款,唯必須向家族撥款委員會遞交計劃書,陳述申請組織的情況,藉此發掘她們有興趣的社會議題。

錢不是萬能,買不到真感情和回憶,但能夠燃起社會有需要的人的希望。馮葉儀皓讓人感受到企業家對教育的一份熱心與決心。

撰文:林艷虹

攝影:陳縱宇

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Official Programme Launch!

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The Yeh Family Philanthropy Limited (“YFP”) announced the launch of Nurturing Social Minds (“NSM”), an innovative programme designed to provide a hands-on action learning experience in social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy. NSM was conceived by YFP in partnership with the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and successfully piloted for two years. YFP is delighted to be an intermediary of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (“SIE Fund”) and have the opportunity to scale NSM into nine courses at two tertiary institutions in Hong Kong over three years.

Each course integrates classroom learning with real life experience by creating an environment that requires students to engage in conversations and activities beyond their “institutional bubble.” From the first class, students in different disciplines are asked to work together in teams with a local social venture (“SV”). In addition to learning about theories and case studies on venture philanthropy, impact investments and social entrepreneurship, they will have access to international and local practitioners. Concurrently, students are working in teams with the SVs, helping them identify their strategic needs and develop a proposal to obtain YFP’s catalytic grant.

Through this process, the students not only act as business consultants but also as venture philanthropists. They play a critical role in determining which of the SVs receives the $250,000 funding when they act as judges, along with a panel of outside experts, in evaluating the proposals.CS_Lecturn

The official launch, held at the offices of UBS AG at Two IFC, was attended by students of the programme along with representatives from government, business, academia, the non-profit sector, philanthropic foundations and the social innovation sector. The Guest of Honor was the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs. Carrie Lam, GBS, JP. Addressing the students assembled, Mrs. Lam remarked, “I can see your passion and enthusiasm to bring about good impact for society. I am sure the programme has equipped you with the knowledge, insight and hands-on experience to help you create new social businesses, inspire and change existing businesses, and help charities and NGOs build more self-sustaining and adaptable services that continue to meet the changing needs of Hong Kong’s complex society in the years ahead.”

Other officiating guests included Dr. Joseph Lee, Vice-chairperson of the SIE Fund, and Mrs. Yvette Yeh Fung, Chair of YFP. Dr. Lee remarked, “Nurturing Social Minds brings into focus the social impact and responsibility of business and the opportunity to use business skills to create greater social impact while building sustainable and innovative businesses.”

Mrs. Fung expressed, “I am excited because the HK government has taken the lead by starting an initiative that fosters collaboration and creates a platform for cross-sector learning. I am excited because I have seen the curiosity and enthusiasm of our students and their eagerness to use their creativity and their knowledge to address social issues. But I am most excited because I have met our passionate and dedicated social entrepreneurs. Through their vision and actions, they have lit a fire under our students, opened their hearts and minds and moved them from observers to doers.”

Professor Jitendra V Singh, Dean of the HKUST Business School, also shared his remarks with the assembly, speaking meaningfully about how both businesses and universities, at their roots, were social institutions. He stated, “I hope our students will continue to make full use of the opportunities offered by the Social Entrepreneurship and Venture Philanthropy course to develop a caring mindset and learn to be a responsible corporate citizen.  It is a great honor to our school to pioneer this new teaching model in Hong Kong. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the generous support from the Yeh Family Philanthropy and the active participation from social enterprises.”  

The team that won this year represented Twopresents, an online party invitation and fundraising platform that allows children to turn their birthday parties into an opportunity to donate to their chosen charity. Twopresents founders Karola Szovati, Svetlana Kumanova and Shirin Staerkle took centre stage with their student team during the ceremony, passionately sharing their experiences and lessons from participating in the course. A Big Cheque for $250,000 was presented to the winning team by the officiating guests.

Sunny Um, an MBA student from HKUST enthusiastically shared her views. “One lesson we learned from this course is that ‘every business should be a social enterprise.’ In fact, this now seems like common sense but we often forget. Whatever career path I take, I will always remember the lessons from this course.”

 

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Dean of the HKUST Business School, Professor Jitendra V Singh addresses the guests and members of the press in attendance

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Svetlana Kumanova and her team from Twopresents share their experiences as a social venture partner of the programme

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 The officiating guests Mrs. Carrie Lam, Dr. Joseph Lee and Mrs. Yvette Yeh Fung present Twopresents and their student team with a Big Cheque for $250,000

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Funding Committee Meeting

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Tonight was the climax of Nurturing Social Minds, also known as HKUST’s Social Entrepreneurship and Venture Philanthropy (SEVP) course. Four student teams got ready to deliver pitches before the room. Besides the usual classmates and audit students, in the front row sat an independent panel of judges. They mingled with each other while the students nervously focused on their final preparations. You could tell who was presenting, because they wore suits and ties.  The social venture partners all came out to provide moral support for their teams, but they wouldn’t be presenting themselves. They sat at the back along with the other observers: the representatives from the SIE Fund and YFP, along with alumni from last year. Two video cameras perched on the back table – one recording the presenter, the other recording the slides.

Everybody was watching.

In front of this packed audience, the student teams delivered their pitches like true professionals, poised and persuasive. They each told the story of their respective social venture partner. Illustrating the problem that this business was solving, measuring the impact on society and the soundness of the business model. Then they argued their case for why the $250,000 should go to them.

Each team had 10 minutes to deliver their pitch, which was more than enough. This was followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from the floor. There ended up being a lot of questions, both from the judges and the students. The judges were brutally honest, dissecting the business models, and scrutinizing the funding plans the lenses of experience.  Those students who weren’t presenting helped their team by quizzing the other teams, questioning their assumptions to try and expose a flaw. This was where they jockeyed for position.

For every pitch, the judges filled out a scoresheet, and so did the students. On a scale from 0-100, each business was rated on:

  • Concept
  • Market Readiness
  • Management Team Composition
  • Impact & Value
  • Sustainability

 

BFSTeam

The team representing Barrier Free Schools went first

AceTeam

Followed by Ace Hearing’s team

AppeduTeam

The Snapask team presented next

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Last but not least was the team from Twopresents

 

The votes were tallied by 3 independent student volunteers from HKUST, who were otherwise not participating in the course. While this was occurring, an inspired talk was given to the students by Dr. Alice Yuk, one of the esteemed judges and Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises.

In the end, the results were close but clear. The winner of the $250,000 catalytic grant capital from YFP was Twopresents, followed closely by Barrier Free School.

The founders of Twopresents were shocked by the results, but recovered their composure quickly and profusely thanked their student team for representing them so well. In fact, it was clear that a bond had been forged between the students and their social venture partners.

Regardless of who won, it was clear that the students had put a lot of hard work in, and everyone did a magnificent job. They had learned a lot from their social entrepreneur counterparts, but they also taught the social entrepreneurs a few things about their own businesses!

cheers

Celebrating the good old fashioned way

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