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(Image designed by student of Hong Kong Design Institute) On the road to entrepreneurship you may come across to different kinds of challenges: which funding scheme is more suitable for me? How to avoid legal traps in business? No worries, the four consultation services below offer professional advice for free to all your queries about entrepreneurship. Support and Consultation Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises (SUCCESS) - "Meet-the-Advisors" Business Advisory Service SUCCESS provides business starters with not only information on setting up business in Hong Kong, but also free "Meet-the-Advisors" Business Advisory Service. Entrepreneurs encountering problems relating to the starting and running of a business can consult experts on their opinions. Youth Employment Start” (Y.E.S.) - Professional Consultation Service Y.E.S. is set up to provide one-stop employment and self-employment support services to young people aged between 15 and 29. To assist business members to tackle their business problems in legal and accounting fields, meetings with qualified lawyers and accountants will be arranged to obtain professional advice. Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) - SME ReachOut A dedicated service team entitled "SME ReachOut" would support startups through face-to-face meetings to help identify suitable funding schemes, while answering questions relating to applications. The goal is to enhance startup's understanding of the Government's funding schemes, with a view to encouraging better utilisation of the support provided by the Government. Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) SME Support - SME Advisory Service The HKTDC SME Advisory Service provides one-to-one free business advisory service, which covers a wide spectrum of areas such as tax issues, business law, operation of the letter of credit, up-to-date information for new business start-ups, logistics, branding strategy for cultural industry and e-commerce. Source: SUCCESS, Y.E.S., HKPC, HKTDC “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
One of the key factors of starting a business is capital. A detailed budget provides clarity to the capital needed, rate of return and payback period which would benefit your business planning. Let’s follow the steps below to plan your budget! 1st step: list out carefully the items required for entering and operating a business in the target industry, including company registration, rental cost of the store or office, interior renovation, operation facilities, raw materials, staff and liquidity etc.2nd step: estimate the cost and price of the required items. You may refer to the value of relevant consultants and persons with experience, or the relevant Market and Industry Profiles published by Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).3rd step: You may utilise the Budget Analysis Worksheet for Starting up Business provided by Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs (SUCCESS) to estimate the initial capital required, the relation between turnover and profitability, payback period, assets and liabilities; and factors that may affect financial position. (e.g. turnover, rent, profit margin, expenditures, inventory and credit period, etc.) Calculation of return and payback period Usually the rate of return and payback period will be calculated before investing for a business. Simply speaking, you may calculate with the net profit per month: If net profit per month = $20,000Total investment = $300,000Rate of return = net profit x 12 / total investment = $20,000 x 12/300,000 = 80%Payback period = 1/80% = 1.25 years Note: The net profit of an enterprise may generally be lower during opening period and reach the expected profit after a period of time. Thus the actual payback period may be longer than the calculation result. There are a wide variety of sources of financing such as personal savings, capitalising and loans. You may look up the funding scheme that suits you best with our Funding Schemes Finder, or check out more information on funding from Innovation and Technology Bureau, Brand Development and Promotion of the Trade and Industry Department, and the Hong Kong Productivity Council. Source: SUCCESS, GovHK, Youth Employment Start, HKTDC SME Centre, HKPC SME ReachOut “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
Is your startup going to recruit and prepare for launch? Let’s go through the seven common questions below and learn about the points to note when you are hiring and handling personal data. 1. How to ensure that the job seeker is lawfully employable? The law requires an employer to take all practical steps to ensure that the job seeker is lawfully employable. If the job seeker is not holding a Hong Kong permanent identity card, the law requires an employer to inspect the job seeker's valid travel document. 2. Can an employer collect copies of the identity cards of job applicants? Generally speaking, an employer must not collect a copy of the identity card of a job applicant during the recruitment process unless and until the individual has accepted an offer of employment. 3. Under what circumstances can job applicants be asked in a recruitment advertisement to submit personal data? An employer or recruitment agency who clearly indicates its identity may ask job applicants to submit personal data in a recruitment advertisement, provided that the data is adequate but not excessive in relation to the purpose of recruitment and is to be used lawfully. 4. Can an employer directly solicit personal data from job applicants if it merely uses its company email address, telephone number or fax number as a means of identifying itself in a recruitment advertisement? No. A company email address, telephone number or fax number by itself is generally not considered to be sufficient identification of the employer. If the employer does not wish to disclose its identity, it may simply provide a telephone number in the advertisement and indicate that the applicants can make further enquiries before submitting any personal data. 5. Should an employer provide, within a recruitment advertisement, a statement regarding the purpose for which the personal data submitted by job applicants will be used? Recruitment advertisements that directly ask job applicants to provide their personal data should include a statement, as an integral part of the advertisement, informing applicants about the purposes for which their personal data are to be used. Here is an example of such statement: "Personal data collected will be used for recruitment purposes only". 6. How long is an employer allowed to keep the personal data of unsuccessful job applicants? Personal data of unsuccessful applicants (for future recruitment purposes) can be retained for a period of up to two years from the date of rejecting the applicants, and must then be destroyed. 7. Must we obtain consent from an employee or ex-employee before giving an employment reference to another employer? Yes, you should obtain the prescribed consent from an employee or ex-employee (preferably in writing) as disclosure of the employee’s records (including performance assessment) to another person would constitute to a change in the purpose of use of the data. Source: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong - Understanding the Code of Practice on Human Resource Management Frequently Asked Questions About Recruitment Advertisements , Immigration Department “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
You may come across with various legal matters, such as company registration, licensing, and Labour Legislation, during your entrepreneurship journey. To aviod possible labour disputes, we have gathered ten questions and answers regarding labour legislation for entrepreneurs: 1. Q: Are “temporary”, “part-time” and “substituted” employees covered by the Employment Ordinance? A: The Employment Ordinance does not differentiate between “temporary”, “part-time”, “substituted”, “permanent” and “full-time” employees. All employees covered by the Employment Ordinance, irrespective of their designated job titles or working hours, are entitled to statutory rights and protection such as wage payment, restriction on deductions from wages and granting of statutory holidays, etc. An employee who has been employed continuously by the same employer for four weeks or more, with at least 18 hours worked in each week is further entitled to rights such as rest days, annual leave with pay and sickness allowance, etc. (Click here to see the leaflet on “part-time employment”.) 2. Q: Which kind of employment contract, written or verbal, provides employers and employees with better protection? A: Under the Employment Ordinance, a contract of employment can be made orally or in writing. Employees’ rights and benefits are protected under the Ordinance irrespective of whether the employment contract is made verbally or in writing. The use of written employment contract may help employees better understand the terms of their employment, remind both employers and employees of their contractual obligations. Please see the Sample Employment Contract prepared by the Labour Department for your reference. 3. Q: How is minimum wage computed? A: Minimum wage = Total number of hours worked by the employee in the wage period × SMW rate (i.e. $37.5 per hour) 4. Q: What will be the consequences if an employer fails to pay wages on time? A: Wages should be paid not later than 7 days from the end of the wage period. An employer who fails to pay wages to an employee within 7 days after they become due is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$350,000 and to imprisonment for three years. 5. Q: Can an employer compel an employee to work 7 days in a week without granting him any rest days? A: No. An employee employed under a continuous contract is entitled to one rest day in every period of seven days. 6. Q: Should rest days be with pay or without pay? A: This term is to be agreed between an employer and an employee. 7. Q: Under what circumstances is an employee entitled to sickness allowance? A: An employee employed under a continuous contract is entitled to sickness allowance if: the sick leave taken is not less than four consecutive days (unless for any day off taken by a female employee for her pregnancy check-ups, post confinement medical treatment or miscarriage, any such day on which she is absent shall be counted as a sickness day and, subject to the following conditions, be paid sickness allowance); the sick leave is supported by an appropriate medical certificate*; and the employee has accumulated sufficient number of paid sickness days (Please read here for how the paid sickness days be accumulated) 8. Q: Can an employer make payment to an employee in lieu of annual leave? A: An employer should not include in an employment contract a term to forego all or any of his employee's annual leave entitlement, including payment of wages in lieu of any annual leave days. However, the law allows an employee to choose to accept payment in lieu of that part of his leave entitlement which exceeds 10 days. 9. Q: Can an employer require an employee to work on statutory holidays? A: Yes. An employer is required to give his employee at least 48 hours' prior notice for work on a statutory holiday. The employer must then arrange an alternative holiday within 60 days before or after the statutory holiday. 10. Q: Are employers obliged to take out employees' compensation insurance policies for all employees? A: According to section 40 of the Ordinance, no employer shall employ any employee in any employment unless there is in force a policy of insurance to cover his liabilities under the laws (including the common law) for injuries at work in respect of all his employees, irrespective of the length of employment contract or working hours, full-time or part-time employment. An employer who fails to comply with the Ordinance to secure an insurance cover is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for two years. For further information on Labour Legislation, please refer to Frequently Ask Questions of the Labour Department. Source: Labour Department “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
Young people may have questions and doubts in exploring the career pathway: should I start a business? Can I handle it? Which industry is suitable for me? The three quiz tools below provide further references for your better understanding in your strengths and potentials before starting a business. 1. Y.E.S. Services – Career Assessment Kit Professor WONG Chi-sum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong has developed a comprehensive career assessment kit which includes Big-Five Personality Scale, Career Maturity Scale, Entrepreneurship Potential and more. You may try it for free. 2. Employee’s Retraining Board - Training and Career Needs Test The test is designed with reference to the Self-Directed Search (SDS) assessment tool developed by John Holland, which briefly classifies both people and working environment according to six basic types. You may have a preliminary understanding of your career aspirations and select a suitable field for entrepreneurship and relevant training courses. 3. Talent.gov.hk – Career Quizzes There are three career quizzes are provided by the Talent.gov.hk: Skill-Career Quiz, Interest-Career Quiz and the Background-Career Quiz. Through answering a series of simple questions regarding your interests, strengths, education, and experiences, you may get insights on the entrepreneurship direction that suit you the most. Source: Y.E.S. Services, Employee’s Retraining Board, Talent.gov.hk “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
Application for various licences is one of the essential preparations for starting a new business. See the information below of some basic licences required: 1. Registration of a New Company A new company is required to complete its company registration at the Companies Registry and obtain a Certificate of Incorporation. The legal liability varies among different types of companies. For example, a limited company must comply with the various provisions in the Companies Ordinance (Chapter 622 of the Laws of Hong Kong) which include the timely disclosure and reporting of specified information about the company, its officers and shareholders, etc. and any changes in such information to the Registrar of Companies so that members of the public can have ready access to the latest information of the company kept by the Registrar of Companies. It simply takes three steps and HK$1720 to register a new company. You may choose to submit you application either electronically through our "e-Registry" or by delivering the documents in hard copy to the CR with the correct fees. Please refer to the website of Companies Registry or Incorporation of a Local Limited Company for further information. 2. Business Registration The Business Registration Ordinance requires every person who carries on a business in Hong Kong to apply for business registration within 1 month from the date of commencement of the business, and to display a valid Business Registration Certificate at the place of business. Under the one-stop company and business registration service, you will be deemed to have made a business registration application at the same time you deliver an application for incorporation of a local company or an application for registration of a non-Hong Kong company. The Companies Registry will issue the Certificate of Incorporation (or the Certificate of Registration of Non-Hong Kong Company) and the Business Registration Certificate in one go if the application is successful. Other businesses have to register with the Inland Revenue Department within one month of business commencement. Check out the website of Inland Revenue Department for further information and fees on Businesses Registration. 3. Particular Business Licence You may need particular licences, permits, certificates and approvals from the Government to start your business operations at individual fields in Hong Kong, for example catering, construction and finance. You may try the Business Licence Information Service to acquire online the kinds of licences you need to operate your business. If you have already made a licence application, you can make use of the Licence Application Tracking Facility to check the application status online. GovHK also provides access to detailed information regarding restaurant licensing, telecommunications licences, environmental permits and licences, etc. Source: Companies Registry, Inland Revenue Department, Business Licence Information Service, Licence Application Tracking Facility, GovHK “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, online platforms have become popular for consumption which create business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Be sure to check the three bullets below before you start an e-commerce business: 1. Legal requirements The Government has enacted the Electronic Transactions Ordinance to provide a clear legal framework for the conduct of e-business in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Ordinance is to accord electronic record and electronic signature the same legal status as that of their paper-based counterparts; and establish a voluntary recognition scheme for certification authorities to enhance public confidence in electronic transactions. Be reminded to learn about the relevant legal regulations before you start an online service or trade. 2. Information safety Information security is a crucial pillar for e-commerce development. You may refer to the Information Security Guide for Small Businesses - Security Tips for e-Commerce provided by Cyber Security Information Portal of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO). You may also learn about Information Security in Electronic Services from the InfoSec website. The Government Computer Emergency Response Team Hong Kong has been working closely with HKCERT and the industry to share information on security threats and vulnerabilities. 3. Privacy There are legal regulations on how data users should collect, handle and use personal data in Hong Kong. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has provided advices for business through Guidance for Data User on the Collection and Use of Personal Data through the Internet and Information Leaflet on Online Behavioural Tracking on the collection, display or transmission of personal data through the Internet. You may also learn to handle personal data in daily operations through real-life examples and interactive quiz in the Self-training Module on Protection of Personal Data for SME produced by The PCPD. *Tips* Eligible enterprises may apply the “Distance Business (D-Biz) Programme”, “Technology Voucher Programme” or other funding programmes for developing digital business. For more information, please refer to the websites of individual funding schemes. Source: OGCIO, PCPD “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
Wondering how to implement your ideas and start your own business? Follow the five steps below and be prepared for your entrepreneurship journey now! 1. Set Products and TargetsProspective entrepreneurs can try to observe and get information from daily life or the Internet to establish product/service and set their goals. Entrepreneurs also need to determine the business direction based on market conditions. Read the stories of our “Social Entrepreneur Series” and be inspired! 2. Assess economic and financial conditionsBefore you start a business, you can assess your own financial ability and feasibility of the business by "Budget Analysis Worksheet for Starting up Business". In addition, various types of funding schemes are provided by the Government to support young entrepreneurs. Try to look up the funding scheme that suits you best with our Funding Schemes Finder! 3. Develop a business planA detailed business plan can provide clear information to form business concepts and operation plans. It can also be used to raise funds or apply for related venture funding. For more tips on writing a business plan, please refer to the Business Start-up Information Service provided by SUCCESS. 4. Conduct market research and investigationMarket research and investigation can be divided into product/service, sales, marketing, promotion and other parts. Entrepreneurs who are interested can define survey questions and objectives first, formulate research plans, collect information for analysis and finally summarize and write research reports to obtain more marketing information. Please refer to the article “Market Information” for further information. 5. Establish good psychological flexibility In the process of starting a business, you may encounter different levels of psychological stress and difficulties, such as time and money constraints. Therefore, it is important to be highly flexible and develop a quality mindset. Entrepreneurs can accommodate themselves to situation changes by learning and experimenting new things, while learning to be patient and courageous to embrace challenges and to bear the pressure and risk. Source: Life Planning Information of Education Bureau, SUCCESS “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
What does an entrepreneur need to consider before starting his/her business? Brian is an award-winning glasses designer who produce distinctive glasses with a wide variety of materials including granite slabs, ebony and walnut wood. In 2017 he founded his handcrafted eyewear brand “Unsuikyo”. To conclude his entrepreneurial experience, Brian found that a designer simply cares about problems on one dimension: design; an entrepreneur, in contrast, need to concern about various aspects comprehensively. (The video is conducted in Cantonese) Brian suggests interested youngsters to plan well on the three factors below before starting their own business: 1. Capital There are quite a few expenditures involved in business operation, for instance, rent, salary, raw materials, machines, etc. Calculate your cost before you start your business and find a stable source of fund. In the case of Brian, he applied the “Youth Development Fund” and received a seed money for setting up his enterprise. 2. Sales Nowadays sales campaigns are not limited to stores but the online world as well. Sales channels and customer groups vary among different business sectors. Research the preferences of your target customers and choose a suitable mode of sales to boost the effectiveness. To provide you with further support, sharing among practitioners and professional consultation services will also be arranged by the funded organisations of the “Youth Development Fund”. 3. Mindset Being a boss may imply greater stress and concerns than being an employee. Prepare your mind, stay calm in challenging situations, and never give up easily! Starting your own business may not necessarily bring you success but lessons that will be useful for a lifetime. Source: Youth Development Commission - Facebook page “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.
Programme Overview Remote working or service has become a new trend against the backdrop of the epidemic. Under the “Anti-Epidemic Fund”, the Innovation and Technology Commission has launched the “Distance Business (D-Biz) Programme” to provide funding support for enterprises to adopt IT solutions for developing distance business. In view of the overwhelming response from enterprises, the Government will allocate $1 billion for the Programme, in addition to the original $500 million, to benefit more enterprises. The Programme will provide an IT Service Providers Reference List to offer relevant market information for enterprises' reference. The Reference List with the first batch of service providers is available on the D-biz Programme website, and will be updated regularly thereafter. The Programme is open to enterprises for funding applications until 31 October 2020. In view of the present situation, the Programme may need to cease accepting applications earlier, taking into account the progress of funding approval and the amount approved. Such an arrangement would be announced about two weeks beforehand. Enterprises wishing to apply for the Programme's funding are advised to submit applications online as soon as possible. Details are available on the Programme's website (u.hkpc.org/dbiz). Funding Scope Under the Programme, for each IT solution and the relevant training expenses for the employees, the funding ceiling is $100,000. Each enterprise may receive total funding of up to $300,000 to undertake a project to be completed within 12 months. According to the enhancement measures for the Distance Business Programme introduced by the Government, the funding period for subscription-based IT solutions will be extended from six months to 12 months. This arrangement is also applicable to applications approved earlier. The Programme covers IT categories relating to distance business. Please click here for more details on the funding scope. Funding Application and Eligibility All private enterprises (excluding publicly listed companies, statutory bodies and non-government organisations funded by the Government) with a valid Business Registration Certificate, ongoing business commenced before 1 January 2020 and with substantive business operation in the industry related to the project in the application at the time of application are eligible. The Programme is open for funding applications, interested enterprises can submit applications online. From 9am on August 31, enterprises may submit a second application in which the categories of the IT solutions must be different from the approved categories in the first application. They may submit a second application after they have replied to the Secretariat on the result of the first application. The assessment criteria of the Programme remain unchanged. Each enterprise may receive aggregate funding of up to $300,000. The restriction that related entities being regarded as one single entity are not allowed to submit applications will be lifted. Social enterprises with certifications issued by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for the Distance Business Programme will also be eligible.
Startup Business is one of the hottest ongoing trends in the present day as most freshly graduated students want to get a hand on running their own businesses. The main reason behind this rising trend is that startup companies are fairly easy to open and operate. All that is needed for starting a new business is a business idea and some knowledge about the market. Once you have those, with the right guidance and knowledge, your business can prosper and flourish in the long run. Moreover, the Government and a lot of other organisations are constantly promoting the trend of startups. Some look to provide financial aids while others look for providing knowledge or work spaces. The main reason behind this is that the startup trend is very beneficial to the business environment of Hong Kong as it allows the market to retain its high competitiveness with a steady inflow of new innovations and innovators. Check these links out to figure out on how to get started: Setting up a company | Government Funding Scheme | Business in China | Law Issues | MPF Issues | Government Electronic Trading Services (GETS) | Information Technology | Intellectual Property | Product Testing | ISO Accreditation
Which industry would be ideal for doing business in? Which industry reaps the most profits? Which industry has a brighter future? All these are common questions that entrepreneurs may have before starting a business. Knowledge about a market is extremely important and the only way to obtain it is by reading about it. Thus, market-reading and research are really important before you get down to actually running the business. Forms of Entrepreneurship In the current business world, there are mainly 5 different types of entrepreneurship *. They are Self-Employed Entrepreneurship, Professional Entrepreneurship, Contractual Entrepreneurship, Franchising and Takeover respectively. Each style of entrepreneurship is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on various external factors. One of the more popular methods used by entrepreneurs to get their startup businesses up and running is the “S.O.H.O. (Small Office Home Office)” * method. During the initial stages of a business, this method is a very handy one because entrepreneurs work from their own homes instead of looking for an official physical premise for the startup office. Thus, enabling entrepreneurs to save costs, work more effectively and also enjoy the additional benefit of having wide acceptance by clients. Market Research Whether it is about starting a restaurant or just simply developing a mobile application, entrepreneurs ought to know that market research revolving their target audience’s market is extremely important. Market research is one of the key factors that decide on how effectively a business would run. The research needs to not only include market information but also details about employment patterns and key report details from the existing players in the market. Government department like Census and Statistics Department and other platform such as HKTDC Research offer a lot of valuable market information. *Chinese version only
Capital for Startup Startups are becoming more common in Hong Kong by the passing day. It is an interesting concept that many young graduates and adults like to pursue. One of the major problems young entrepreneurs face when starting their business from scratch is capital. Capital is essential to a business as it determines the scale of its workings. The Government and many other organisations are giving a myriad of subsidies and funding in the hopes of alleviating this problem. These funding schemes aim at reducing the burden on startups and securing its long-term future in the market. Other ways of raising capital for the company include lending money from friends & family, crowdfunding, taking a loan from banks or financial institutes etc. Sites such as iStartup@HK, StartmeupHK, CreateHK and Startup Website on GovHK can also be accessed to get more options and information about schemes being offered. Other frequently used capital sources Undoubtedly, other than the aforementioned assistance programmes, you may also borrow money from your *family and friends, *banks or financial institutions, many young people also made use of online fund-accumulation platforms. These all are possible methods to raise capital. * Chinese version only