City University of Hong Kong has on Monday launched the first ever HK Tech 300 Southeast Asia Start-up Competition (HK Tech 300 SEA Competition) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, extending the highly anticipated innovation and entrepreneurship program to Southeast Asia to foster start-ups and innovation and technology development in the region.

A large-scale flagship innovation and entrepreneurship programm by City University of Hong Kong, HK Tech 300 was organized with a total commitment of up to HK$600 million ($76.46 million), City University of Hong Kong said in a statement.

The HK Tech 300 SEA Competition is being held in partnership with universities and incubators in the region, including Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) from Malaysia, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) from Brunei Darussalam, Chulalongkorn University from Thailand, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Selangor Information Technology and Digital Economy Corporation (SIDEC), and various chambers of commerce.

Through these partners, the competition will bring together the most promising start-ups in the region to join the competition.

The top ten winners will each be awarded Angel Fund investment of up to HK$1 million ($130,000), providing a significant boost for their entrepreneurial endeavours.

“We are thrilled to expand our successful HK Tech 300 initiative to Southeast Asia,” said Professor Way Kuo, President and University Distinguished Professor of City University of Hong Kong.

“This competition presents a unique opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs in the region to gain exposure and secure funding for their projects, and will help translate City University of Hong Kong’s outstanding research into applications, which can have a transformative impact on the entrepreneurship landscape here,

“We are excited to witness the positive impact of HK Tech 300 on the region and are committed to supporting and empowering innovative ideas in this part of the world,” he added.

Since its launch in March 2021, the HK Tech 300 program has made significant strides towards its goal of creating 300 start-ups within three years.

With a total allocation of HK$500 million ($63.71 million) in 2021, the program is a strategic move to translate City University of Hong Kong’s groundbreaking research results and intellectual property into practical applications, while simultaneously providing valuable opportunities for young talent and aspiring entrepreneurs to grow and learn.

To further support the program, the university added an additional of HK$100 million ($12.74 million) this year.

To date, HK Tech 300 has cultivated more than 560 start-up teams, each of which received a HK$100,000 ($12,743) Seed Fund, and it has provided up to HK$1 million ($130,000) in Angel Fund investment to more than 110 start-up companies.

Riding on the success and positive impact of the program, City University of Hong Kong has expanded the HK Tech 300 initiative to Southeast Asia, with Malaysia chosen as the location for the launch of the inaugural HK Tech 300 SEA Competition, demonstrating its vision and determination to make HK Tech 300 the biggest university-based innovation and entrepreneurship program in Asia.

The expansion aims to promote technology transfer and commercialization in the region, showcasing the university’s commitment to support Southeast Asian start-ups in expanding their business to Hong Kong, Mainland China and the whole region, leveraging the unique advantages and resources available in Hong Kong.

“A thriving small and medium enterprise (SME) and start-up ecosystem is essential for sustainable digital development,” said Khaled Mohamed Nordin, Minister of Higher Education, Malaysia.

“The Malaysian Higher Education Ministry welcomes City University of Hong Kong’s decision to launch this regional edition of HK Tech 300 in Malaysia, as it demonstrates the success of Malaysia’s efforts to accelerate the digital economy and produce knowledgeable graduates with excellent marketability,

“I believe the exposure and guidance they will receive from the competition, will enable them to contribute to the expanding digital ecosystem,” he added.

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