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Hong Kong Productivity Council Empowering SMEs 

Image Credits: HKPC, Press Release
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In a bid to address the challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) recently unveiled key findings on SME Development and Support. The initiative, which included the inauguration of BEE Square (BEE2), serves as a crucial step toward understanding and empowering SMEs in the digital economy.

Image Credits: HKPC, Press Release

The BEE2 Inauguration Ceremony featured the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, HKSAR Government, delivering the opening remarks, setting the stage for a significant shift in how SMEs access government support in the digital age.

HKPC’s Chairman highlighted the organisation’s pivotal role as Hong Kong’s leading implementation agent of funding schemes, emphasising a commitment to understanding the evolving needs of SMEs in the tech sector. The inauguration of BEE Square (BEE2) marked a significant milestone, offering a digital platform designed to facilitate regular interaction and the exchange of views among applicants of government funding schemes. This initiative aims to provide timely and relevant information, aligning with the digital aspirations of SMEs and startups.

“The Findings on SME” brought forth crucial insights, revealing that over 70% of SMEs in Hong Kong expressed a desire for government funding schemes related to marketing and promotion. This keen interest underlines the growing emphasis on digital strategies and expansion into Mainland China and overseas markets among SMEs.

A survey commissioned by HKPC Funding Schemes in the latter half of 2023, conducted by the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey (CCPOS) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), provided valuable insights into post-pandemic challenges and development directions for SMEs. The survey, based on online responses from over 500 SME representatives and six focus group interviews, disclosed that 58% of enterprises had not returned to pre-pandemic business performance.

Looking ahead, the survey identified “profit maximisation” as the top priority for 60% of enterprises, with 51% and 44% aiming for “growth/expansion (outside Hong Kong)” and “increased operational efficiency and productivity,” respectively. These goals underscore the strategic focus on digital transformation, efficiency gains, and expanding market presence, aligning with the demands of the evolving business landscape.

Responding to business challenges, over half of the SME respondents had previously applied for government funding schemes, and an overwhelming 72% expressed their intention to apply within the next 24 months. Notably, the survey highlighted SMEs’ strong desire for government funding schemes related to “marketing and promotion” (72%), “talent recruitment” (49%), and “support for business operating expenses” (49%)—all critical aspects in the digital era.

Professor Clement So from CUHK stressed the crucial role of government funding schemes in SMEs’ business development and digital transformation. The survey underscored the importance of an ideal digital information platform, providing a single sign-on (SSO) account, successful case sharing, and a community for applicants to exchange experiences.

SMEs also expressed hopes for the government to lead initiatives supporting their expansion into Mainland and overseas markets. Suggestions included organising exchange programs, study tours, and exhibitions to enhance SMEs’ understanding of target markets, particularly in terms of local regulations and market information—a clear indication of the digital-savvy SMEs’ global ambitions.

The survey highlighted a lack of awareness among SMEs regarding funding scheme information platforms. Addressing this, the Chief Operating Officer of HKPC announced three major actions aimed at empowering SMEs through updated government support:

Establishing Biz Expands Easy Square (BEE2): This interactive experience-sharing platform brings together government departments, industry associations, and funding scheme applicants, allowing SMEs and startups to obtain relevant government funding information and submit applications digitally.

Launching a New “Government Funding 101” Video Series: Short videos featuring successful government funding application cases will serve as an introductory guide for SMEs, providing insights into the application process in a digital format.

Enhancing BEE ePass Functionality with Integration of “iAM Smart”: By integrating “iAM Smart” with BEE ePass, users can log in conveniently without providing a username and password, streamlining access and management of government funding schemes administered by HKPC in the digital realm.

These initiatives underscore HKPC’s commitment to leveraging technology and creating platforms that empower SMEs, ensuring they can navigate and benefit from government funding schemes effectively in the rapidly evolving digital business landscape. As Hong Kong SMEs embrace the digital economy, these initiatives are poised to play a pivotal role in their success and growth.


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