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HKSTP announces new acceleration programme

According to a recent press release, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) recently announced the launch of a new hardware product development acceleration programme, called the iDM2 (ideas, design, manufacturing and market), to help its incubatees and Park companies in converting their innovative ideas into successful businesses with commercially-viable products and solutions.

A significant portion of HKSTP’s incubatees and Park companies are developing technology products and solutions that require hardware development. Many of them typically face challenges in bringing their solutions to life, especially in the areas of product design, manufacturing, intellectual property (IP) protection and others.

The iDM2 programme assists these companies by providing them with the essential skills and industry connections to overcome these hurdles at the various stages of their manufacturing processes. The support rendered range from proof-of-concept, product design, prototyping, product testing, product accreditation, to commercially-viable production and go-to-market strategies.

The six-month programme is composed of two main phases. The first is to provide comprehensive training and seminars to equip the companies with fundamental knowledge on “Design for Manufacturing”. The second phase is to provide manufacturing workshops in Dongguan, China, to connect them with leading factories and manufacturing partners and help them with the manufacturing aspect of their business.

Throughout the iDM2 programme, “specialist clinics” will be offered to provide companies with consultancy services focusing on product design and manufacturing issues particularly faced by companies. These clinics are run by domain experts in key areas such as product design, system-on-chip, tooling, sensing solution, patents and product certification.

The iDM2 programme is supported by various leading industry partners. The Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Hong Kong Design Centre, and Dongguan Songshan Lake’s Hong Kong and Macau Project Conversion Service Center are strategic partners, while other industry partners will offer knowledge sharing and help run the specialist clinics.

The Chief Technology Officer of HKSTP stated that the innovators in HKSTP come up with brilliant ideas for their business and it has been observed that some of them take on an ineffective, unscalable or unsustainable approach when they move to the hardware development stage.

Thus, the new iDM2 programme aims at helping the start-ups overcome the various issues they might encounter, from the beginning of their hardware development right up to their go-to-market strategies. More than just training and workshops, the programme connects them with mentors and key players within the manufacturing industry. The programme bridges the gap between ideation and realisation, helping these companies to manufacture their products with efficient and scalable resources, time and effort.

The iDM2 programme is one of the many enhanced funding programmes and value-added services HKSTP has undertaken to accelerate the growth of Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem. The first cohort of the iDM2 programme started in September this year with 12 companies enrolled. They are completing the first phase of training and are about to start the second phase of manufacturing training in Dongguan.

The CEO of one of the companies in the iDM2 programme stated that his company has a healthcare solution that will advance the efficiency and accuracy of cancer drug screening. It combines biotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The company is optimistic that its tech will help healthcare professionals and patients deal with cancer treatment. However, it faced hurdles in the manufacturing element of the product. The first round of workshops gave them a good foundation in industrial design, IP protection, and product accreditation.

The company will now be meeting the manufacturers and factories to determine the best way to manufacture its products.

Another start-up taking part in the iDM2 programme develops flight training solutions using simulation and AI technology to strengthen the competencies of pilots, consequently fostering flight safety and professional standards. The company’s Head of Research and Development stated that the company is inspired by the comprehensive series of training provided by the manufacturing experts in the programme.

The expectation is that the workshop will help programme will guide the start-up in how to take their ideas from conceptualisation to manufacturing as well as giving them opportunities to connect with key influencers in the manufacturing industry.

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