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HKSTP hosts first-ever virtual elevator pitch competition

Image Credits: HKSTP, Press Release

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) held its annual Elevator Pitch Competition 2020 (EPiC) virtually for the first time to unveil new and exciting pitching, investment and partnership opportunities as global start-ups face a challenging business landscape. A US-based biotechnology start-up topped other finalists to be crowned champion and claimed the top prize at the competition.

HKSTP’s annual flagship event this year expanded to a week-long virtual programme. It garnered a great response with over 77,000 live views at today’s pitching competition. This year, EPiC attracted 476 entries from 37 countries and cities across five continents. A total of 170 contestants from 31 different markets entered the semi-final round, with nearly 70% of them coming from overseas.

The champion and winner of the Smart City category is a company that upcycles and reengineers protein food waste into plastic and cotton alternative fibres for the fashion, medical and packaging industries. The three Tech Category Winners, including a UK-based AI & Robotics start-up, a Philippines-based fintech start-up, and a Portugal-based health technology start-up, showcased their full potential as innovators in the competition.

The CEO of HKSTP stated that this year’s successful staging of the 5th EPiC is a clear sign of our determination to provide a platform of unmatched opportunities to start-ups around the world to showcase their innovations and demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit. The week-long programme is also a show of strength and resilience for Hong Kong’s rapidly growing innovation and technology ecosystem which propels start-ups and their ideas to success in Hong Kong, Asia and beyond.

Since inception in 2016, EPiC has drawn a huge number of international start-ups to make a live one-minute elevator pitch to leading investors and judges at the International Commerce Centre (ICC), the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong. This year, the contestants switched modes to present their innovative business ideas, with a one-minute video pitch submitted to simulate the signature 60-second elevator ride.

The top ten finalists were given another opportunity to face the judges in a three-minute live pitch and two-minute Q&A, before announcing the overall champion, who took away a cash prize of US$100,000 while each of the category winners received a cash prize of US$10,000 and all ten finalists won US$6,000 each.

The competition marks a major progression for start-ups who gained valuable exposure among investors and industry leaders in their ongoing entrepreneurship journey. To further bolster the growth and development of local and overseas start-ups, this year’s EPiC provides a wider array of business opportunities to explore and acquire a better understanding of the investment landscape in the region with the upcoming “Global Matching” programme from 9 to 12 November and the “Investment x Corporate Innovation Conference” on 13 November.

The COVID-19 undoubtedly forced a complete change in daily life, and millions of businesses are being disrupted. While the world’s economy has been slowing in the past few months, several innovation and technology (I&T) events in Hong Kong carry on albeit differently.

Hong Kong’s leading I&T ecosystem is also forging a virtual path forward­ to bring up opportunities and create collaboration platforms free of geographical, travel and social distancing constraints. HKSTP, as the city’s largest R&D base that bridges innovators with investors, corporates and industry leaders and other stakeholders, has made virtual events the “new normal”.

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