Hong Kong social enterprises should aim to turn over HK$10b a year

Monday, March 2, 2015

The government has been urged to set financial targets for social enterprises as it prepares to pour more money into businesses dedicated to improving people’s lives and the environment.

Kee Chi-hing, a member of the taskforce overseeing the government’s Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund – one of several schemes helping “social entrepreneurs” – said the turnover of the city’s 457 social enterprises was estimated at HK$1.1 billion a year, with any profits ploughed back into the businesses.

Kee, who is chairman of one of these enterprises, Fullness, a hair salon that has been providing jobs and training for wayward teenagers since 2008, said: “Can’t we be more ambitious by setting a target for the next decade, say increasing the turnover of social enterprises 10 times to HK$10 billion a year?

“A target gives the government a focus to work towards,” he added.

The number of social enterprises per capita in Hong Kong is way ahead of its Asian rivals, at 63 per resident. That figure is 43 for Taiwan; 33 for Singapore and 19 for South Korea.

In addition, the city is competing with New Zealand to host the Social Enterprises World Forum next year, which is expected to attract 1,000 visitors.

In last week’s budget, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced that he would earmark HK$150 million to add to its Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme, which has funded 161 social enterprises up to a maximum of HK$3 million since it was launched in 2006.

Source: South China Morning Post (link opens in a new window)