PolyU launches Good Seed programme to drive social innovation

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) launched a new training and funding programme today to support social innovation projects, addressing poverty and other social issues in pursuit of an inclusive and harmonious society.

Jointly organized by the Institute for Entrepreneurship (IfE) and Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (J.C.DISI) of PolyU, the "Good Seed" programme is funded by the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund). "As the name of the programme suggests, it aims to sow the seeds of community care among our young people, so that they will take the right actions for the betterment of our society," remarked Mr Nicholas Yang, Executive Vice President of PolyU. "It is our hope that these seeds will be planted deep in their hearts, tenderly nurtured with love and care, and bloom into something good for our future."

Under the "Good Seed" programme, successful applicants will be nurtured into social innovation implementers (SIIs) through three stages. In the first stage, participants will receive interactive and action-oriented training. The training modules specifically focus on design, technology and business, with an aim to inspire them to become SIIs. Professor Cees de Bont, Dean of School of Design, PolyU, explained, "Training people in design methods and business skills will breed social entrepreneurs who will make communities in Hong Kong more resilient."

In the next stage, an idea competition will be held to select outstanding social innovation project ideas. In the final stage, each winning team will be granted a total of HK$100,000, the "Good Seed Money", from the SIE Fund for project implementation. Support from PolyU, non-government organizations, as well as mentors from the design, academic, business and industry sectors will be provided to the winning teams. Post programme support including further incubation and support from various PolyU seed funds or other organizations will also be available to projects with long term potential.

By harnessing collective intelligence and resources among stakeholders in the social innovation and entrepreneurship eco-system, the "Good Seed" programme encourages future SIIs to innovate for low-income families, the elderly of limited means, new arrivals, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, single parent families, the homeless and other deserving demographics and communities. Mr Kim A. Salkeld, JP, Secretary-General of the SIE Fund Secretariat, expected that this partnership between SIE Fund and PolyU will help to establish an enduring springboard for business innovation that work to the benefit of this city. He added, "I trust that it will plant new businesses that bring new wealth to this city, wealth that is not just financial, but social, building up the common wealth of our community."

Whilst the programme has a distinctive emphasis on "Design and Technology", it is open to students and graduates of all local higher education institutions, as training will be provided to unleash the participants' creativity and foster the entrepreneurship spirit in them. Application is now open until 27 February 2015. Interested parties may visit the official website of the programme at www.goodseed.hk for more details.
To commemorate the launching of the "Good Seed" programme, "The Polygon Tree" Co-Creation Workshop was also held today, where paper was collectively folded, creased and combined to form a "polygon tree" by the participants. The extraordinary tree is now installed and exhibited at PolyU to symbolize the dynamic and sturdy growth of the "Good Seed" programme.