A Smart Space For Innovation

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Entrepreneur Ricky Chan’s information technology company has been hard at work developing a virtual reality application that enables designers and their clients to walk through different versions of their home or office without having to physically move a single piece of furniture.

 

From the colour of the walls to the style of fixtures and fittings, Mr Chan’s app caters to all personal tastes and design ideas.

 

“We have customers who are interior designers or furniture retailers. Our virtual reality application brings their sketches to life. Designers in the past needed weeks to produce sketches. Now they can make designs instantly,” he explained.

 

Up to 40% of the application was developed at Smart-Space 8 in Tsuen Wan, Cyberport’s first co-working space outside its main Pok Fu Lam campus.

 

“Cyberport provides funding that helps to lower our expenses and we can hold seminars here with a rental fee that is much lower than the market price,” Mr Chan added.

 

The 20,000 sq ft space launched last year was specifically designed with young entrepreneurs in mind and provides workshops and seminars for startups. For companies that wish to join the Smart-Space 8 community, one of its founders must be aged between 18 and 35 and the company itself should not have been in operation for longer than seven years.

 

Smart-Space 8 users are entitled to comprehensive entrepreneurial support and value-added services to accelerate their businesses such as the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund and Cyberport Incubation Programme.

 

Mr Chan, who lives in the New Territories, said the added bonus of setting up shop in Smart-Space 8 is the commute, as Cyberport in Pok Fu Lam is farther away for him and his clients.

 

Cyberport may be expanding beyond Pok Fu Lam, but some entrepreneurs like agriculture technology company CEO and founder Gordon Tam have opted to stay at the home campus because of the incentives available.

 

“The business network here is unique. There are so many startups and we encourage and learn from each other.”

 

Mr Tam’s company sells vegetables from an indoor farm to local supermarkets and is now exploring the overseas market. He credits the vibrant community and ecosystem at Cyberport for building up his business.

 

“Traditional agriculture comes with a host of problems and the efficiency of Hong Kong’s agriculture industry is relatively low. This is why we are looking into indoor agriculture. We want to grow plants in industrial buildings.”

 

When Mr Tam joined the Cyberport Incubation Programme, his firm was offered two years of rent reduction. But more importantly, he said, the space is a one-of-a-kind ecosystem where his team can brainstorm ideas and continue to innovate.

 

Other startup owners share the same sentiment. Information technology company CEO and founder Stark Chan noted that with Cyberport as a public body, it offers a lot of support and rents are more stable.

 

“We have been here since we first started up. My colleagues are familiar with this environment and the atmosphere is good for innovation,” Mr Chan said.