To many, business startups conjures up elements of high land rent and operating cost which could be a daunting barrier for young entrepreneurs. S.H. Ho College launched the Young Entrepreneur Programme to help College students and alumni realize their entrepreneurial dreams. We have been helping students to cultivate innovative ideas, cultural understanding and care for society. The Programme aims to help young entrepreneurs to incubate their business plans even if they only have small capital to start with,' said Master Samuel Sun. The first winning entrepreneurial project in the programme, Timing Bookstore, has been given a room on the ground floor of Chan Chun Ha Hall to run the University's first independent second-hand bookstore.
Timing Bookstore has been initiated by a group of students from various disciplines. The bookstore differentiates itself from other mainstream bookstores in the way it operates, with the aim of enriching students' reading experience. They will encourage readers to share their book lists with different themes, organize various cultural activities, and promote reading via an interactive online platform. The room provided by the College is conveniently located on the University Avenue, facing a school bus stop.
The 'paperback blind date' is an experiment designed for readers meet the books without relying on pretty covers or the literary clout of its author, each book completely wrapped in brown paper. 'Timing Bookstore presents to readers with a shelf of books with just a few intriguing words scrawled on the front, which turns reading pleasure into a lucky dip,' illustrated Lillian Huang, alumnus of S.H. Ho College. 'Inspired by the Homecoming Book Festival two years ago which promoted the encounters between humans and books, we would like to sustain the romantic encounters by founding a second-hand bookstore. After all, university students are meant to be romantic.' To broaden readers' perspectives, the bookstore founders experiment on book categorization according to colours of book covers or themes to create unexpected encounters.
The Young Entrepreneur Programme invited College students to submit business proposals in June last year, which were evaluated by a selection panel. Selection criteria included innovativeness, business feasibility, management, sponsorship, financial planning and the social awareness of each proposal. The programme helps young entrepreneurs to acquire essential skills in running a business and widen their network. Participants will be granted valuable operating space on campus. Dr. Andrew Yuen, Associate Dean of General Education, S.H. Ho College, and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business Administration will serve as a consultant to guide them along.
Dr. Andrew Yuen said, 'University students often struggle between dream and reality, theory and practice, as well as innovation and tradition. Timing Bookstore strikes a perfect balance between all of them. The students have put a lot of effort into doing market research, and promoting the bookstore through online platforms and multimedia. During the selection process, I have been delighted to see the excellent performance of other teams. I could feel their passion in pursuing their dreams and their sense of social responsibility.'
The 'Young Entrepreneur Programme' launching ceremony and the opening of Timing Bookstore were held on 12 January, officiated by Prof. Samuel Sun, College Master; Prof. KB Wong, College Dean of Students; Gary Fung, representative of Timing Bookstore; and Ferdinand Tsang, representative of the Student Union of the College. After the ceremony, the guests visited Timing Bookstore to learn more about the students' vision and business operation. After the one-year operation of the entrepreneurial project, the programme will call for applications to enable other young entrepreneurs to turn their innovative spirit into reality.