Entrepreneurship Initiatives

In 2018, the Financial Times ranked us third in Asia among “Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship.” The combined strength of our Business and Engineering Schools,diversified student body, and open and dynamic culture, plus the booming economy in Asia— these all position HKUST as an ideal hub for nourishing startups. If you are interested in exploring opportunities in entrepreneurship, consider participating in the following initiatives:

HKUST One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition

Entrepreneurship is not just about ideas, but about putting them into practice to realize your dreams. Each year our MBA students participate in this annual competition to test their start-up ideas. The competition judges are investors and industry experts, who will provide you with valuable advice and feedback throughout the course of the competition. The cash prize can be used as seed money to further commercialize your inventions, and the winning teams from HKUST also get to compete with other teams across Greater China for a more comprehensive learning experience.

Social Entrepreneurship & Venture Philanthropy

This practitioner-driven experiential learning course offers a unique student-directed venture philanthropy fund, which will be awarded to one of the social ventures with which the student teams work throughout the course. You will learn how to use business concepts and strategies to address social and sustainability issues, by thinking outside the box and taking calculated risks.

Entrepreneurship Center & Entrepreneurship Club

The HKUST Entrepreneurship Center (EC) was established in 1999 to support innovation and entrepreneurship across the campus. The center organizes a wide range of activities designed to foster entrepreneurial spirit at the university level and cultivate a risk-taking value-creation mindset. In addition, an Entrepreneurship Club led by our MBA students allows them to build more connections and gain more knowledge about the entrepreneurial landscape in Hong Kong and Asia. Here are some of the events we have held in recent years:

  • Entrepreneurship Workshops (e.g. user experience/user interface design, digital marketing for startups)
  • Entrepreneurship Week
  • Hackathons
  • Startup advisory & mentoring program
  • Overseas entrepreneurship study tours (e.g. Korea, Australia)
  • B.E.S.T. (Business, Engineering, Science, Together) joint-school idea incubation events
  • Incubator visits: Blueprint (Swire Properties), Science Park, Cyberport, HAX (Shenzhen)

Funding Schemes

We also have a range of other funding schemes amounting to almost HK$ 7 million per year, that support start-ups created by our students and alumni. Some examples include our Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU), USTAR Fund for Students, Proof-of-Concept Fund (PCF), Entrepreneurship Acceleration Fund (EAP) and Yeung Wing Yee Entrepreneurs Fund (YWYEF). With little more than two decades of history, our innovative spirit has kept us ahead of the game.

A Success Story

Following a 10 year stint as a management consultant in the United States, Marcus Leung-Shea didn’t have plans to become an entrepreneur. After relocating to Hong Kong he joined HKUST MBA and met three co-founders and launched a wearable/IOT company called Origami Labs. Inspired by his co-founder’s visually impaired father, the company’s mission is to bring screen-free products to the masses using voice interface technology. Origami Labs is the maker of ORII, the world’s first voice powered smart ring that can turn the wearer’s hand into a phone. By combining bone conduction technology and voice assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant, the ring helps you handle phone calls, send texts, and manage daily tasks all without the need for a screen. Marcus and his cofounders joined HKUST’s One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition where they refined their business plan, and ultimately won several awards and got positive feedback from the investment community. Covered by international media such as GQ, WIRED, Verge, and TechCrunch, and backed by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurship Fund, Marcus hopes to shake up the wearable and voice technology space by launching this first-of-its-kind screen-free device.


HKUST was a significant catalyst in moving me in the direction of starting my own company. Thinking about that first critical step of finding co-founders, the school accelerated this by recruiting a class of like-minded and ambitious individuals from diverse backgrounds. Then, the school’s One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition gave us the chance to put our ideas down on paper and pressure test the business model publicly. The competition generated invaluable feedback from real investors that’s proved critical to an early stage company like us. As the business launched, we received robust support from the HKUST alumni network. From publicity, to manufacturing, to fund raising, we really sensed the community rally around us.

Marcus Leung-Shea United States, Class of 2016 Pre-MBA: Head, Corporate Strategy and Partnerships Welex S.A. (China) Ltd Current: Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder, Origami Labs