Priorities:Lingnan University Faculty Project

From University Innovation Fellows
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Project Name: Inclusive Entrepreneurship in the Local Community

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate Nicholas Ooi

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

We believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur, even non-traditional Liberal Arts students, as long as they have access to proper training, funding mentorship, and networks. At Lingnan, LEI incubates Lingnanians to become social entrepreneurs who create innovative, practical, and sustainable solutions to address real-world problems through different occasions such as competitions, workshops, exhibitions, conferences, and symposiums. We promote inclusion both for entrepreneurs and their clients in the following ways. We hope Lingnan University would be the innovation and entrepreneurship hub in the New Territory West of Hong Kong to provide different kind of resources like training, funding, networks, mentorship and more to engage the community in the nearby districts.


Lingnan University is the liberal arts university in Hong Kong and we have the longest established tradition among the local institutions of higher education. Lingnan’s Liberal Arts education offers a perfect foundation for entrepreneurship, because our students learn to look beyond disciplinary boundaries, and envision new possibilities. Entrepreneurship is a practical manifestation of liberal arts students’ creative mindset, and we train our students to become social entrepreneurs who create innovative, practical, and sustainable solutions to real-world problems. The main challenges that non-traditional entrepreneurs face are lack of startup capital, a perceived lack of technical skills, and lack of experience with entrepreneurship. We assist Lingnan’s students in all of these aspects by:

Design Thinking and Design Innovation Training
The entrepreneurial mindset is a state of mind which is interested in the pursuit of opportunity with scarce, uncontrolled resources and it requires a high level of problem-solving abilities. Therefore, LEI works with faculties and departments to integrate practices like Design Thinking, Participatory Design, and Lego Serious Play (LSP) pedagogies to improve teaching and learning effectiveness by motivating high levels of communication and interactions in class through group problem-solving.

Facilitation of funding by LEI
Offering funding options in the form of the Entrepreneurial Knowledge Transfer (EKT) Fund which provides HKD20.000 to students who are eager to start their own initiatives, and facilitating students in seeking out other sources of funding, be it public or private.

Entrepreneurial Related Training
LU’s Liberal Arts students are often very interested in entrepreneurship but feel that they lack technical knowledge in the form of programming, industrial product design, engineering, etc. We offer training in emerging technologies such as programming, robotics, and 3D-printing, to broaden our students’ skill set and interests, and prepare them to become innovative entrepreneurs who can tackle upcoming global challenges.

Experiencing entrepreneurship
LEI encourages students to join local and international competitions, such as the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge, Hult Prize, Enactus and offers students a chance to fine-tune their entrepreneurial proposals through events such as the Startup Weekend @ Lingnan University and Hong Kong Techathon.

Introduction of Humanitarian Technology
The focus is to make simple but potentially life-changing technology accessible to deprived communities, and to innovate processes to remove bottlenecks which hinder socio-economic development. Above all, it is hoped to explore the most sustainable form of deployment of these technologies so that it satisfies people’s basic needs, and turn them into a business idea.

Stakeholders served

Local community and public members at Hong Kong New Territory West

  1. Elders
  2. Ethnic Minorities
  3. People with Disabilities

Local primary, secondary schools and university

  1. Baptist Wing Lung Secondary School
  2. Yan Chai Hospital No.2 Secondary School
  3. Ho Ngai College (Sponsored By Sik Sik Yuen)
  4. Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tuen Mun)
  5. Chu Hai College of Higher Education

NGOs and Government Organization

  1. Yan Oi Tong Youth Space
  2. Tung Wah Hospital Group
  3. Salvation Army
  4. Tuen Mun District Council

Key Milestones

  • December 2020:
    • Connect with different community agencies and partners for the collaboration
    • Connect with Faculty of Business for the collaboration
  • March 2021:
    • Recruit students’ entrepreneurs and provide training and competition opportunities for this group of students
  • June 2021
    • Secure funding to support the project
    • Recruit community entrepreneurs and provide training
  • September 2021:
    • Incubate the first Inclusive start-up
  • December 2021:
    • Incubate more Inclusive start-ups and provide entrepreneurial skills training
  • March 2022:
    • Review with the start-up teams

An Innovation Portfolio

For the Innovation Portfolio, I will include activities and worksheets plan to share with peers.

Project Name: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators under Liberal Arts Context

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate Jessica Wong

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

Lingnan University has attached high importance on the “cultivation of entrepreneurial spirit and experience” to enrich student development in recent years. It was incorporated into one of the five key strategic areas under the University Strategic Plan 2016-2022. As a resource hub and focal point for Innovation & Entrepreneurship activities, Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative (LEI) integrates, supports and empowers the Lingnan community in utilizing innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship for a better future. We pay attention to the entrepreneurial experience of students and deliver an array of education and service opportunities that nurture students to become creative problem solvers in addressing various pressing humanitarian challenges in the community.

We notice that when starting up a business or innovative project, males and females usually face different obstacles, which are often caused by different social expectations on the gender roles and chances in accessing resources and networks. This gender inequality may be more obvious in the community than in a higher education environment. However, by working in a university with nearly 70% of students are female, we think that by starting here to support women entrepreneurship can motivate not only our students to develop innovative solutions for social problems, but also influences their peers and community members to drive impact for the society through demonstrating the vivid spirit of entrepreneurship and unlimited possibilities of innovation.

Also, under the traditional liberal arts education which focuses on interdisciplinary knowledge and serving the community, our students are good at understanding and presenting social problems. However, without technological and engineering disciplines at Lingnan University, students generally lack the confidence to get a taste of learning technology, let alone to think about the possibility of its application in creating solutions to existing problems. Providing students with hands-on opportunities to learn and apply mature technology can stimulate their creativity and foster their learning experience to become innovators.


This project aims to inspire and support students who aspired to be an entrepreneur or social innovator to drive impactful changes in the society. Through implementing a series of activities such as training workshops, sharing forums, competitions and consultation sessions, it is hoped that students are empowered to actualize their dreams with confidence and necessary resources, and further influence their peers to act in a positive way.

Empowering women entrepreneurship also shows support for the UN's SDG5 Gender Equality. We hope that the spirit and belief can be further spread to the community to support women, particularly those who are in underprivileged situations, to start social business or community projects that are beneficial to improve their socio-economic situation or for the wider good of the community. Therefore, collaboration with community partners to co-create bigger impacts is also one of the important elements of this program.

Currently, what common obstacles that students are generally facing are lack of project ideas, hard to find suitable talents in their team, insufficient guidance along their entrepreneurial journey, and most importantly, lack of confidence to start a project. Therefore, the proposed project will contain the following aspects:

Design Thinking Training

Getting empathised with the situation is the prerequisite before proposing any solutions to a problem. Design thinking workshops will be held to introduce students with different design challenges that feature real world problems, such as ocean conservation, smart ageing, waste reduction and health innovation, etc. Students will learn about how to think out of the box and develop quick prototypes for testing their ideas.

Mixer Sessions

We encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration as we believe that everyone gets their talents. The collaboration can be inter-school and also with community members from different backgrounds. We also advocate for inclusive entrepreneurship. Working with user groups to develop solutions together is desirable as direct feedback could be provided. Mixer sessions will be provided from time to time so that students can learn more people with different expertise and interests. For example, mixer sessions with The University of Science and Technology or The Guangdong University of Technology allow Lingnan students to form a team with other students from science and engineering disciplines.

Introduction to Humanitarian Technology

Training workshops in emerging technologies such as laser cutting, programming, robotics, and 3D-printing will be organized to broaden our students’ skill set and interests. These workshops will be tailored to suit students from liberal arts education and also provides hands-on opportunity for them to apply these mature technologies in mini-projects.

Mentorship Support

On-demand consultation services will be offered when students are in need. Students will be introduced to funding opportunities that are available in the university and beyond to support their projects, including the Innovation and Impact Fund, and SEED Fund, which will provide HKD$20,000 for each approved project. Also, alumni will be invited to be a mentor to provide guidance and share their stories in making an impact in society.

Project Showcase and Celebration

An exhibition, weekend market or a sharing forum will be hosted to introduce the projects of students entrepreneurs & innovators so that they could inspire their peers to step out of their comfort zone and start a new round of projects to impact the society. This is an important step to build up confidence for the students as they can see how their peers are making a difference in the society.

Although empowering women entrepreneurship is the main aim of this program, it welcomes students from all genders or sexual orientations to join. It is not supposed to exclude male students from access to support and resources, but to emphasize gender equality in grasping opportunities and being empowered to actualize their dreams and contribute to society. Project teams that comprise both males and females are encouraged, and solutions for improving gender equality in society are desirable.

Stakeholders served

  • University and high school students
  • Underprivileged women, elders, ethnic minorities
  • Local NGOs & charities

Key Milestones

  • December 2021: Connect with potential community partners and faculties & units for collaboration
  • March 2022: Recruit students and organize the first batch of activities including design thinking workshop and technology workshop and mixer sessions
  • June 2022: Students submit their project proposals
  • September 2022: Review of the project progress and provide mentor sessions
  • December 2022: Project showcase and celebration
  • March 2023: Final review with the project teams

An Innovation Portfolio

Slides & Worksheets

Related links