A charitable organisation, created by one of Hong Kong’s top developers, aims to equip the city’s youth with the necessary tech skills and help them identify business and job opportunities in the Greater Bay Area to “jump-start their careers”.
“Young people hold the key to our future, and technology holds the key to the future for our young people, especially when it comes to the Greater Bay Area,” Daryl Ng Win-kong, chairman of the Greater Bay Area Homeland Youth Community Foundation, said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
Founded in September 2019, the foundation, which is supported by many leading businessmen from Hong Kong, provides education and training to the city’s youth, with the aim of helping them gain a better understanding of the region’s business environment and culture that is conducive to their personal and professional growth.
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“If we provide our youth with exposure to digital technology, and help them jump-start their careers, it will give them the crucial first-mover advantage to fly high in the global arena,” said Ng, the deputy chairman of Sino Land.
Beijing plans to turn the Greater Bay Area into a sprawling economic region reminiscent of Tokyo or San Francisco, integrating special zones Macau and Hong Kong more intimately with nine other mainland cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhongshan.
The charity has so far raised HK$100 million (US$12.9 million) from local enterprises and businessmen and has the backing of the Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund. The investment fund was formed in 2018 by a group of mainland and Hong Kong enterprises, chaired by China Resources Group chairman Fu Yuning, with the aim of investing in hi-tech projects in the Greater Bay Area.
It supports various talent incubation schemes run by not-for-profit organisations and provides free AI courses for secondary school students.
Given the growing importance of social media, the foundation has funded the Travel ‘Vlogger’ New Media Training Project organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, wherein participants travel to various cities in the Greater Bay Area and receive training in video-shooting and editing.
Ng said that the social unrest, coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions between Hong Kong and China had slowed the foundation’s activities, but they plan to step up activity this year. He said that some 100 local businesses have committed to support the foundation’s projects and provide guidance and counselling to youth in diverse subjects, from creative product development and new media, to sustainable applications.
Other activities include sending youth to gain work experience at Flow Farm & Sanctuary, an experiential farm and animal sanctuary in Zhongshan, set up by Justine Kwok. They will work at the farm for several months and their salaries will be paid by the foundation.
Flow Farm itself is a showcase of the unlimited potential in the bay area, a region with a population of over 72 million and a gross domestic product of around US$1.7 trillion, according to Ng.
Kwok, 41, set up the animal sanctuary in 2018 after the former fashion designer for such brands as Diane von Furstenberg found animals and nature gave her satisfaction and not designing clothes.
“Our revenues come from paid visits from families and organisations who want to experience organic farming and learn about nature,” said Kwok. The farm also provides team building programmes and training courses for Hong Kong and mainland companies.
Like many Hongkongers, Kwok had preconceived notions about China before starting her farm.
“I never thought that I would have a farm in Zhongshan,” said Kwok, who went to the US to study at the age of 12 and returned to Hong Kong few years ago.
“People here are nice and the government is supportive. There are opportunities in the GBA and young people need to look further afield from Hong Kong,” she said.
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