SIE Fund makes dreams come true

November 13, 2022

The Government established the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) with the aim of enhancing cross-sectoral collaboration to address poverty and social exclusion. The SIE Fund provides economic resources to support innovative projects of different types and development stages, such as a shared kitchen and an online channel for the elderly.


Sharing Kitchen HK, a social enterprise, is one of the funded projects. Founder Dodo Cheng met many grassroots people who were good at cooking, but lacked the know-how and capital to run a business. That was the inspiration behind why he and his partner set up the organisation and came up with the idea of the sharing economy model to help those in need of such assistance.


Shared kitchen benefits


Supported by the SIE Fund, Mr Cheng said Sharing Kitchen HK opened a co-cooking workspace in Tsuen Wan, licensed by the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department.


“Our co-cooking space is around 370 sq m. It includes both cooking and storage space and enables 25 groups of home chefs to work at the same time.”


Mr Cheng described the kitchen as having two roles.


“Firstly, we ensure all products produced by our home chefs meet food safety requirements. Secondly, we try to help them to match their products with the target market.”


Building personal brand from talent


Niki Leung enjoyed making desserts since childhood, as well as sharing her baked goodies with others. While she would like to start her own food business, she stated that raising capital is the main problem.


“If I open a licensed food factory in Hong Kong, I think I need to invest as much as $300,000.


“I do not want to make such an investment because I am not sure if there are enough customers to buy my products.”


Nevertheless, Miss Leung’s dream came true earlier this year when she was able to rent a kitchen at a much lower cost through Sharing Kitchen HK. She expressed that she is excited about building her own personal brand by making and selling her pastries.


“I am very happy that I can use my skills to earn money. When I used to make desserts at home, my family would not eat all of them, so I felt bad that the food was being wasted.


“Even though there are not many orders for my baked goods right now, I can use the income to buy more ingredients to make a variety of sweets.”


Lam Lin-ying is one of the original home chefs and she has prepared her own brand of fruit tea in the shared kitchen.


“Our tea product is mainly a wholesale item for restaurants. While eateries require a large quantity, the wholesale price is low. As a result, the income from the product is not enough to cover living expenses, but the extra money helps.”


Never too old to learn


The fact is, as long as you have the appropriate support to help cultivate your dreams and innovative ideas, it is possible to think outside of the box at any age.


KOElderly is a video channel for seniors. John Cheung came up with the idea a few years ago while studying in college. With financial support from the SIE Fund, he has been able to buy video camera equipment and provide funding to help train the elderly featured on the channel.


“We have no restrictions on the topics. The goal of the channel’s content is to help the elderly learn something new. One such example is teaching seniors how to become food delivery people.


“Witnessing seniors take on roles dedicated to the younger generation is in stark contrast to what people are used to seeing. On the other hand, if we did not give them a chance to try something new, they may not try such experiences on their own.”


Empowering seniors


Ben became an elderly key opinion leader (KOL), one of the hosts of KOElderly, after he met Mr Cheung some years ago.


He explained that joining the channel has encouraged him to broaden his horizons by trying new things that keep him active and in touch with the younger generation.


“We do not want to step outside our comfort zone when we become older. Seniors feel more comfortable when everything remains the same. But I wanted to diversify my life and better connect with young people.


“I was able to play the claw machine in a plaza and was given $200 to taste different snacks. This video is one of the examples we play on our channel. This is an experience I never tried before.”


Mr Cheung added that he has witnessed seniors undergo a positive transformation by way of the training.


“Once the training is complete, while the elderly do not have to remain in the role of a KOL, they do exhibit added self-confidence and can express themselves more easily.”


The Government has funded, via the SIE Fund that was established in 2013, a total of 433 projects. As of September this year, over 320,000 people have benefitted from such projects and nearly 85%, or 368 projects, derive from innovative programmes.

Back to top