These startup champions are ready to build a new Hong Kong

The 2021 City I&T Grand Challenge was the first pitch competition of its kind in Hong Kong, featuring cash prizes of up to HKD 200,000 for champions and HKD 30,000 for innovation award winners. The theme of this year’s competition was “Innovating for a New Normal,” which was divided into two subthemes, namely Environmental Sustainability and Social Connectivity.

Two champions and thirteen innovation award winners were chosen for the open group and university/tertiary institute group categories of the pitch competition. Winners from four categories were chosen out of over 740 submissions with participants ranging from primary school all the way to university and professional levels.

In the open group, Augmented Reality startup StorytellAR won the championship for Social Connectivity, while Food Transmarter, a food waste liquefaction solution conceived by Dr Anthony Ma and his team, won first place for Environmental Sustainability. In the university/tertiary institute group, bread beer startup Breer took home champion of Environmental Sustainability, while camera-based remote health monitoring solution PanopticHealth won the champion of Social Connectivity.

Also read: B2B platform Komachine on a mission to transform the industrial machine industry

At the award presentation ceremony on October 16th, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, highlighted the importance of investing in the city’s startup scene.

“In the past four years, the HKSAR Government has adopted an eight-pronged approach to developing I&T,” Lam said.

“So far, the Government has allocated over HK$130 billion to implement various projects. The I&T development in Hong Kong is highly recognised and supported by the Central Government [of China]. In particular, the National 14th Five-Year Plan supports Hong Kong to develop as an international I&T hub.”

Environmental sustainability with Breer

Environmental Sustainability championship winner Breer was born out of a love for craft beer and a desire to reduce food waste. Founded by Anushka Prohit, Deevansh Gupta, Naman Tekriwal, and Suyash Mohan, students from HKUST, Breer is a food upcycling startup that converts surplus bread into a high-quality pale ale.

In her interview with E27, CEO and Co-founder Prohit enthusiastically explained the market gap she sought to fill with Breer, “Hong Kong wastes 3600 tonnes of food every day, and 47% of store-disposed food is leftover bread.”

“Landfill capacity for the city is expected to be exhausted by the end of this year. Simultaneously, we are a city that loves our beer: we consume 30+ billion litres of beer annually. We wanted to bridge this problem gap and market opportunity together — making Hong Kong’s first sustainable bread beer.”

Also read: B2B platform Komachine on a mission to transform the industrial machine industry

By replacing barley in the beer mash with bread, Breer has been able to turn Hong Kong’s food waste issue into fuel for celebration. Breer Pale Ale, the brand’s first brew, is already available in over 30 stores, shops, and taprooms around Hong Kong. However, the Breer team has bigger plans for the brand.

“We are already in talks with the judges from the competition and our mentors on how we can improve our pitch, and how to scale distribution around Hong Kong,” said Prohit.

“[We] are also currently working on creating our new product variant, most likely an India Pale Ale! This will be lighter in alcohol by volume, but another delicious accompaniment to the Breer Pale Ale.”

Social connectivity with StorytellAR

StorytellAR, pronounced “storyteller,” is an Augmented Reality-based (AR-based) learning platform designed to seamlessly merge online and offline learning. An edtech product of Hong Kong startup ConnectAR, StorytellAR implements computer vision technology to superimpose audio recordings, videos, and other interactive material onto displays of traditional learning materials on a user’s smartphone.

Founded by AR industry veteran Leo Lau, StorytellAR garnered the appreciation of judges and eventually won the championship of Social Connectivity in the open group category. Lau, a serial entrepreneur and former IBM executive, created the platform to bridge online and offline materials for students struggling with remote learning during the early days of COVID-19.

He believes that AR has the potential to contribute to education in Hong Kong’s new normal. According to Lau, StorytellAR is “designed specifically to connect offline learning materials seamlessly with interactive digital content.”

“Unlike other learning platforms, StoryTellAR helps students and teachers achieve better learning in the new normal by complementing real-time Zoom classes with our non-real-time platform. [We do this by] leveraging existing textbooks and workbooks, allowing teachers to personalise classes for individual students to save time.”

Building a new Hong Kong, together

Beyond upcycled beer and AR learning aids, the myriad entries at the City I&T Grand Challenge showcased a spirit of innovation among Hong Kong’s youth. Nearly 95% of contestants were native Hong Kongers, with the remaining 5% hailing from economies including Mainland China, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Also read: How the construction industry got “smart” and cleaned up its impact

Dr Sunny Chai, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the HKSTP voiced his support for Hong Kong’s next generation of innovators, stating that, “HKSTP firmly believes attracting and nurturing I&T talents are critical for supporting the development of Hong Kong into a world-leading I&T hub.”

“We have been striving to provide opportunities to local youngsters who aspire to become our future I&T leaders by leveraging the strengths of our combined network of government, industry, academic and research partners. The City I&T Grand Challenge is a great example of our partnership with the Government and has proven to be an effective and inspirational showcase of our growing I&T talents.”

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This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by HKSTP

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post These startup champions are ready to build a new Hong Kong appeared first on e27.

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The 2021 City I&T Grand Challenge was the first pitch competition of its kind in Hong Kong, featuring cash prizes of up to HKD 200,000 for champions and HKD 30,000 for innovation award winners. The theme of this year’s competition was “Innovating for a New Normal,” which was divided into two subthemes, namely Environmental Sustainability and Social Connectivity.

Two champions and thirteen innovation award winners were chosen for the open group and university/tertiary institute group categories of the pitch competition. Winners from four categories were chosen out of over 740 submissions with participants ranging from primary school all the way to university and professional levels.

In the open group, Augmented Reality startup StorytellAR won the championship for Social Connectivity, while Food Transmarter, a food waste liquefaction solution conceived by Dr Anthony Ma and his team, won first place for Environmental Sustainability. In the university/tertiary institute group, bread beer startup Breer took home champion of Environmental Sustainability, while camera-based remote health monitoring solution PanopticHealth won the champion of Social Connectivity.

Also read: B2B platform Komachine on a mission to transform the industrial machine industry

At the award presentation ceremony on October 16th, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, highlighted the importance of investing in the city’s startup scene.

“In the past four years, the HKSAR Government has adopted an eight-pronged approach to developing I&T,” Lam said.

“So far, the Government has allocated over HK$130 billion to implement various projects. The I&T development in Hong Kong is highly recognised and supported by the Central Government [of China]. In particular, the National 14th Five-Year Plan supports Hong Kong to develop as an international I&T hub.”

Environmental sustainability with Breer

Environmental Sustainability championship winner Breer was born out of a love for craft beer and a desire to reduce food waste. Founded by Anushka Prohit, Deevansh Gupta, Naman Tekriwal, and Suyash Mohan, students from HKUST, Breer is a food upcycling startup that converts surplus bread into a high-quality pale ale.

In her interview with E27, CEO and Co-founder Prohit enthusiastically explained the market gap she sought to fill with Breer, “Hong Kong wastes 3600 tonnes of food every day, and 47% of store-disposed food is leftover bread.”

“Landfill capacity for the city is expected to be exhausted by the end of this year. Simultaneously, we are a city that loves our beer: we consume 30+ billion litres of beer annually. We wanted to bridge this problem gap and market opportunity together — making Hong Kong’s first sustainable bread beer.”

Also read: B2B platform Komachine on a mission to transform the industrial machine industry

By replacing barley in the beer mash with bread, Breer has been able to turn Hong Kong’s food waste issue into fuel for celebration. Breer Pale Ale, the brand’s first brew, is already available in over 30 stores, shops, and taprooms around Hong Kong. However, the Breer team has bigger plans for the brand.

“We are already in talks with the judges from the competition and our mentors on how we can improve our pitch, and how to scale distribution around Hong Kong,” said Prohit.

“[We] are also currently working on creating our new product variant, most likely an India Pale Ale! This will be lighter in alcohol by volume, but another delicious accompaniment to the Breer Pale Ale.”

Social connectivity with StorytellAR

StorytellAR, pronounced “storyteller,” is an Augmented Reality-based (AR-based) learning platform designed to seamlessly merge online and offline learning. An edtech product of Hong Kong startup ConnectAR, StorytellAR implements computer vision technology to superimpose audio recordings, videos, and other interactive material onto displays of traditional learning materials on a user’s smartphone.

Founded by AR industry veteran Leo Lau, StorytellAR garnered the appreciation of judges and eventually won the championship of Social Connectivity in the open group category. Lau, a serial entrepreneur and former IBM executive, created the platform to bridge online and offline materials for students struggling with remote learning during the early days of COVID-19.

He believes that AR has the potential to contribute to education in Hong Kong’s new normal. According to Lau, StorytellAR is “designed specifically to connect offline learning materials seamlessly with interactive digital content.”

“Unlike other learning platforms, StoryTellAR helps students and teachers achieve better learning in the new normal by complementing real-time Zoom classes with our non-real-time platform. [We do this by] leveraging existing textbooks and workbooks, allowing teachers to personalise classes for individual students to save time.”

Building a new Hong Kong, together

Beyond upcycled beer and AR learning aids, the myriad entries at the City I&T Grand Challenge showcased a spirit of innovation among Hong Kong’s youth. Nearly 95% of contestants were native Hong Kongers, with the remaining 5% hailing from economies including Mainland China, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Also read: How the construction industry got “smart” and cleaned up its impact

Dr Sunny Chai, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the HKSTP voiced his support for Hong Kong’s next generation of innovators, stating that, “HKSTP firmly believes attracting and nurturing I&T talents are critical for supporting the development of Hong Kong into a world-leading I&T hub.”

“We have been striving to provide opportunities to local youngsters who aspire to become our future I&T leaders by leveraging the strengths of our combined network of government, industry, academic and research partners. The City I&T Grand Challenge is a great example of our partnership with the Government and has proven to be an effective and inspirational showcase of our growing I&T talents.”

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by HKSTP

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post These startup champions are ready to build a new Hong Kong appeared first on e27.

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