TID's Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs Officially Opened
The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, today (January 24) encouraged local SMEs to make good use of innovative technology to enhance efficiency, to invest more in product research and marketing, and to develop their own brand names. He urged them to develop a vision to move beyond Hong Kong to establish a footing in the world.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Trade and Industry Department’s Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs (SUCCESS), Mr Tung said that globalisation, the emergence of knowledge-based economy, and China’s accession to the World Trade Organization had posed new challenges and opportunities to Hong Kong. To harness these opportunities, Hong Kong must restructure her economy and head for a high valued-added direction. To be successful in economic restructuring, SMEs will have a vital part to play.
Mr Tung said that SMEs played an essential role in stimulating economic growth and providing job opportunities. It is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s policy to support the development of SMEs, enabling them to bring full play to their strengths and sharpen their competitive edge, so as to open up new economic scopes and job opportunities for Hong Kong.
He said that in his Policy Address in October 2001, he had pledged to set up four funding schemes totalling $1.9 billion, namely the SME Business Installations and Equipment Loan Guarantee Scheme (BIG), the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF), the SME Development Fund, and the SME Training Fund. These schemes aim at helping SMEs to secure loans for the purchase of business installations and equipment, to help proprietors and staff to get appropriate training, to encourage businesses to strive for higher efficiency, to develop new brand names and products, and to explore markets outside Hong Kong so as to boost the overall competitiveness of Hong Kong.
The Chief Executive was delighted that local SMEs had responded positively to the funding schemes. He called upon SMEs and support organisations to make the best use of the four SME funding schemes, as well as the services at the SUCCESS. He thanked the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee for recommending to him in June last year these funding schemes and many other measures in support of SMEs.
He said, the opening of the SUCCESS illustrated the Government's determination and commitment to the further development of SMEs.
After officiating at the opening ceremony, the Chief Executive took the opportunity to meet members of the SME Committee, and six SME operators who have successfully applied for the BIG, and the EMF. Mr Tung then had a meeting with the SME Committee members and the six SME operators to exchange views on how to further enhance the business environment, employment, and the development of SMEs in Hong Kong.
The Director-General of Trade and Industry, Mr Joshua Law, said at the ceremony that, as at yesterday (January 23), a total of 534 applications were received under the BIG, EMF, and the SME Training Fund. Four hundred and sixteen of them have been approved, involving an amount of about $46 million Government guarantee or grants. The Trade and Industry Department is inviting the first tranche of applications for the SME Development Fund. The deadline for submitting applications is mid-February.
Mr. Law said that the SUCCESS had started operation in November last year, providing a wide range of information and consultation services to SMEs on starting and running businesses. He added that the Trade and Industry Department was committed to providing convenient and effective services to SMEs.
Occupying a total floor area of 300 square meters, SUCCESS is located at the M/F of the Trade and Industry Department Tower, 700 Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon (Mongkok MTR Station Exit B1). The following services are available:
* "Meet-the-Advisors" sessions, where business starters and SMEs can obtain professional advice on how to start and run an SME
* workshops and seminars
* information and advice on Government licensing requirements
* information on a comprehensive range of SME support programmes
* a reference library
* audio-visual reference materials
* free access to the Internet and electronic databases
* SME mentorship programme
* SME book fairs
Also, the Trade Development Council has set up an SME Service Station inside the Centre.
All services provided by SUCCESS are free of charge. It is open to the public from 9 am to 6 pm from Mondays to Fridays, and from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. The Centre is closed on Sundays and public holidays.
The Centre also runs a Virtual SME Information Centre (http://www.sme.gcn.gov.hk) and a Business Licence Information Service (http://www.info.gov.hk/licence) on the Internet.
For enquiries, please visit the Centre during its opening hours, call 2398 5133, or send e-mail to email@example.com (enquiries on business licences) and firstname.lastname@example.org (other enquiries).
End/Thursday, January 24, 2002