Impact

Incubator

FAQ

Reappointed as an Intermediary of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund in early 2020 , the Hong Kong Council of Social Service which operates the Impact Incubator, is a one-stop platform that connects social innovation implementers (SIIs) to knowledge, resources and networks relevant to social welfare agencies, social enterprises, philanthropic foundations, business associations and professional bodies. This platform helps SIIs implement innovative solutions to poverty and social exclusion problems in Hong Kong and drive sustainable impact. During the five years fro 2015 to early 2020, the Impact Incubator supported over 100 social innovation projects, which benefitted more than 22,000 beneficiaries. The Impact Incubator facilitated around HKD100 million grant funding, on behalf of the SIE Fund. Social innovative projects at late prototype, start-up, growing and scale-up stages are eligible to apply.

Approved projects will benefit from a ‘7 Pillars Incubation Package’ which equips social entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and knowledge to better implement their project ideas.

SKILL-BASED TRAINING AND NETWORKING

The Impact Incubator regularly organises a series of business clinics, social innovators’ networking sessions and tutorial classes. Incubatees and the general public can participate in these sessions. Through the participation in these sessions, social entrepreneurs and project practitioners can benefit from mutual sharing of experience and knowledge with our partners and other participants.

Business Clinics

Based on our incubatees’ specific needs, the Impact Incubator will organise essential business skills training. These generally comprise legal, accounting and financial management, and marketing knowledge.

Social Innovators’ Networking Sessions

The latest trends and information of selected topics will be shared during the social innovators’ networking sessions. Incubatees, NGO practitioners, social policy practitioners and other related stakeholders will be invited to join these exchange sessions to share their observations and new solutions. Through these networking sessions, we also aim to connect incubatees to useful resources and business partners.

Tutorial Classes

These tutorial classes allow incubatees to better understand the progress reports and financial reporting requirements and format, as required by the SIE Fund every six months. These classes will share specific insight.

*It is compulsory for incubatees to attend at least one business clinic or one social innovators’ networking session, and one tutorial class during the funding period.

TAILOR-MADE CONSULTATION SUPPORT

Consultation support

Tailor-made consultation support will be provided to incubatees. Experienced business and sector consultants will offer strategic advice and hands-on solutions. Approved late prototype projects will benefit from 20 hours’ consultation support. Approved projects at start-up, growing and scale-up stages will benefit from 50 hours’ consultation support.

Support from Impact Incubator team

The Impact Incubator team will offer not only administrative support but also specific consultancy services, particularly on project structuring and management.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT SUPPORT

There will be regular social impact assessment workshops. It is compulsory for incubatees to attend these workshops, so that they will understand more about their projects’ social impact and gain overall knowledge about social impact assessment. We will also compile an impact assessment question bank and implement an impact assessment support scheme for our incubatees. Through participating in these activities, incubatees will understand how to present their projects’ impact to their stakeholders.

NETWORKING WITH FUNDERS AND INVESTORS

There will be a pitching event each year, with potential funders / investors invited as panel judges. Selected incubatees will be invited to pitch their projects to the panel. Hence, incubatees will receive relevant advice and suggestions from the panel to improve their projects.

PRO-BONO AND LOW-BONO BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES

We have an extensive network of corporations and professional organisations who are eager to offer business advice to incubatees. We also have strong connections with industry experts which can refer useful connections to incubatees.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

The Impact Incubator team will provide constant support and tutorial classes to the incubatees. Based on incubatees’ specific needs, we will aim to refer incubatees to useful resources, such as company secretarial services, audit firm and other relevant business networks.

MEDIA AND MARKETING

Suitable incubatees may be featured in the HKCSS Channel, which will be shared with our members, partners and collaborators. We will also invite suitable incubatees to attend various events organised by HKCSS and the SIE Fund Secretariat to present their projects and exchange with other related stakeholders. We will also share incubatees’ key features and updates with our major partners, either via our website or other on-line channels.

The Impact Incubator accepts all applications, which align with the funding objectives of the SIE Fund to prevent and alleviate poverty and social exclusion.

The SIE Fund will fund projects at different stages of development, including Late Prototype, Start-up, Growing and Scale-up. Eligible applications are those made by individuals (which is only applicable to Late Prototype projects), by organisations, or companies limited by guarantee or shares, and are registered in Hong Kong.

ELIGIBILITY

LATE PROTOTYPE

Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 years or above, or organisations and companies limited by guarantee or limited by shares, and registered in Hong Kong

START-UP

Organisations and companies limited by guarantee or limited by shares, and registered in Hong Kong

GROWING

Organisations and companies limited by guarantee or limited by shares, and registered in Hong Kong

SCALE-UP

Organisations and companies limited by guarantee or limited by shares, and registered in Hong Kong

Projects at different stages of development, will have different funding requirements over variable funding period. These are:

  • Late Prototype projects are eligible for a maximum* grant of HKD 300,000. The maximum project period is 18 months.
  • Start-up, growing and scale-up projects are not subject to a funding cap. However, a 50% matching fund^ is required for each of these categories. The maximum project period is 3 years for all three stages.

*If the budget exceeds HKD200,000, an in-person interview will be conducted

^The matching Fund excludes SIE Fund and all other HKSAR Government funding. It can be in-cash or in-kind. The matching fund amount will be subject to relevant terms and conditions and require prior written approval.

Each of Late Prototype, Start-up, Growing and Scale-up is briefly explained below:

LATE PROTOTYPE

A social project or social enterprise with a solid prototype that has been alpha-tested. The project’s owner/founder intends to commercialise and launch the prototype to market.

START-UP

A social project or social enterprise whose prototype has already been tested and launched to market. The project’s owner/founder has a business model to support the project.

GROWING

A social project or social enterprise which has demonstrated a track record in performance and social impact with recurring income, and has potential for steady growth.

SCALE-UP

A social project or social enterprise which has already demonstrated impact and sustainability. The project’s owner/ founder has a commercial framework to further develop and scale the business.

We accept applications registered in an individual's name (this is only applicable to Late Prototype applications), in an organisation's or a company's name. The Impact Incubator aims to target the following:

  • Social entrepreneurs who aim to adopt sustainable business solutions to address poverty and social exclusion issues.
  • Social intra-preneurs from the NGO or private sectors, who aim to mobilise internal resources for social good
  • Social innovators who aim to adopt creative approaches to addressing social needs

The Impact Incubator accepts applications all year round, from February 2020 to June 2022. Applicants can register an online account on the Impact Incubator's website, and submit their proposals and required documents through the online system. Please contact usif there are any enquiries.

Yes. Applications in the name of individual, organisation or a company registered in Hong Kong will be accepted. Please refer to Question 4.

Social enterprises with business models or social innovation programmes without business models are welcome to apply to the Impact Incubator. Please refer to Question 7.

All applications will be assessed and evaluated by the Impact Incubator team, Joint Vetting Committee and/or Proposal Assessment Committee. Vetting criteria includes:

  • Vision and social impact
  • Project management and execution
  • Innovativeness
  • Team Capability
  • Cost Effectiveness

All individuals and/or interested parties are welcome to join Impact Incubator’s training programmes, however, priority will be given to successful incubatees.

When applicants submit applications for Start-up, Growing and Scale-up projects, they will be required to secure not less than 50% of their total funds applied as matching funds, before their application is accepted. The ratio of grant funding applied to matching funds is 1:1.

In general, matching funds mean any initial capital, excluding SIE Fund and other HKSAR Government funding. Matching funds can be in-cash or in-kind e.g. rental and equipment sponsorship. The applicant should submit documents to support the in-kind valuation. The matching fund amount will be subject to relevant terms and condition and will be confirmed after approval.

If the matching fund comprises any in-kind sponsorship, applicants will need to provide documents or material to support the in-kind valuation. When the application is approved, applicants will need to provide a written commitment to evidence matching funds have been secured. Please also refer to Question 13.

When the incubatee signs the agreement with the Trustees of the SIE Fund, the incubatee will be required to deposit the matching fund amount (either in full or in part) into the incubatee’s designated account. This is required before SIE Fund disburses the SIE Fund grant.

The Impact Incubator team will aim to help shortlisted applicants solicit external funding sources for matching fund purposes. We do not guarantee success in each case, but we will endeavour to facilitate as much as possible.

The entire vetting time depends on the completeness of application materials submitted by the applicant (please check the document checklist). After the preliminary assessment, the applicant will receive an initial response, comment or suggestion from the relevant Vetting Committee. The applicant may also be required to revise the proposal, budget and/or to provide other supplementary documents. Generally, the applicant will receive an initial response or initial result by email, within 50-60 working days after the application deadline. However, this might take longer if the applicant’s documents are incomplete or there are additional queries during the vetting process.

In general, the SIE Fund grant funding can be used in 1) Capital expenditures and 2) Operating deficit. For further details, please refer to “How to apply – Funding Objectives”.

Successful incubatees should generally be self-sustainable. If the funded incubatee generates net profits during the funded project period, not less than 65% of the incubatee's distributable profits have to be re-invested into the business or project, with prior consent from the Impact Incubator team and the SIE Fund Task Force. Hence, no more than 35% of the funded incubatee's distributable profits can be distributed to the incubatee's shareholders.

Applicants have to submit all required documents and confirm that all information provided is valid. Otherwise the application will not be processed. The incubatee’s responsible project owner/management team has to sign the Grant Agreement with the Trustees of the SIE Fund and the Intermediary. The responsible project owner/management team is responsible for implementing the funded project according to the social and financial objectives stated in the signed agreement.

The agreement will list out detailed responsibilities eg the incubatee will be required to submit Progress / Final Reports and Financial Reports according to the schedules of the agreement.

REMARKS: based on the signed agreement version.

Please also refer to the document checklist for details. The following documents shall be required for an application:

  • Fully completed application form
  • Proposal
  • Budget Plan
  • Signed Declaration form (Declaring if the project is currently applying for, or accepting a grant from another government or another organisation)
  • Corporate governance (CG) plan (except for individual applicants)
  • Registration documents e.g. Business Registration Certificate, Certificate of Incorporation and Articles of Association, etc.
  • Documentary proof of matching funds and / or sponsorship from other sources (for Start-up, Growing and Scale-up stages)

The same business proposal cannot be re-submitted. However, we welcome the applicant submit a new proposal after making certain amendments.

Yes, the applicant can submit more than one application at any given time, but each application needs to be different.

Please feel free to contact us during the office hours (09:00-17:30) from Monday to Friday.

During the incubatee's funding period, each incubatee will be assigned an experienced consultant to support the funded project's progress and implementation plan. After the grant funding period ends, the Impact Incubator team will aim to provide appropriate support, subject to the incubatee's needs at that time.

If you have any enquiry, please contact us as follows.

Phone: 28762492
Email: info@socialinnovation.org.hk
Website: http://www.socialinnovation.org.hk

The Impact Incubator's office hours are from Monday to Friday (09:00-17:30). The office is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. To schedule a meeting, please contact us in advance.