NURTURING GIFTED DESIGNERS
The Hong Kong government, as well as many nongovernmental institutions, is committed to promoting the city’s creative-and-design industry in order to diversify the economy and give young entrepreneurs a shot in the arm, says Edmund Lee, executive director of the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC).
As a design promotion agency, the HKDC’s mission is to make the city Asia’s “design capital”, while continuing to enhance its influence in the design industry in the region, Lee told China Daily.
“We attach great importance to uplifting and furthering entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, and we’re doing everything to nurture young design talents,” he said.
The HKDC sends local young designers abroad regularly for internships in famous design studios or educational institutions, Lee said, adding that it is also running incubators at InnoCentre in Kowloon Tong, which aims to attract the best local and international names in design to one location.
“There are 50 young design entrepreneurs who currently have stores or studios at InnoCentre with government subsidy,” he said.
“The rents at InnoCentre are very low, while we also provide them with mentorship to help them in branding, marketing and prototyping,” said Lee.
The HKDC has also launched the PMQ (revitalized Police Married Quarters) as a new creative address in the city, providing another platform for nurturing entrepreneurship and boosting brand building.
To encourage more young designers to pursue their career in the industry, the HKDC has been presenting “Design For Asia” awards every year for the past decade.
“With our help, a few young designers have already achieved some success,” Lee said. “Right now at InnoCentre, we have a ceramic product designer who, despite in an early stage in her career, is good enough to attract topend retailers’ attention, like Lane Crawford.”
He said InnoCentre is currently helping the ceramic designer to establish a partnership and expand her network. Lee there are also other young designers at InnoCentre, who design gifts and souvenirs embedded with Chinese culture, as well as fashion and accessories designers who are establishing their own fashion lines. Some of them have already secured partnerships with famous fashion brands.
But Lee warns that, just like starting a business in any industry, getting a business in the design industry off the ground can be a very tough job.
“You need to be very good in your profession that includes, at least, a continuous learning attitude. If you don’t have that mindset to keep improving yourself and exposing yourself to new knowledge, you won’t succeed,” he advised.
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Edmund Lee, executive director of Hong Kong Design Centre, says the Hong Kong government plans to promote the city’s creative and design industry to help young entrepreneurs.