NUR­TUR­ING GIFTED DE­SIGN­ERS

China Daily (Canada) - - HONGKONG -

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

USB Ball­pi­oint pen, a prod­uct cre­ated by ten De­sign Sta­tionery, is to push the body shape to the slimmest limit against the width of a USB flash.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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