Mrs Rebecca CHOY YUNG
Chair, Organising Committee of Social Enterprise Summit
I would like to extend the warmest welcome to you to the 12th Social Enterprise Summit.
2019 has been a challenging year. It is also a year to initiate change so that we can help shape the world into a better place for future generations. Recent unprecedented events in different parts of the world, especially in Hong Kong, highlights an increasing need to identify innovative solutions through alternative models, agents and institutions. Social innovation can pave the way to develop fundamental changes based on strong social values such as empathy, resilience etc; and engage with people from all walks of life to reduce conflicts, embrace diversity and inclusion.
Our theme this year is "Designing for Happiness". It may seem pretty remote to talk about happiness at this point in time. But it is especially during these tough times that happiness, or wellbeing, of the society matters more than ever. While negative emotions – like fear and anger – supports our innate defence mechanism to avoid danger, positive emotions – like optimism and hope – help us to stay engaged with each other and learn to cope when things go wrong.
Happiness is more than just about feeling good. It is a state of physical and mental wellbeing. Whether we're going through the best of times or the worst of times, happiness encourages us to embrace a new mindset, and explore different ways to formulate effective strategies that can contribute towards the well-being of our communities. It also helps us look further into the future, to see and understand things from different angles, and to open our minds up for possibilities. Since 2008, this Summit has all along been promoting dialogues and collaboration between different sectors of society and governments. I appeal to all of you to look beyond the present, and work together to explore innovative ways to rebuild our society.
This year, we will look at the design of different types of social innovation that are practical, scalable and sustainable over 4 different tracks. We will rethink capitalism and ways to redesign business and financial models; third we will discuss new designs for social inclusion and fourth we will examine cross-sector collaboration through different means.
The international symposium brings together over 80 speakers from 15 countries and areas. These thought leaders and practitioners will discuss the future of social innovation and how we can co-create a positive impact between Hong Kong, Asia and the rest of the world. Even though some speakers are unable to travel to Hong Kong, their presence will still be felt through pre-recorded video messages, which will be played during the summit. The workshops and events held on the last day is specially designed to bring positivity and wider perspectives for aspiring young social innovators. Delegates are more than welcome to join us at a series of roundtable discussions and dialogues, including the "Asia Youth Entrepreneurship Exchange", where 10 young leaders will identify challenges and explore ways to collaborate for a better future.
What's more, I'm excited to share with you that our community programmes have expanded to include seven districts in Hong Kong, with Kwai Tsing being the newest addition. Between July and November this year, carefully designed activities, such as the Social Entrepreneurship Labs, the Community Carnival, STEM Education Bazaar and various school talks were held at all participating districts. These activities have enabled community innovators and the average citizens to engage in dialogues and collaborations, exercising the role that communities can play in social change.
On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to express our heartiest gratitude to the unfailing support of the Home Affairs Bureau and the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund of the HK Government, our advisors, sponsors, co-organizers, partners and supporting organizations. It is only with your encouragement and commitment that we could make this year's Summit and community programmes possible. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you who are here today. I am very happy to see so many like-minded companions who care about the well-being of our society. So please give yourselves and the person next to you a big applause.