Compass contest gives start-ups free office space

HONG KONG: A new private sector campaign is offering free office space in the city's prime locations, helping small entrepreneurs with their dreams

Launching a start-up business is no easy feat, especially in Hong Kong, one of the world's most expensive cities in terms of office rentals.

Compass Offices, a Hong Kong-based serviced office provider, is inviting applicants to present innovative business plans as part of its competition for entrepreneurs.

The top three submissions will receive free serviced office space for six months in a Compass location, and capital investment of up to HK$10 million (RM4.18 million) in total.

"As founders of start-up companies, we understand the need entrepreneurs and small businesses have for a supportive and flexible business environment," said Andrew Chung, founder and chairman of Compass.

Chung recalled in 1997 when he set up his first company without any help. The office had no window, and no fax machine.

"It is daunting," Chung said. "With the low tax rate, Hong Kong is among the best places in the world to start a business, and we want to do our part."

Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and whether it offers attractive and realistic business opportunities and good growth potential. The deadline is August 8.

"This is a win-win situation, we can gain profits in the investments of good start-ups."

Chung said Compass was one of the businesses he incubated.

Founded in October 2009, Compass has six serviced offices in Central and two in Singapore.

"The competition is to draw people that we don't know," said Chung, who was born and educated in Britain, where he originally trained and qualified as a chartered accountant before joining KPMG in Hong Kong.

Last year, the market leader in the sector, Regus Group of Britain, also offered free use of its business centres in an investment worth up to £10 million (RM48.1 million). -- South China Morning Post

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