Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVhk)¹ is a “social purpose organization” founded in 2007 to address Hong Kong’s most pressing urban problems through social innovation and entrepreneurship. It employs a unique “dual-engine” model:
1) providing venture philanthropy funding and non- nancial support to mature and grow high-impact social ventures; and 2) operating its own charitable organization promoting social innovation culture and incubating innovative social solutions in Hong Kong.
RS Group was one of the founding supporters of SVhk, because we identified with the vision of its founder, Francis Ngai. We were also confident that the organization could play an important role in bringing innovation to Hong Kong’s social sector, where we saw a need for more creative and entrepreneurial approaches. In addition to financial support, we leveraged our own connections to provide knowledge, networking, and mentoring support to SVhk and its social entrepreneurs.
In the years since our initial investment in 2010, SVhk has successfully incubated a number of local social enterprises that have grown into leading social enterprises in the city and beyond, including Diamond Cab² and Green Monday³. This in turn has provided proof of concept required for the growth of venture philanthropy in Hong Kong. Additionally, SVhk has been successful in introducing and promoting the concept of social innovation in different sectors, including corporates, academia, government and NGOs, which has had a catalytic effect on the development of Hong Kong’s social sector.
In addition to supporting SVhk, RS Group also provided direct support for Light Be˜, one of SVhk’s incubated social enterprises and an innovative affordable housing initiative in Hong Kong. As Light Be required a residential property to pilot its scheme, RS Group deployed the real assets under our ownership, and provided the first “Light Home” in 2013, followed by two additional properties in early 2014. To date, Light Be has a portfolio of more than 30 “Light Homes” supporting 190 under-privileged individuals, and has also received government approval to revive and manage an under-utilized 45-unit property as a “Light Building.”