Every summer, most parents are busy planning on activities to enrich the summer holiday for their children. This year, the HKMA’s Fintech Facilitation Office (FFO) was also busy with summer projects, which were two summer programmes for nurturing fintech talents. We had spent a very innovative and energetic summer with the participants.
MEFTI organised with the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node
The more recent event was the inaugural MIT Entrepreneurship and FinTech Integrator (MEFTI) startup bootcamp, organised by the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node and supported by the FFO as a strategic partner. After an open application process, 12 MIT students and 14 local university students were chosen to participate in a one-week intensive training to prepare themselves as future fintech entrepreneurs.
Needless to say, the MIT is world-renowned for its research. One of the purposes of the MEFTI startup bootcamp is to enhance students’ understanding and awareness of fintech. In addition to using teaching materials from the MIT business school, the bootcamp invited experts from the fintech industry to share their experience in the application of artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data for better customer services. After grasping the basics of technology, students learnt how to raise funds in order to better equip themselves for starting their own business in the future. The HKMA also gave the students a briefing on financial regulations in Hong Kong. This helped the students to understand that compliance with regulations is as important as devising a viable business plan.
This week-long startup bootcamp was much more intensive than their regular school days. The schedule was filled up with various activities from 9:00am to 10:00pm each day. There were thematic workshops, sharing sessions by industry experts, group discussions as well as a short trip to Shenzhen to visit fintech firms. On the last day of the bootcamp, students had to take part in a competition on devising a business plan based on what they had learnt during the week. As one of the judges, I was impressed by the students’ boundless creativity and deeply moved by their enthusiasm for fintech.
Shenzhen Fintech Summer Internship Programme
The other summer project of the FFO was the Shenzhen Fintech Summer Internship Programme (Programme). Under the Programme, 50 tertiary students in Hong Kong were assigned to eight leading fintech firms in Shenzhen for a six-week internship. The participating companies and students were very pleased with the overall arrangement. More importantly, the interns got the chance to acquire on-the-job training in the fintech world. During the graduation ceremony of the Programme, I found it heartening to learn that one of the students from business major was assigned with a computer programming task. Albeit without technical background, the student managed to go home with a fresh new skill acquired through the on-the-job training. Apart from learning day-to-day hands-on skills from the workplaces, the students also had the opportunity to experience the life style and ecosystem in Shenzhen, such as the even more congested train compartments during peak hours than those in Hong Kong and a higher degree of reliance on mobile payments in their daily life.
These two “summer projects” reflect Hong Kong’s strength in fintech. On the one hand, we partner with world-renowned colleges in organising startup bootcamps in Hong Kong, broadening the global perspectives of local students. On the other hand, Hong Kong is conveniently located just next to Shenzhen, which is also dubbed the “Silicon Valley of China.” By leveraging the internship experience in Shenzhen, local students can better prepare for closer integration in fintech development within the Greater Bay Area in the future.
Undoubtedly, the global fintech industry has strong demand for talents. When meeting with industry stakeholders from time to time, I was often told that Hong Kong needs to have more fintech talents. In this regard, the HKMA has always been playing a proactive role in nurturing local fintech talents that are well-versed with both theory and practical experiences, thereby building fintech career pathways for young people in Hong Kong and developing a more comprehensive fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong.
At the inaugural startup bootcamp organised by the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, known as the MIT Entrepreneurship and FinTech Integrator, students rack their brains to come up with innovative and practical startup plans.
Chief Fintech Officer
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
13 September 2018