CB students win ACCA business competition

A team of four CB undergraduate students has won the ACCA Hong Kong Business Competition for 2013. The team, Daniel Chan Yuk-leung, Anika Cheng Tsz-kwan, Gordon Leung Kong-sang, and Florence Lee Hoi-ling, wanted to do something for dental care in the poorer, elderly sections of the community – in Hong Kong's sprawling public housing estates. They proposed a project Crescent Moon-Mobile Dental Clinic.

"We believe that a reasonable price, reliable services provided by registered dentists, and convenient services offered by our mobile clinic can attract the patronage of senior citizens," said team leader, Anika.

The project included careful cost projections with dental checking fees as low as HKD 88.

The team had certainly identified a problem. The current perception is that public dental services are inadequate, expensive and less effective than those provided at private dental clinics. With a limited service capacity, and neighbourhood dental clinics typically only open once or twice per week, some elderly are queuing up for tickets from 3am in the morning. At the same time the number of elderly is burgeoning – as much as 43% in the New Territories. Against this background private dental services are seen as expensive and the only alternative – mainland dental services – means a long trip and uncertain quality. Over half of respondents reported that high fees were the main reason for not getting immediate dental checks. The results are predictable: loss of teeth, declining ability to speak clearly, and an overall deterioration of life quality.

Mentor and Senior Teaching Fellow of the Department of Accountancy, Mr David Ip said, "The students put in a tremendous effort to identify a business proposition which addressed a real problem faced by the Hong Kong elderly. They conducted extensive interviews with the target elderly population in the public housing estates near the University campus."

The project took as its general aim the increase of well being amongst the elderly. Physical and mental health can be improved by offering an affordable and accessible dental service. A feature of the service was to reach out to the poorer elderly communities and come right into their housing estates, parking the mobile van beside the existing community centres. The service is designed to be flexible and friendly, and offered in a hospitable and relaxing environment.

The project was carefully budgeted down to the actual prices that the elderly customers would be charged. If it is brought to fruition, it should result in more than healthier teeth - it will also enable the elderly to enjoy the taste of food again, and give them more chances to network and make friends.

Congratulations to our CB team! With its mixture of idealism and pragmatism, this project makes the future looks just that bit brighter for the Hong Kong elderly community.

From left: DBA graduates Yi-liang Tan & Jianrong Luo