The road to entrepreneurship?

By Kevin Suen

BBA Information Management student, Kevin Suen Cheuk-wing, together with two other students from the College of Business, joined the Cyberport University Partnership Programme last year. The team won a cash grant of HK$100,000 with their fintech-focused project, Find2Play. Here is Kevin’s reflection over the competition and the Stanford Bootcamp provided for the finalists.

Startup, funding, entrepreneur… The words are everywhere at CityU these last few years. Every department and lecturer is encouraging students to think big, to think innovatively and to make an impact. I’m one of those being inspired to join the road to being an entrepreneur in my undergraduate life. Out of more than 100 teams from six local universities of the Cyberport University Partnership Programme 2017, our team was one of the 12 winning teams and being funded with HK$100,000 to make our fintech business idea come true.

Cyberport University Partnership Programme

CUPP is a well-designed fintech startup programme that allows teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students the opportunity to connect with management teams from leading financial firms and institutions, such as KPMG, DBS, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, etc. and develop their own fintech startup idea. With six months of seminars, workshops and one-on-one consultations, it‘s an extraordinary opportunity to gain invaluable insights and network with professionals.

Case studies come from all over the world. One UK startup used blockchain technology to certify the origin and authenticity of diamonds. Customers can ensure they are purchasing the right product along with an appropriately designed insurance plan. Throughout the programme there’s such an overwhelming amount of creative yet practical business innovation. It‘s really mind-crashing!

Stanford University Bootcamp

The Stanford Bootcamp was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me! All of the finalist teams enjoyed a 10-day boot camp training with no fees to pay at all. The campus environment was unbelievable, creating an amazing learning culture. Unlike traditional lecture-like teaching style, interactive communication is emphasized. All students are required to study case material provided in advance and lecturers will then discuss the case content by asking inspiring questions. After this I could see why Stanford is so well-known as an entrepreneur training hub.

Even better, they encourage failure. “It’s always OK to fail, and you should be happy if you fail. In fact, we should treasure all failures so we can learn from them.

This is what we call being an entrepreneur.” While students in Hong Kong are all attempting to “push the envelope” in order to gain a high GPA, Stanford teachers ask us to fail as much as we can! It sounds strange at first, but we all know entrepreneurship is about innovation, and success in innovation must come along with failures. This is how Stanford stands out from the crowd.

Entrepreneur or employee?

I believe this is one of the questions we all ask ourselves from time to time. The same question was raised by a media reporter during CUPP final presentation day. My answer was “why should we limit ourselves to choosing either being an entrepreneur or an employee? I don’t see there’s much difference between these two characters.” Mindset is the key to being successful, not titles. The entrepreneurial spirit I learned from Stanford is to consider a company’s needs and create innovative solutions beyond limitations, in order to add positive value to the company even if I’m just an employee.

This is what I call the mindset of an entrepreneur. There’s no best answer to decide whether to become a startup founder or an employee. The question is, how do we perceive ourselves and most importantly, what kind of future is desired and why.


I’m very positive about the future of fintech development and entrepreneur cultivation in Hong Kong. One of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's latest initiatives, “Enhanced research and talent development”, is very encouraging. Those buzzwords, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, etc. have already been integrated into our daily life. The matter of who is going to win the innovation race is down to time. Fintech startups are having the best moment in decades due to the increasing amount of funding availability nowadays. At the same time, it’s the most competitive era for startups as all kinds of talents are rushing into the field. It’s always harder to win the gamble tomorrow than today, so please start developing your business ideas today!