Macao Economic Services Director Mr. Tai Kin Ip told some 50 IFT Year 4 students assembled on the Taipa Campus on 15 November that they faced a choice when they finished their education: work for somebody else or become entrepreneurs.
Speaking at a guest lecture to discuss entrepreneurship, Mr. Tai said starting a business could seem daunting. “It always seems impossible to go through this process, find a place, manage your staff,” he said. “It always seems impossible – until it’s done.”
The official’s talk formed part of the IFT entrepreneurship course run by Assistant Professor Dr. Fernando Lourenço. The course is open to all students of the Institute pursuing bachelor’s degrees.
Mr. Tai said the first step toward success as an entrepreneur was to engage in something that an aspiring entrepreneur enjoys and that meets market demand. He suggested a simple gauge of market demand. “Go out in the street, pick 3 people at random and tell them about your idea,” he said. “If all 3 say it’s a bad idea, throw it away. It’s just a dream, not a genuine need in the market.”
Mr. Tai mentioned prospects to do business in Macao. Among them are opportunities arising from the UNESCO pronouncing Macao to be a Creative City of Gastronomy.
Speaking on the sidelines of the gathering, Mr. Tai advised students to consider starting up businesses related to food through Facebook to avoid having to pay high rent for prime restaurant space in Macao.
The official encouraged IFT students to look closely at the digital economy, which in Mainland China was a business worth billions of renminbi. “We want to use the advantages of the digital economy in our conventional sectors, such as tourism and gaming, the hotel sector,” he said.
The Macao SAR Government was ready to help, Mr. Tai added.
He said a new exchange programme would allow 10 young entrepreneurs from Macao to visit Lisbon, in Portugal, where they would attend a business incubator for 3 months. Mr. Tai said they would receive training and do market research on enterprises that could link the Portuguese-speaking countries and China. The official said that in due course the programme would allow people to visit Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. The programme would later be open to people living in 9 cities in the Greater Bay Area, including Zhuhai, Nansha and Zhongshan.
The Macao Economic Services chief drew attention to Government-sponsored programmes for helping young entrepreneurs, which include the Young Entrepreneurs Aid Scheme. The latter lends start-ups amounts up to MOP300,000 interest-free if they are established by Macao entrepreneurs between the ages 21 and 44. The SME Aid Scheme also lends money interest-free to businesses.
IFT has been taking measures to promote entrepreneurship among its students. Several courses run by the Institute are designed to stimulate students to have fresh thoughts and to engage in novel endeavours with business potential.