From tech founders to fashion designers, here are the women entrepreneurs in Hong Kong you need to be keeping an eye on
Women are taking their rightful place in the Hong Kong business world, and they’re staking their claim from the ground up. A shockingly small 10 per cent of the city’s company directors are female, according to figures from French bank BNP Paribas—but 45 per cent of its entrepreneurs are, the second-best in the world behind India.
It makes sense: starting your own business is an excellent way of levelling the playing field, sidestepping ingrained institutional prejudices that could blight your career in the traditional business world. Moreover, the overwhelmingly youthful nature of the startup scene means it tends to be populated by people from a generation with fewer stereotypical ideas about gender roles than their forebears.
As a result, a steady stream of inspiring women entrepreneurs is emerging in Hong Kong, helping to bring some much-needed gender balance to the city’s boardrooms. From creative technologists to fashion designers to environmentalists, here are 10 women entrepreneurs you need to know from the Gen.T List.
See also: 15 Of Hong Kong's Most Powerful Women
1/10 Peggy Choi
Peggy Choi is on a mission is to democratise access to knowledge. Her company Lynk, a data-driven knowledge sharing platform, connects users via one-on-one conversations or meetings with more than 300,000 of the world’s greatest minds, including scientists, engineers and leading executives, for advice on subjects including advice on best practice, market-entry, strategy formation and new technologies.
Before founding the company, Peggy earned a degree in computer science and fine art at the University of Pennsylvania, and then studied finance at its Wharton business school.
2/10 Anaïs Jourden Mak
Anaïs Jourden Mak is the entrepreneur and designer behind Jourden, one of the city’s fastest rising fashion labels. Stocked at luxury retailers including Lane Crawford, Barneys New York and Isetan, the brand reached the semi-finals of the 2015 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers; while Anaïs herself, who previously studied at Studio Berçot in Paris, has won Italian Vogue’s Who Is On Next emerging designer award.
3/10 Natalie Chan
Natalie Chan aims to re-engineer the future of education by empowering young people to identify their unique talents and achieve their highest potential. She is the founder and CEO of alternative learning centre OWN Academy, which harnesses an extensive network of industry professionals, students, schools and parents to foster a new method of learning and teaching.
Natalie was one of the 49 young leaders globally selected by The World Economic Forum to attend Davos 2019.
See also: Hong Kong's Power Women And The Women Who Inspire Them
4/10 Patricia Dwyer
Patricia Dwyer wants to help businesses become future-ready. Her company The Purpose Business advises high-profile clients such as MTR Corporation, Jardine Matherson, Huawei and Vitasoy how to minimise their impact on the planet and fulfil their potential as responsible businesses. A former director of CSR and sustainability at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, she also sits on the WEF Global Future Council on the Future of the Environment.
5/10 Marisa Yiu
Marisa Yiu improves the designed environment both through her own work and by stimulating the creativity of others. She is one of the founding partners of Hong Kong and New York-based design and research studio Eskyiu, which has won awards including the Architectural League Prize, Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard and the Design for Asia Award.
She is also co-founder and executive director of Hong Kong charity Design Trust, which champions high-quality design, offering financial support to design projects from graphics and media to wearables and architecture. She has lectured at Harvard’s AsiaGSD conference, TEDx and the Asia Society.
See also: 5 Women Artists From Hong Kong You Should Know
6/10 Juliette Gimenez
Juliette Gimenez helps consumers find the fashions they want, and helps brands turn interest into sales. Her start-up Goxip is an app that allows users snap a photo of any fashion item and, using powerful image recognition and smart search technology, find that item or its equivalent online, and then buy it. The company announced its expansion to Singapore in August 2019.
Last year she also launched RewardSnap, an app that allows social media influencers to measure and monetise their content by pairing them with premier brands.
7/10 Delphine Lefay
Delphine Lefay is addressing two of the key issues of modern life: how to deal with the fashion industry’s massive waste problem, and how to get designer outfits at bargain prices. She is the co-founder and CEO of On The List, which uses both e-commerce and a bricks-and-mortar space in Hong Kong’s Central district to allow premium brands to sell off their past-season stock at invitation-only flash sales.
The company launched in Hong Kong in 2016 and has since expanded to Singapore and Taipei, with plans in the works for Mainland China.
8/10 Jamie Chiu
Jamie Chiu is trying to help young people become comfortable with who they are and compassionate to those around them. Holder of a doctorate in clinical psychology, she is the founder of Good Brain Labs, which creates mobile games that help to improve emotional awareness and build resilience. She also founded The Brightly Project, which runs digital student suicide prevention programme Know My Students.
In June 2019 she gave a noted TEDx talk about why what is usually thought of as “normal” doesn’t really exist.
9/10 Gina Wong
Gina Wong is breaking down barriers through the medium of global cinema. She is the founder of thePineapple Underground Film Festival, the only independent event of its sort in Hong Kong, which in its nine years has screened more than 350 films from more than 30 countries.
She has been directing and producing her own films since 2008, taking part in London’s Raindance Film Festival, the Miami International Film Festival and SXSW. She's also the founder of Experimenta, an independent Hong Kong performance art space.
10/10 Michelle Poon
Michelle Poon is redefining what it means to be a hacker. The creative technologist and academic lecturer is the co-owner of Hong Kong’s first hackerspace, Dim Sum Labs, a community-run enterprise where people can explore and hack the limitations, capabilities, purposes and forms of virtually anything.
She is also the author of 2018 book The Field Guide to Hacking, which details techniques, case studies and research on what it means to hack.
See also: Meet Hong Kong's Richest Women Of 2019