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(BBA in Integrated BBA 1994)

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Ankrish Gidwani

(BBA in Hotel and Tourism Management 2017)

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Cheung Theobald Aylwin and Cheung Harvey Jackel

(EMBA 2010)

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Wong Yick Kam, Michael

(BBA in Finance 1977; MBA 1984)

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Fu Jin

(EMBA (Chinese) 2013)

Bamboo: A Lesson on Entrepreneurship


24 November 2017

The Symbiosis of Passion and Dream

Victor Lo (BBA 2016), a Sichuan native, moved to Hong Kong in 2007. Over the past decade he has overcome language barriers and was accepted to university as a result of his excellent academic performance. Being an immigrant did not stop him from integrating into Hong Kong society and volunteering to help others. Last year, Victor and his friends developed their own aquaponics system in Kaiping, Guangdong. Backed by huge seed funding, they are ready to take the mainland organic farming market by storm. Although the road to success is long and winding, Victor says he will smooth out any bumps with his passion just like he was ironing.

Victor (front row, right) had a joyful secondary school experience and got along well with his classmates.

New Immigrant, Volunteer and Outstanding Student

Anyone who has met Victor can sense his enthusiasm and positivity. As an immigrant, Victor is glad that he has never experienced any discrimination but indeed has had many pleasant encounters. He recalled being lost in Mongkok and feeling helpless once. Fortunately, a Good Samarian came to his recue and escorted him home. It was a gesture that took him by surprise. “As long as you keep an open mind and try to assimilate into the society, naturally people will appreciate your effort.”

After moving to Hong Kong, Victor was placed in form three. Going from not knowing any Cantonese to being fluent did not happen overnight. He worked part-time at a fast food chain to place himself in a Cantonese-speaking environment. He also tackled a big task after being asked by his teacher to be the M.C. at a school speech competition, in order to practice speaking Cantonese. To add to this challenge, he was equally behind in English. To catch up with his peers, he resorted to reciting and memorising English vocabulary. He believes that “if you work hard enough, you won’t be the one trailing behind forever.”

Victor is grateful for all the help he received in school and in life. He is eager to return the favour and to help out the less fortunate. He regularly volunteers on flag-selling days and visits the elderly and those with disabilities. He was appointed as UNICEF Young Envoy in form four to promote children’s rights and later received such recognitions as the Hong Kong Outstanding Student Award and the Grantham Scholar of the Year Award.

Victor never shies away from challenges. Here he serves as the M.C. at a Youth Arch Student Improvement Award event.

Unforgettable Mentors

After scoring six A’s in HKCEE and finishing form six and seven, Victor entered CUHK to study business. At CUHK, he met several mentors who made an impact on his life and taught him many valuable life lessons.

“The first one is Dr. Joyce Iun from the Department of Management. She liked to share her words of wisdom in class and told us not to waste our time on dating and partying. Instead we should take advantage of our freedom to do some soul searching and do what we thought was right. The second one is Dr. William Lau from the Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics. To bring online courses to children living in rural China, we went on a fieldtrip to Guizhou together. Dr. Lau drove me to the destination to gather ideas from local schools, and he did so much hard work without any complaint. The third one is former Associate Dean Professor Dennis Fan, who has just retired. He often discussed his thoughts on life with students in emails. No matter how na?ve my ideas were, he was always there to support me and motivated me to work towards my goal,” says Victor.

Victor (centre) attended various classes in university. He made many friends in a ceramic class.

Farmer with a Bachelor’s Degree

Last year Victor’s friend conducted a case study for a thesis. His friend recruited Victor and another friend for help. Initially doing it just for fun, they spent one month exploring an unfamiliar topic: aquaponics. They studied how to grow organic vegetables with waste water from a fish farm. Since there was no suitable location in Hong Kong, the trio went north and managed to lease half of a greenhouse (one mu of land) from Kaiping Modern Farming Park for their pilot project.

They followed the online instructions and took reference from journal articles to build a prototype from scratch. They set up a fish pond in the greenhouse, pumped out the water and filtered out the fish waste, eliminated toxic substances in the water with biodegradation, and then used the water to grow hydroponic vegetables. The extracted fish waste was compost and fed to earthworms to breakdown the molecules for it to eventually be used as organic fertiliser. A month later, Victor was shocked that they could not even grow one thing with this much effort put in!

By then his friend has already finished his assignment, and Victor’s work could have stopped there, but they did not want one month’s of hard work to go in vain. The reluctance to accept failure motivated them to keep trying. They eventually figured out that the key lay in the fish to vegetables ratio. After modifying the system countless times, they managed to grow some decent-looking vegetables and started formulating a business plan.

Victor (right) and two friends developed an aquaponics model. The work keeps them busy and fulfilled every day.

Entrepreneurship Is a Whetstone for Success

Victor's aquaponics system has obtained several patents in China for its filtration and seedlings technologies. It also caught the eye of an investor who has offered to inject HK$12 million into the business, which allowed them to expand and officially enter the production stage. The preparations are now in full swing, and the first phase production area has been expanded to 50 mu.

Looking back at his first year of entrepreneurship, Victor says it has been an excellent opportunity that challenged him mentally and physically. Farming is not a pleasant job for someone who does not enjoy the sun or the heat. Carrying mud, gutting fish, and shoveling waste are all grueling tasks. His commitment to the start-up came with fear of failure, along with all the uncertainties, and this has caused Victor a lot of stress. Eventually he overcame his paranoia and realised that regardless of the outcome, this experience would only make him a better and stronger person.

Fish are essential to the growth of vegetables, and so is passion to dreamers!

These three young people turn the impossible into reality with nothing but their enthusiasm.

Video —— Messages from Our Alumni

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