A manufacturing company in Tsuen Wan that specialises in chocolates and baked goods is just one of thousands of enterprises benefiting from the Government’s Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading & Domestic Sales (BUD Fund).
“We relocated from the Mainland eight years ago. We have noticed that many consumers in the Mainland are willing to pay a premium for products made in Hong Kong”, the company’s Senior PR & Marketing Executive Brian Tse explained.
From product development, manufacturing to delivery, the enterprise provides a one-stop service to its client companies that sell the end products under their own names.
“The food preferences of people in Guangdong are similar to those of Hong Kong people. We saw this as a business opportunity and planned to expand our business by making products for clients in the Greater Bay Area.”
To realise its expansion plans, the enterprise turned to the BUD Fund for assistance.
“We needed to submit a proposal outlining our business plan in the Mainland, along with financial statements, quotations and proof of our company’s operations,” the company’s Administration & Logistics Manager Yammie Wong said.
The Government set up the BUD Fund in 2012 to assist Hong Kong enterprises in exploring and developing the Mainland market through developing brands, upgrading and restructuring their operations and promoting domestic sales in the Mainland. The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) has been tasked with implementing the fund.
In light of the positive response from the trade since the fund’s inception as well as the changes in the economic environment, the BUD Fund has increased its total commitment. The cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise has been increased substantially from $500,000 to $7 million in stages. The fund’s geographical coverage has also been extended from the Mainland to 37 economies, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia, among others.
Hong Kong Productivity Council Chief Operating Officer Vivian Lin noted that the number of applications dropped slightly over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic as it was difficult for enterprises to run or apply for projects during that time.
“However, the number of applications is on the rise again as Hong Kong returns to normalcy. As at the end of February 2023, around 5,700 applications have been approved, involving a total funding amount of around $3.4 billion, benefiting some 4,100 enterprises.”
The HKPC hosts regular seminars to help enterprises prepare their applications. It has also introduced the Biz Expand Easy Portal and mobile app to support enterprises in accessing government funding schemes. If all their supporting documents are in order, the application can be approved within 60 days at the earliest.
Ongoing projects being undertaken by individual enterprises are not eligible for funding support under the programme unless they meet certain criteria. They must facilitate the applicant’s ability to promptly or eventually cultivate the target market and enhance their competitive edge. The project must also possess well defined deliverables for monitoring or evaluation as well as a concrete market development strategy. Lastly, the project must have a reasonable, detailed and justified budget.
On monitoring the programme, Ms Lin said the HKPC reviews the progress of projects and evaluates their results, adding that enterprises are required to submit progress reports, final reports and audited accounts for review, while the HKPC routinely schedules on-site inspections for selected approved projects to prevent any misuse of funds.