Applying classroom lessons on e-commerce and market leveraging to the running of their e-business, three Year 2 Department of Information Systems students of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) clinched champion and runner-up titles in the 2008 eBay Young Entrepreneur Contest.
Championship winners Rony Chan Ka-wai and Tracy Wong Siu-yee's e-shop, U.mall, which sold sports shoes and computer products, achieved a total turnover of US$90K in less than three months from mid-February to the end of April. Their classmate Jo Ho Tsz-ting was awarded the runner-up title in the individual category for the effective running of her Josephine Store, which sold mobile phones and mini notebooks. The winning pair was given a cash prize of HK$30,000 and internship opportunities at eBay Hong Kong, while Jo Ho was awarded a cash prize of HK$8,000 and an e-Business entrepreneurship course in Japan.
“The success of our students shows that the recent curriculum redesign of the BBA in Electronic Commerce programme to focus on e-Business entrepreneurship has been a good move,” said Dr Raymond Lau Yiu-keung, Assistant Professor, Department of Information Systems. “Entrepreneurship is not necessarily something we can teach in a classroom, rather these requisite practical skills and mindset are something students must discover by engaging in entrepreneurial activities similar to those found in the real world. Engaging in the contest and developing business plans for their dream businesses are good examples of practical problem-solving and skills training.”
“CityU’s theoretical and practical training have equipped us with the confidence and skills needed to meet the challenges,” said Rony Chan. “We have taken this project seriously. We have conducted online research and planned in great detail, treating it as a long-term business rather than just a one-off operation. We realised time was a critical factor so we manned the business 24-hours-a-day to ensure we achieved the best result. We will continue to run the shop after the contest,” she added.
The team said they were happy to see the eBay contest included as one of the activities of the Electronic Commerce programme, as they learnt how to creatively solve various real-world problems after engaging in it.
“I have to thank Dr Raymond Lau for inviting many guest speakers to share with us their experience on how to run their businesses,” said Jo Ho, who changed strategy from selling mobile phones to selling mini notebooks to countries different from other competitors, in order to magnify sales.
Launched in 2006, the eBay Young Entrepreneur Contest is open to all full-time Hong Kong university students with the aim of encouraging youngsters apply marketing and entrepreneurial skills to starting their businesses. This year, there were around 80 group participants and 50 competitors in the individual category.