10 Socially Innovative Ideas To Transform Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Lesley Teoh

From phone cases made of mushrooms to 3D printed prosthetics, check out these 10 social enterprises that are applying design and technology to shape Hong Kong’s Future.

The inaugural DBS Social Innovators programme was launched on 27 April 2016 at the InnoCentre in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. The programme aims to transform innovative ideas to solve social issues into sustainable and viable business solutions, with a special emphasis on the application of design and technology.

It received over 150 entries, out of which ten outstanding proposals have been awarded HK20,000 and moved on to the next phase (to be held on 28 July). They will also receive incubation support for the period.

Check out the ten innovative ideas below: 


AMPOULE aims to solve the critical social problem of improper use of medications, which lead to increased healthcare costs and poor quality of life for patients. Through workshops, lectures and an interactive counseling website, AMPOULE aims to equip medical staff and caretakers with important knowledge about geriatric care and proper medication practices.

2. ButterBuddy

Children who are affected by family crises and broken homes are most at risk of developing mental and/or behavioural disorders. ButterBuddy uses specially designed story contents and online interactive games to help children address their emotional pain and seek out support. The books also advocate positive involvement of parents to identify hidden emotional problems.


CHEARS has developed a ‘smart’ hearing-aid mobile app that can be connected to your smartphone. CHEARS designs different noise filters that adapt to different environments to provide an optimal hearing experience for the deaf in a variety of environments.

4. Ecospore 

Mushrooms are more than just delicacies - they can even 'eat' plastic and reduce our landfill waste. But, what if we could also use mushrooms to build various goods? Ecospore uses unique mycelium (mushroom) technology to produce fully biodegradable materials of different hardness and densities with myriad applications – from book covers to furniture, phone cases and even construction materials.

5. Heycoins 

Heycoins is a modern day solution to an age old problem – what can I do with all my spare change? Consider it a modern day piggy bank. Deposit your coins into one of their kiosks and get cash coupons, stored value in your IC card, or do a good deed in return by donating them to charity.

6. Longevity Design House

Longevity Design House (LDH) aims to renovate and make homes more elderly-friendly by using unwanted construction material. Special emphasis will be given to the four aspects: Safety, Sports, Wellness, Entertainment. Their main target audience is low income retirees, who need the most support but do not necessarily receive it. The project will leverage on a government maintenance fund. Hotels and elderly homes will provide temporary stay during the renovation, ensuring minimal disruption to the lives of the elderly. 

7. Project of 3D printed Prosthetics

A community of passionate individuals have come together to create affordable 3D printed prosthetics for needy children and families. What’s more, the team makes all their blueprints available for open source sharing. By doing so, they hope to mainstream 3D printed prosthetics amongst medical professionals and the local community.

8. Rubber Boy Academy

Through their animated edutainment videos, Rubber Boy Academy hopes to promote and raise awareness of sign language amongst the general public in a fun and engaging way.

9. MedEXO Robotics 

MedEXO Robotics hopes to produce an affordable and multi-purpose exoskeleton device to facilitate easier movement in people with disabilities, the injured, and the elderly. The device allows users to remain independent life by providing assistive force. It also keeps ‘abnormal movements’, such as tremors caused by neural disorder diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

10. We-Use

We-Use offers a tableware rental and cleaning service for events that serves as an environmentally sustainable alternative to disposable cutlery for event organisers, thus relieving pressure on landfills. Hong Kong faces a very real problem of landfill waste (given space constraints), and in 2014, half of that was composed of disposable cutlery. We-Use has since reduced the usage of disposable cutlery by more than 10000 pieces.

Interested to learn more about the innovative solutions of young social entrepreneurs from Hong Kong? Check out this article.


About the DBS Hong Kong Social Innovators Programme:

The programme aims to engage and connect social innovators from different sectors, to drive social innovation through the use of design and technology. Holistic support, including funding and incubation support to the tune of HKD2 million, will be provided to transform these ideas into sustainable and viable business solutions.

The programme consists of 3 phases:The 1st phase was concluded on the 27th of April at the InnoCentre in Kowloon Tong. The top 10 finalists were selected after a Pitchathon, where their ideas and solutions were assessed by a panel of judges and over 100 sector representatives. 

The programme is funded by DBS Foundation, and managed and operated by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS).



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