Time Event
30 November 2017 Application deadline
December 2017 Announcement of Grand Finalists
One team from each participating country will be selected to join the Social Start-up Weekend in Hong Kong
2-4, February 2018 Social Start-up Weekend in Hong Kong
  • Workshops, mentorship and networking opportunities with field experts, corporate partners and investors
  • Grand Finals: pitch your idea to a panel of judges
  • Results Announcement & Ceremony


  • Submitted ventures should aim to be scalable in the long run, in terms of both social and financial impact
  • Submitted ventures can be either in its concept / pilot stage or less than 2 years old (with the start of the venture marked by its incorporation or date of first income receipt, whichever occurred first) as of 30 November 2017
  • All submissions and presentations for the Grand Finals must be in English. Questions from the judges during the Grand Finals may be translated from English to the team's native language
  • List of qualified Asian countries / cities (subject to addition or removal at the sole discretion of SVhk): Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam


Item Criteria Weighing
(i) Innovativeness of idea
- Creativity and innovation in utilising human and capital resources in the city to address a social need
- Clear market differentiation from competitors and unique market position
(ii) Social impact
- Clearly defined social challenge
- Social impact is integrated into business model, impact scales as business scales
- Long term vision for social impact, does not simply satisfy an immediate social need
(iii) Commercial potential
- Demonstrates potential for financial sustainability and profitability
- Realistically defined commercial model
(iv) Feasibility and scalability
- Feasibility in executing the product / service and getting it out to the market
- Is the idea scalable across demographic, geographic and market settings?
- Proprietary position that offers high potential for substantial growth and impact


Grand Award - HK$70,000

On top of prizes from the 'Regional Winners' category

Regional Winners (All Grand Finalists) - HK$2,000

  • Complimentary trip and accommodation to Hong Kong to attend the Social Start-up Weekend
  • Hong Kong Finalists: One-year membership in the 'House of Social Innovators' to access our network of partners who can help support your idea

About the House of Social Innovators

House of Social Innovators Convenor Sonova Institute
With the support of corporate partners and other SE-related organizations, Social Ventures Hong Kong would like to further expand the event, by inviting ASIA’s finalists and winners to join the House of Social Innovators.

Formed under the collaboration of various SE-competitions, together with alumnus of these competitions, HoSI is a platform that will provide on-going support to passionate social entrepreneurs to transform social innovative ideas to sustainable social enterprise and to nurture investment-ready social enterprises and bring it to the marketplace.


The Grand Finalists will be announced in December 2017. Please follow our Facebook page for the latest result announcements!


Asia Top Social Needs (ATSN)

In 2016, we conducted an Asia Top Social Needs survey, in collaboration with MextrixLab, to identify the pressing social issues of different Asian countries / cities.


The study includes 4 major areas of social needs (Poverty, Social, Environmental and Economic). Under the 4 major areas, there are 16 sub-categories of social issues for choosing (Housing, Employment, Income Inequality, Health, Community relationship, Social Inequality, Youth, Family & Child, Education, Ageing population, Protection against crime & violence, Environment, Water & sanitation, Waste & recycling management, Food insecurity & Agriculture development and Town planning). The Max-Diff approach was adopted as a means of differentiating the personal relevance of different social issues.

ATSN Results

ATSN Results

Social Innovation Ideas Library

We would like to share some innovative social start-ups that are doing to tackle a social issue. You can take the ideas as a reference and think about a social start-up for your city.

Light Be
Light Be (Hong Kong)
Light Be works with private proprietors to provide affordable housing for single-parent families as they work towards self-reliance. Certainty of having a roof over their heads allows the parent to develop skills and provides a safe environment for their children.

Tackling social issues: housing, poverty, community relationship, etc.
Liter of Light
Liter Of Light (Philippines)
The Liter of Light is an expanding movement that lights homes around the world with old plastic bottles, water and chlorine. The devices refract sunlight and become 55-watt solar bulbs.

Tackling social issue: housing.
Dialogue in the Dark
Dialogue in the Dark (Germany)
Blind guides lead small groups through specially designed settings in the dark to raise awareness and change attitudes towards blindness and provide employment for the blind and visually impaired. Over 6 million visitors have experienced Dialogue in the Dark in over 25 countries.

Tackling social issues: employment, social inclusion, etc.
Big Issue
The Big Issue (United Kingdom)
The Big Issue is a street magazine sold by homeless individuals to earn legitimate income. It has inspired papers in more than 120 countries to reduce homelessness and encourage self-help.

Tackling social issues: employment, social inclusion, poverty etc.
Community Shop
Community Shop (United Kingdom)
Community Shop sells discounted surplus food from supermarkets to low income communities. Faulty food packaging normally contributes to the 30,000 tonnes of food that go to waste every year. Members can also sign up for tailored, professional development programmes.

Tackling social issues: poverty, environment, etc.
Kiva.org (United States)
Kiva connects individual moneylenders or donors with low-income entrepreneurs and students in 80 countries and has brought many dreams to life.

Tackling social issues: poverty.
GoodGym (United Kingdom)
GoodGym combines running with social missions such as visiting isolated elderlies, doing manual labour for community organisations and helping the vulnerable with household jobs.

Tackling social issues: health, youth, etc.
Medic Mobile
Medic Mobile (Malawi)
Medic Mobile is a software toolkit that connects hardest-to-reach communities with health workers to treat illnesses, ensure safe deliveries, track outbreaks and keep stock of medicines. It supports 8,000 frontline health workers and benefits 6 million people across 20 countries.

Tackling social issues: health, poverty, etc.
Nextdoor (United States)
Nextdoor is a free, private platform for neighbourhood communities to talk about their communal problems and help each other in matters such as break-ins, lost pets, finding babysitters, etc.

Tackling social issues:community relationship.
Local Alike
Local Alike (Thailand)
Local Alike is an online tourism platform that preserves local cultures through community tourism. It creates sustainable livelihoods and preserves culture by harnessing local knowledge.

Tackling social issues: poverty, community relationship, conservation of cultural, etc.
Conflict Kitchen
Conflict Kitchen (United States)
Conflict Kitchen is a takeout restaurant in Pittsburgh that serves food from countries with which the United States is currently in conflict. The meal comes with a folded up guide as a wrapper, to discuss various themes and points of conflict. It uses the social relations of food and economic exchange to engage the general public in discussions about countries, cultures, etc.

Tackling social issues: social inclusion.
Dignity Kitchen
Dignity Kitchen (Singapore)
Dignity Kitchen is a school which trains the disabled and disadvantaged to cook hawker food, then offers them job placements so they can have better lives and better opportunities to be successful in their own right.

Tackling social issues: social inclusion, employment, etc.
Livity (United Kingdom)
Livity trains and supports youths to develop marketing campaigns for corporate clients, during which the youths are equipped with skills and opportunities to build brighter futures.

Tackling social issues: youth.
ELIV (Taiwan)
Empowering Lives through Innovative Volunteerism promotes volunteerism and growth through environment sustainability and poverty alleviation projects, with an emphasis on a hands-on approach with the local community.

Tackling social issues: youth, community relationship, etc.
Parents 1st
Parents 1st (United Kingdom)
Parents 1st recruits those with parenting experience to offer support and encouragement to parents-to-be and new parents. It also provides assistance in assessing local services that would alleviate potential parenting difficulties.

Tackling social issues: family & child.
CookConnect (Hong Kong)
CookConnect teaches families to utilise surplus food and develop healthy eating habits, thus reducing food waste and narrowing wealth discrepancy.

Tackling social issues: family & child, poverty, etc.
Design for Change
Design for Change (India)
Design for Change (DFC) guides and equips children to develop and implement creative solutions to social and environmental problems through a simple 4-step design process of Feel-Imagine-Do-Share, which encourages the children’s empathy, ethics, engagement and elevation.

Tackling social issues: education.
MyBnk (United Kingdom)
MyBnk offers 11-25 year olds interest-free loans and marketplaces to set up initiatives. These young people learn from experience and develop leadership, communication and problem-solving skills.

Tackling social issues: education, youth.
Textbooks for Change
Textbooks for Change (United States)
Textbooks for Change collects used textbooks from student groups for re-use by incoming students at universities in the developed and developing world.

Tackling social issues: education, poverty, etc.
Senior Citizen Home Safety Association
Senior Citizen Home Safety Association (Hong Kong)
Offers 24-hour personal caring and emergency assistance services to the elderly through its core service, Personal Emergency Link, with the mission to enhance the living quality of the elderly through technology and people-oriented services.

Tackling social issues: ageing population.
Diamond Cab
Diamond Cab (Hong Kong)
Diamond Cab creates a first barrier-free taxi service in Hong Kong by offering 24-hour point-to-point taxi service for wheelchair users.

Tackling social issues: ageing population.
I Paid A Bribe
I Paid A Bribe (India)
I Paid A Bribe leverages the transparency and anonymity of the Internet by encouraging victims of corruption to share details of bribes paid on the website.

Tackling social issues: social inclusion, protection against crime, etc.
Hollaback! (Columbia)
Hollaback! is an app and online blog building in 84 cities, 25 countries and 12 different languages that lets women and the LGBTQ community share and address their experiences with sexual harassment, creating accountability and support.

Tackling social issues: social inclusion, protection against violence, etc.
BreezoMeter (United States)
BreezoMeter improves the health and quality of life for billions of people worldwide by providing accurate air quality information for consumers and businesses in a format as simple, intuitive and actionable as weather data.

Tackling social issues: health, air pollution, etc.
Green Monday
Green Monday (Hong Kong)
Green Monday tackles climate change and global food insecurity by educating the public on how they can reduce their carbon footprint and improve health by giving up meat for just one day per week.

Tackling social issues: climate change threat, health, food insecurity, etc.
X-runner (Peru)
X-runner improves the health and security of those living at the bottom of the pyramid in developing countries by introducing and distributing mobile toilets to urban slums.

Tackling social issues: water & sanitation.
Piramal Sarvajal
Piramal Sarvajal (India)
Piramal Sarvajal provides clean drinking water through their Water ATMs to deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable solutions for growing cities.

Tackling social issues: water & sanitation.
Give Me Tap
Give Me Tap (United Kingdom)
Every buyer of a GiveMeTap bottle can enjoy free water refills at over 500 participating cafes/shops, and help give another person in Africa access to clean drinking water, through the development of sustainable water projects.

Tackling social issues: water & sanitation, waste and recycling management, etc.
Wecyclers (Lagos)
Wecyclers offers a convenient household recycling service using a fleet of low-cost cargo bikes. It uses the environment to propel social change by allowing people in low-income communities to capture value from their waste.

Tackling social issues: waste and recycling management.
Original Unverpackt
Original Unverpackt  (Germany)
Germany's first waste-free supermarket sells products without individual packaging. Customers bring their own containers and can purchase the exact quantity of the product they want.

Tackling social issues: waste and recycling management.
Marine Stewardship Council
Marine Stewardship Council (United Kingdom)
The MSC combats unsustainable fishing and safeguards seafood supplies for the future through recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, which influences the choices of seafood consumers.

Tackling social issues: over fishing.
Sky Greens
Sky Greens (Singapore)
The world’s first low carbon, hydraulic driven vertical farm produces safe, fresh and delicious vegetables using minimal land, water and energy resources.

Tackling social issues: food insecurity/ agriculture development.
Pak-Lor (Thailand)
Pak-Lor solves bike parking problems by creating innovative space. Encouraging cycling in Bangkok decreases the large quantity of cars and reduces traffic congestion.

Tackling social issues: traffic congestion, health, etc.
SoCar (South Korea)
SOCAR is dedicated to shared economy and to reducing pollution by providing a platform for eco-friendly car sharing, which gets people mobile without having to buy-in to resource-intensive private car ownership.

Tackling social issues: traffic congestion, share economy, etc.
Assemble (United Kingdom)
Assemble are a collective based in London working across the fields of art, architecture and design. Assemble’s working practice is interdependent and collaborative, and seeks to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realisations of their community projects.

Tackling social issues: town planning, community relationship, etc.