EASE Fund Award-winning Start-up Recognised as a Quality Social Enterprise
There has been increasing awareness and recognition of the special educational needs (SEN) of students, but local schools have difficulties in assessing the reliability of SEN service providers due to the lack of relevant market information.
Seeing this service gap faced by education institutions, alumnus Mr Pokky Choi Poi-ki and his partner Mr Ikey Cheung Ho-yuen, who are also guest lecturers at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), co-founded “Edge Support Association”. As the first service provider of its kind, this start-up aims to offer systematic solutions to schools in need with the support of frontline clinical professionals.
Thanks to the seed money from the University’s Education and Social Entrepreneurs (EASE) Fund Scheme in 2019, the team has been developing a novel interactive “Efficacious Support for ALL (ESA) Platform”. Apart from collating the track records of service providers with verified user feedback, the team has also conducted assessment on quality for new joiners. This helps schools select quality SEN and other educational services for students, such as school-based speech therapy sessions, individualised training and counselling services.
“We want to provide schools with better and quicker access to professional educational services to meet the needs of their students through a single platform,” said Choi. “This helps reduce the administrative work of teachers, so that they can focus more on student learning activities.”
The team has just completed the initial phase of the project, which is a consultancy collaboration with I–WELL to determine the preliminary matrix and methodology benchmarks of the ESA platform. In addition to providing professional consultancy services, I-WELL helped the team coordinate focused group interviews with school professionals and service providers regarding the platform. After inputting all the collected data to the platform, the next key milestone for them will be to recruit pilot schools to join the project. The pilot is expected to commence in October 2020.
Choi continued, “We are thankful for the entrepreneurial resources offered by the KT Sub-office, which enabled us to get recognised in the education and start-up industries. The support ranges from seed funding to the realisation of our business ideas, as well as marketing and networking opportunities, such as exhibiting our project in the Learning and Teaching Expo and at HKTDC Entrepreneur Day.”
The potential social value and economic impact of the project resulted in its recent accreditation by the Social Enterprise Endorsement (SEE) Mark. Launched by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises, this accreditation scheme aims to enhance public recognition of the value of social enterprises. Its mascot label with red glasses helps the public easily identify quality social enterprises.
For more information about the Edge Support Association, please visit https://www.edgedc.org/esa-platform