Macau had in the past been reliant on innovative technologies from overseas providers due to the lack of local expertise. However, in recent years, the increase in local graduates and those returning from abroad have brought about young people from Macau having an increased interest to engage in startups within the creative technology industry. The Foundation considered that successes in ventures of this kind can help to develop new technologies industries in Macau and, at the same time, provide the coming generations of young people with better, more diverse and more employment opportunities.
The Foundation noticed that some smaller companies in Macau may have great potential to develop their products but had difficulties in raising sufficient second stage funding, having exhausted their initial funding at a crucial stage of their early development stages. Smaller amounts of funding are often not difficult to obtain from various aid schemes sponsored by the Macau Government to begin new ventures, such as the Young Entrepreneurs Aid Scheme managed under the Macau Economic Services Bureau. However, businesses seeking any sizeable capital at its second stage of development are often only partially funded, making it difficult to continue to nurture continued development of its business.
The Foundation’s establishment of the GEG Venture Philanthropy Fund is thus to provide the necessary seed funding in these “incubator” businesses in the form of “venture philanthropy” which are intending to pursue new technology-related projects via capital participation (i.e., ownership), acting more so as an “investor” than a “donor”.
Therefore, the Foundation’s “investment” in these ventures will hopefully help to create a successful and sustainable business at a crucial stage of their development. Not only will the Foundation’s capital investment help to hopefully enable these young entrepreneurs turn their ventures into a profitable business, the Foundation will equally benefit financially from a return from its investment. With that objective in mind, the GEG Venture Philanthropy Fund is established as a ring-fenced investment fund in that any profits derived from any investments will be returned to the Fund to enable future investments in similar technology ventures in Macau.
Selection criteria for businesses that qualify for investment under the GEG Venture Philanthropy Fund is that the business venture is new technology-based; as importantly, however, is that the venture’s businesses or products will, if successfully developed, benefit Macau in the overall, in particular the continued development of home-grown technology in Macau, or that they will complement Macau’s continued economic development in its major industries not only in tourism and gaming, but also emerging ones such as financial engineering.
The Foundation will continue to look out for potential suitable investments in order to identify suitable ventures to invest in. At the outset, the Galaxy Entertainment Group Foundation worked with the Macau New Technologies Incubator Centre (“MANETIC”), a full-service, non-profit organisation supported by the Macau SAR Government (who is also a shareholder).
MANETIC offers an array of customized support package for business incubation, such as financial services, development services, product and process improvement services, etc. Furthermore, MANETIC also provides commercial services to incubatees, such as business development, marketing research and promotion, enabling opportunities for young entrepreneurs to not only develop new technologies which will enhance Macau’s standing in its scientific and technological sector, but also to create partnerships that turn innovative business and product ideas into sustainable businesses.