HKUST-Sino One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition 2023 Tackles Health and Sustainable Development Issues with Innovation and Technology


Silver Award Winner - Dr. Kelvin HEUNG, Co-Founder of Fleming MedLab (First left) ; Gold Award Winner – Fioni FONG and Lilia CHEUNG, Co-Founder of not only powder (Second and third left) ; Ir Andrew YOUNG, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group and Adjunct Professor of the Division of Integrative Systems and Design at HKUST (Fourth left); Prof. Carrie LING, Director of HKUST Entrepreneurship Center(Fourth right) ; (From Right) Platinum Award Winner - Dr. Laurence LAU, Dr. Melody CHUNG, Co-Founder of Allegrow and Prof Ying CHAU, Co-Founder of Allegrow and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at HKUST.


Prof. Tim CHENG, HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development, expressed that the ‘Sustainability Impact Award’ is introduced in the hope of inspiring the entrants to turn their creative ‘green ideas’ into innovative projects that will help promote the sustainable development of Hong Kong.


Ir. Prof. Andrew YOUNG, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group, hopes that the winning teams will put the prize fund to good use as seed funding to realise their entrepreneurial goals and build a sustainable future.


Platinum Award & GF Innovation Award Winning Team – Allegrow

not only powder

Gold Award & Sustainability Impact Award Winning Team – not only powder

Fleming MedLab

Silver Award Winning Team – Fleming MedLab

Sustainability Impact Awards

Competition judge Ir. Prof. Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group (First right), Ms. Vivian LEE, Group General Manager (Corporate Marketing & Communications, Sustainability) of Sino Group (First left), and Ms. Melanie KWOK, Assistant General Manager of Sustainability of Sino Group (Second right) present the Sustainability Impact Awards to Salvaged Limited, Daoad and not only powder.

 Student Team Awards

Prof. Hong K. Lo, HKUST Dean of Engineering(First left) and Prof. Penger TONG, HKUST Associate Provost (Mainland Affairs) (First right) present the HKUST Student Team Awards to Mydaan, Elevatefoods and Salvaged Limited

Elevator Pitch Award

Dr. Shin Cheul KIM, HKUST Associate Vice-President for Research and Development (Knowledge Transfer) (First left) presents the Elevator Pitch Award to Elevatefoods

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and Sino Group (Sino) have long been devoted to nurturing the next generation of innovators with vision and entrepreneurial spirit. This year, the HKUST-Sino One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition 2023 has attracted a record-breaking 234 teams formed by HKUST faculty, students and alumni, as well as members from other local institutions, successfully strengthening Hong Kong's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The three winning teams have utilized technology and innovative concepts to address issues such as healthcare and sustainable development. They have respectively developed a cost-effective cell therapy platform for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases, upcycled ‘ugly fruits’ into nutritious products using a freeze-drying method, and developed a medical-grade lower limb rehabilitation wearable for stroke patients. 

Ir Andrew YOUNG, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group and Adjunct Professor of the Division of Integrative Systems and Design at HKUST said: “We are very pleased to be working with HKUST again this year to encourage the creative aspirations and entrepreneurial spirit of our younger generation. The key to a good entrepreneur is enthusiasm, creativity and resourcefulness. By partnering the great potential of our young people with the resources and mentorship from Sino Group, we are all partnering to create real innovation. Many participating teams had outstanding performances this year, integrating their ideas with technology and innovative thinking, as well as sustainability concepts. I hope all participating teams will draw inspiration from the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship fostered in the competition. It is also hoped that the winning teams will put the prize fund to good use as seed funding to realize their entrepreneurial goals and build a sustainable future.”

Prof. Tim CHENG, HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development, said, “The Competition has entered its 13th year. I am very pleased to see that the students continue to participate in the Competition with enthusiasm and passion for innovation and technology. This year, the ‘Sustainability Impact Award’ was introduced in hopes of inspiring entrants to turn their creative ‘green ideas’ into innovative projects that will help promote the sustainable development of Hong Kong. We’re excited to announce that almost 80% of the over 200 entries feature ESG elements. HKUST will continue to uphold the mission of identifying and nurturing innovative talents while joining hands with all sectors to facilitate more start-ups to establish their business in order to create a brighter future for our society.” 

Champion (Platinum Award) and GF Innovation Award winner Allegrow, has developed a new artificial cell cultivation technology to address the complex, time-consuming, expensive, and difficult-to-scale cell production process currently used in cell therapy. Allegrow’s new technology can optimize the production process of immune cells and reduce production costs by up to 48% compared to current methods, while saving up to 33% (per product) of production time. Their tech will greatly improve production efficiency, reduce patient waiting time and medical expenses for future treatment, shorten the R&D period of immune cell therapy, and make cell therapy more accessible to the public. Led by Prof. Ying CHAU, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at HKUST, the team’s cell cultivation technology has already won many accolades and funding. The team is currently collaborating with biotech companies and research institutions to test the new technology, and the product is expected to be launched in 2024.

Gold Award (first runner-up) and Sustainability Impact Award winner not only powder noticed that Hong Kong produces over 3,000 tons of food waste every day, and a large proportion of it is ‘ugly food’ that is of good quality but unappealing in appearance. To tackle this issue, they use a freeze-drying method to upcycle ‘ugly fruits’ collected from fruit merchants and stores into dried fruits or powder, which does not only preserve at least 97% of the nutritional values of fruits but also extends their shelf life at least a year. In addition to single-flavored powder, they also offer different powder combinations that can be easily mixed with water or milk to create highly nutritious fruit smoothies. Not only powder utilizes a self-developed system that integrates supply management, data analysis, and merchant sales platforms. The company has been in operation for six months, and apart from selling online and at market stalls, they have also collaborated with many companies, selling over 2,700 products and reducing over 1,200 kilograms of carbon emissions.

Silver Award (second runner-up) went to Fleming MedLab, which developed a lightweight and comfortable lower limb rehabilitation wearable for stroke patients. The wearable utilizes motion sensors and neuromuscular electromyography detectors to analyze the user's intention to walk and assist them in completing the walking motion. If stroke patients can repeatedly train their limb movements with the device, their limb muscles can be stimulated and trained. The wearable can also help rebuild neuroplasticity and reorganize the motor cortex in the brain, assisting patients in regaining control of their limb movements and returning to normal life as soon as possible. The team was established in January 2022 and launched the first prototype in the middle of last year. They have submitted three patent applications and won numerous accolades. They plan to collaborate with local medical institutions this year for the first phase of clinical trials and sell the device to local rehabilitation centers and clinics. They are also researching into machine learning algorithms, hoping to provide rehabilitation progress records for doctors, physiotherapists, and patient families for patient treatment plans, analysis, scheduling, and related matters. 

Sustainable development is an important issue of global concern, and this year's competition has newly introduced a special ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) award category - the ‘Sustainability Impact Awards’ - to encourage participating teams to use innovative and diverse ideas to promote sustainable development. Nearly 80% of this year’s 200-plus entries feature ESG elements. Judges of the competition have selected three winning teams, namely Daoad, which utilizes various rice-based biomaterials to create high-quality and sustainable creative products; Salvaged Limited, which recycles second-hand clothing and creates a sustainable second-hand fashion reselling platform; and not only powder, which also won the Gold Award, for their efforts in promoting sustainable development.

Winners of the Hong Kong competition will compete with the winners from Beijing, Foshan, Guangzhou, Macau, and Shenzhen in the Grand Final round later this year. They will exchange ideas and compete for the Grand prize. Please refer to the appendix for details of other award winners of the Hong Kong competition.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 30th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2022. As of early 2023, HKUST members have founded 1,645 active start-ups, including 9 Unicorns and 11 exits (IPO or M&A), generating economic impact worth over HK$400billion. InvestHK cited QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 to demonstrate the performance of five world’s top 100 local universities in several innovation-centric areas, among which HKUST ranked top in four engineering and materials science subjects.

About Sino Group
Established in 1971, Sino Group comprises three listed companies – Sino Land Company Limited (HKSE: 083), Tsim Sha Tsui Properties Limited (HKSE: 0247), Sino Hotels (Holdings) Limited (HKSE: 1221) – and private companies held by the Ng Family.
As one of Hong Kong’s leading property developers with core businesses in property development and investment, Sino Group has grown with the communities it serves. The Group’s business interests comprise a diversified portfolio of residential, office, industrial, retail and hospitality properties across Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore and Australia, and has developed over 250 projects, spanning more than 130 million square feet. Core business assets are further complemented by property management services, hotel investment and management, including The Fullerton Hotels & Resorts and other affiliate brands.
With over 11,000 committed staff members, the Group strives to fulfill its vision of Creating Better Lifescapes with a focus on three interconnected pillars – Green Living, Community Spirit and Innovative Design – shaping the cities we call home where people live, work and play. Sustainability is central to what we do as we seek to create value for stakeholders and make business a driver of sustainability for a better future.

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