Jacky Tai Tsz Ho

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We were not discouraged by the progress that was slowed by the social distancing measures and have also kicked off some low-cost online promotion through social media platforms.

Jacky Tai Tsz Ho has long been an avid board game enthusiast. But little did he know he could turn his hobby into a start-up concept until he joined a social enterprises visit in South Korea in 2019 organised by Student Affairs Office.

He knew too that a lack of in-depth understanding of Chinese history among local youngsters has been a much discussed topic in Hong Kong in recent years. So, with a friend who studied Chinese history at university and was keen on promoting the subject, Tai came up with an idea for an educational board game focused on former dynasties and wars in ancient China.

He acknowledges that preparing for the competition part of MetroChallenge, an entrepreneurship incubation programme organised by HKMU, provided the budding business partners with a great opportunity for personal growth. “Being university undergraduates, we lacked the experience to transform ideas into practical solutions,” Tai says. “But in the course of doing some intensive market research and putting together a viable business proposal, we realised that we needed to aim for perfection and always do our best.”

For that reason, they were meticulous in their research and analysis before developing the framework and rules for the board game. They also learned a great deal from the professionals and business coaches on hand to share their real-life experiences at MetroChallenge workshops. Two key things they learned were the importance of sustainable development and long-term business planning. “We started to pay closer attention to the small details, such as expenses,” Tai notes. “We also adopted a wider perspective and made a point of being well-informed about the market and the latest developments in other industries unrelated to board games. The goal was to learn how others adapt and make adjustments to their business plans.”

This strategy and mentality helped the pair to tackle unforeseen challenges, many of them associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “When planning anything, flexibility and adaptability are essential,” Tai says. “We were not discouraged by the progress that was slowed by the social distancing measures and have also kicked off some low-cost online promotion through social media platforms.”