Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What enhancement measures did the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme (ESR Programme) introduce in June 2016?
  2. Are existing SEs eligible for the ESR Programme?
  3. The ESR Programme will support SE projects beyond provision of job opportunities to encompass the provision of products/services to meet the specific needs of the socially disadvantaged. Are there any special requirements or restrictions on these products/services?
  4. Can I make application for the ESR Programme as an individual?
  5. We are not a charity. Am I eligible for the ESR Programme?
  6. We are a non-profit making organisation but are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Are we eligible for the ESR Programme?
  7. We are a company with business registration certificate. Are we required to become a non-profit making organisation before we can apply for the ESR Programme?
  8. We are a registered limited company which has been operating for a few months. Are we eligible for the ESR Programme under the “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”?
  9. We would like to apply for the ESR Programme under the “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”. How can we apply?
  10. Can an applicant submit more than one application at the same time?
  11. Can an applicant implement the approved SE project jointly with another charitable organisation / commercial company?
  12. What factors would be considered in application assessment?
  13. What kind of applications would be given priority?
  14. When will the ESR Programme start receiving applications?
  15. When will the applicants be notified of the results of the applications?
  16. How would the grant of the ESR Programme be released to the grantee?
  17. Can a grantee start employing staff before approval of funding for the SE project?
  18. Can a grantee start leasing of operating venue, procurement of equipment, renovation, etc. before approval of funding for the SE project?

 

  1. What enhancement measures did the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme (ESR Programme) introduce in June 2016?

  1. The major enhancement measures of the ESR Programme introduced in June 2016 are:

    • To support social enterprise (SE) projects beyond provision of job opportunities to encompass the provision of products/services which aims at helping the self-reliance and social integration of the socially disadvantaged;
    • To support existing successful SEs to expand business beyond start-ups;
    • To implement a “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations” allowing applications from applicants which are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance but are –

      1. non-profit making organisations; or
      2. organisations or limited companies with past experience in running SEs (including those in the form of prototypes);

      To allow funded SEs fulfilling certain conditions to share a limited portion of profits.

 


 

  1. Are existing SEs eligible for the ESR Programme?

  1. To encourage more successful SEs to expand to multiply success for the benefits of the socially disadvantaged, the ESR Programme, under the enhancement measures launched in June 2016, extends funding support beyond start-ups to SEs with promising expansion potential (irrespective of whether they have been previously funded by the ESR Programme or not) for business expansion by enlarging the scale of their initial operations or opening additional business units which may be a new geographical unit, or of a new line of products or services, with a view to creating additional social benefits.  The application procedures, funding cap and funding period for expansion project will be the same as those for start-ups.

 


 

  1. The ESR Programme will support SE projects beyond provision of job opportunities to encompass the provision of products/services to meet the specific needs of the socially disadvantaged.  Are there any special requirements or restrictions on these products/services?

  1. Enhancing self-reliance and social integration of socially disadvantaged groups remains the focus of the ESR Programme.  In extending the funding support to the products/services for socially disadvantaged groups, emphasis will be put on how the products/services concerned can help enhance their self-reliance and integration into the community, and whether they will be able to achieve broader and far-reaching social impacts.

 


 

  1. Can I make application for the ESR Programme as an individual?

  1. Applicants of the ESR Programme shall be organisations registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The ESR Programme does not accept applications submitted by individuals in their personal capacity.

 


 

  1. We are not a charity.  Am I eligible for the ESR Programme?

  1. The ESR Programme is launching a “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”which allows application from organisations which are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.  That said, applicants under the Pilot Scheme shall be organisations or limited companies registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including:

    • Organisation registered under the Societies Ordinance;
    • Company registered under the Companies Ordinance, limited by guarantee; or
    • Company registered under the Companies Ordinance, limited by shares.

    In addition, the applicant shall have non-profit-making undertakings for at least one year; or have experience in running SEs (can be in the form of prototype) for at least one year.  For details, please refer to the “Guide to ESR Programme”.

 


 

  1. We are a non-profit making organisation but are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.  Are we eligible for the ESR Programme?

  1. The ESR Programme is launching a “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”which allows application from organisations which are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.  That said, applicants under the Pilot Scheme shall be organisations or limited companies registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including:

    • Organisation registered under the Societies Ordinance;
    • Company registered under the Companies Ordinance, limited by guarantee; or
    • Company registered under the Companies Ordinance, limited by shares.

    In addition, the applicant shall have non-profit-making undertakings for at least one year; or have experience in running SEs (can be in the form of prototype) for at least one year.  For details, please refer to the “Guide to ESR Programme”.

 


 

  1. We are a company with business registration certificate.  Are we required to become a non-profit making organisation before we can apply for the ESR Programme?

  1. The ESR Programme is launching a “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”which allows application from organisations which are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.  That said, applicants under the Pilot Scheme shall be organisations or limited companies registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including:

    • Organisation registered under the Societies Ordinance;
    • Company registered under the Companies Ordinance, limited by guarantee; or
    • Company registered under the Companies Ordinance, limited by shares.

    In addition, the applicant shall have non-profit-making undertakings for at least one year; or have experience in running SEs (can be in the form of prototype) for at least one year.  For details, please refer to the “Guide to ESR Programme”.

 


 

  1. We are a registered limited company which has been operating for a few months.  Are we eligible for the ESR Programme under the “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”?

  1. The ESR Programme is launching a “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”which allows application from organisations which are not tax-exempt under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.  That said, applicants under the Pilot Scheme shall be organisations or limited companies registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and shall have non-profit-making undertakings for at least one year; or have experience in running SEs (can be in the form of prototype) for at least one year.

    In making the application, apart from completing the prescribed Application Form for the ESR Programme, applicants under the Pilot Scheme are required to provide a duly completed prescribed supplementary proforma (i.e. “Proforma for the Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”) and submit supplementary information/documents, including financial statements of at least the immediate past year (preferably with the report of the auditor).  For details, please refer to the “Guide to ESR Programme”.

 


 

  1. We would like to apply for the ESR Programme under the “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”.  How can we apply?

  1. The application for the“Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”should follow the application procedures similar to those for normal applications under the ESR Programme.  Applications need to be made on the prescribed Application Form of the ESR Programme, together with all the required supporting documents.   That said, applicants of the “Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations” are also required to provide a duly completed prescribed supplementary proforma (i.e. “Proforma for the Pilot Scheme for Non-section 88 Organisations”) and submit supplementary relevant information/documents.  For details, please refer to the “Guide to ESR Programme”.

 


 

  1. Can an applicant submit more than one application at the same time?

  1. The ESR Programme does not limit the number of applications submitted by an applicant at one time.  However, in making applications, applicants should consider and expect the need to fully convince the ESR Programme that they possess sufficient and necessary capabilities to successfully implement these projects concurrently in case all of the applications are approved.

 


 

  1. Can an applicant implement the approved SE project jointly with another charitable organisation / commercial company?

  1. We welcome cross-sector collaboration and accept joint applications involving more than one organisation.  That said, there should be clear accountability arrangements, with one of the applicants designated as the principal applicant.  Applicant is encouraged to sign a collaboration agreement with their partners with clear terms and conditions so as to ensure the requirements and the responsibilities of each party are clearly and properly defined.

 


 

  1. What factors would be considered in application assessment?   

  1. All applications must meet the objectives and requirements of the ESR Programme.  In assessing applications, we would consider factors including, but not limited to the following-

    • Nature and extent of social missions/impacts to be achieved;
    • Business viability;
    • Commercial sustainability following the expiry of the funding provided by the ESR Programme;
    • Capability to pursue the social missions/impacts and implement the project proposal;
    • Technical and management capabilities and resourcefulness of the applicant;
    • Commitment of the applicant to the proposed project; and
    • Reasonableness and viability of implementation plan.

    That said, each application will be considered on its individual merits.

 


 

  1. What kind of applications would be given priority?

  1. Priority may be accorded to projects featuring the following characteristics but not limited to –

    • Strengths of socially disadvantaged : the projects can identify and capitalize on the strengths of the target socially disadvantaged groups in the course of carrying out the SE business.
    • Significant social impacts : the projects will benefit the socially disadvantaged to a great extent, such as provision of a mechanism to assist the employed socially disadvantaged groups to move into the open labour market to benefit as many people as possible, or provision of an advancement ladder for the socially disadvantaged employees.
    • Cross-sector partnerships : the projects will involve collaboration among different sectors such as private sector, organisations at district levels, professional bodies.
    • District-based approach : the projects will adopt district-based approach such as involving collaboration with local organisations, deployment of social capitals (e.g. local resources, network).
    • Synergy among SEs : the projects will involve collaboration and cross-overs among SEs, such as procurement of products / services provided by SEs in the course of carrying out the business of the proposed projects; hence creating synergy and championing development of SEs as a whole.
    • Added value : the projects will create social values and generate positive social impacts in addition to provision of job opportunities and products/services to socially disadvantaged groups. For example, enhancing the well-being of the socially disadvantaged, or encouraging social inclusion.

    Applications, whether or not with the above characteristics, will continue to be vetted on the basis of individual merits and on whether they can meet the ESR Programme’s objectives and requirements.

 


 

  1. When will the ESR Programme start receiving applications?

  1. The ESR Programme is open to application all year round, but deadlines are set roughly on a half-yearly basis to enable the processing of applications in batches.  For the closing date of application, please make reference to the information on the homepage of the ESR Programme.

 


 

  1. When will the applicants be notified of the results of the applications?

  1. Under normal circumstances, applicants will be notified of the decision on the applications within three months after they have attended assessment meetings to present the project proposal or within three months after the ESR Secretariat has received all relevant information of an application, whichever is later.

 


 

  1. How would the grant of the ESR Programme be released to the grantee?

  1. The grantee can make use of the grant to pay for necessary capital expenditure (e.g. equipment, fitting-out works) and initial operating expenditure (e.g. staff costs, rental expenses) as set out in the signed Agreement of the approved SE project.  Payment of the grant for capital expenditure will be made on reimbursement basis while the grant for operating expenditure will be paid in instalments having regard to the progress of project.

 


 

  1. Can a grantee start employing staff before approval of funding for the SE project?

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the ESR Programme, only expenditures directly incurred for the project during the Funding Period and approved items as listed in the Approved Budget of the Agreement for implementing the project can be charged to the grant.  In other words, any expenditure incurred before the funding period, including staff cost rent or any other expenses, cannot be charged to the grant.

 


 

  1. Can a grantee start leasing of operating venue, procurement of equipment, renovation, etc. before approval of funding for the SE project?

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the ESR Programme, only expenditures directly incurred for the project during the Funding Period and approved items as listed in the Approved Budget of the Agreement for implementing the project can be charged to the grant.  In other words, any expenditure incurred before the funding period, including staff cost, rent or any other expenses, cannot be charged to the grant.