Sphere No.48 (Jan 2020)

Philanthropy focus he Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) was there to lend a helping hand. In early October 2019, it announced the launch of a HK$1 billion (around US$127.8 million) fund to help small and medium businesses (SMEs) in Hong Kong. Later dubbed the “HK$1 Billion Crunch Time Instant Relief Fund”, it provided relief to those businesses experiencing a cash flow crunch across a range of the hardest-hit sectors: food and beverage (F&B), retail, travel, and hawkers (street sellers). Restaurant relief The LKSF team swung into action to create a quick and easy platform for Hong Kong businesses to be able to apply for and receive funds. They selected key sectors to support, starting with the F&B sector. Those working in that area have seen unemployment levels rise to their highest levels in eight years as sales dropped, and many outlets were forced to close. T Hong Kong has been deeply affected by the prolonged plight since June 2019. Widespread disruption to transportation and daily life has resulted in a severe blow to many small businesses in specific sectors. Many business operators have seen their revenues tumble. CrunchTime Relief forHongKong Sphere #48 2020 17 The Foundation worked with industry associations to ensure that the dedicated application website and processes would be easily understood by small businesses. For truly traditional operators who don’t use computers, the F&B industry associations committed to helping them complete the online applications. Each eligible applicant received funding support of HK$60,000 less than two weeks after the close of the application period.