Recent news covered Chris Ko from the class of 2017 about her vegetarian tea cafe in Tsim Sha Tsui, and how she made good use of every skill she learnt from HKUST’s EVMT program to realize her dream.
“When I chose to apply to the Environmental Management and Technology (EVMT) program, I thought I would be learning about a wide range of environmental issues and their solutions,” said Chris. “But what’s more, I discovered what I wanted to do, and the program helped me achieved my goals.”
EVMT offers students a unique opportunity to grasp scientific and technological concepts and translate them into practice-based and sustainable business ideas. The intense, cross disciplinary program only admits 15 students every year, making it one of the most competitive degree programs in Hong Kong.
“Many people still think that going ‘green’ loses money,” said Chris. “But the truth is a lot of companies today are going green, building a sustainable future for the community, and making their businesses profitable as well.”
Becoming an entrepreneur certainly was not what Chris had in mind when she graduated from high school. But the deteriorating health of her mother, from a condition that had not been diagnosed before, changed her mindset completely as she entered college.
“Since, I took it upon myself to learn about healthy diet practice, and have become an activist of sorts,” Chris said.
“A healthy body, more than anything, is what helps us keep sicknesses and illnesses at bay.”
As a student, Chris worked multiple internships, spending time in an investment firm in China, learning the basics of investment while travelling to the rural areas in Yunnan, where she would eventually find her passion—tea. Keen to bring tea trading and branding to Hong Kong, she started her own company as a 3rd year student, became a certified tea master, and now her café uses tea imported directly from Yunnan.
“Tea is the best drink to go with a vegetarian diet,” said Chris. “Tea’s benefits are already well documented in the West, but people do not know much about Chinese tea as a brand yet. To build one of my own will be a dream come true.””
Already, some parties have shown their interests in collaborating with Chris, with some offering to take her tea overseas and make it a franchise. The tea party is just getting started.