WHAT? Time Auction is a non-profit organisation that offers the chance to meet a successful and inspiring entrepreneur in exchange for volunteering for charity.
WHO? Founders Fion Leung and Suet-yi Wong met while working in finance, and attending start-up events and coding classes together. Both now work full-time at start-ups, Leung at Notey and Wong at a mobile-gaming company. They were inspired to launch Time Auction in June 2014, adapting a previous model created by Leung’s friend David Wen in Canada to suit their cause. “We realised people want to have a career that they are passionate about, and do more than just a job,” Wong says. “But it seemed like the younger generation had no link to role models across different industries.”
HOW? The process is simple: there are two rounds per year (at the time of writing there are plans to add more rounds) and applicants select a mentor they would like to meet. If an application is successful, the candidate must volunteer for a specified number of hours at a charity of their choosing, and once completed can meet their mentor. “We want young people – students and those in their first jobs – to connect with people who are passionate about what they do,” Wong says. “When we went to events, we realised we hardly had the opportunity to ask questions. This model seemed like a win-win – mentors can help the volunteers on a one-on-one basis, and volunteers in turn can help charities,” Leung adds.
WHAT TO EXPECT Volunteers typically need to complete a minimum of 10 hours within two to three months. “We think this is achievable for people even with full-time jobs,” says Wong. Mentor meet-ups are usually done over lunch or dinner, and Leung and Wong try to arrange an office visit so the experience is well rounded. Past mentors have included Cindy Chow, executive director of the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and 9GAG CEO Ray Chan. Though volunteers can choose their own charity, Time Auction partners with HandsOn Hong Kong, Feeding Hong Kong and Pathfinders. “Our vision is to be a rewards programme like Asia Miles for volunteering,” Leung says.
WHERE? See timeauction.hk for details.