Francis has provided HK$30,000
prize money, the pioneering e-marketing software developed by his
company and plenty of his own valuable time for the benefit of the
students who will compete in the "Radica Creative eMarketing
Campaign Award Program".
being nurtured under the HKUST Entrepreneurship Program, so Genesis
took the opportunity to talk to Francis about the award and some
of the experiences he has gained on the road to becoming a successful
There's no hint of a hesitation when the twenty-something physics
graduate extols his belief that the most important thing in starting
your own business is to have a clear objective. "It's not always
a question of money," he adds. "To start up a business
you have to deal with a lot of stress and risk. And the returns
never live up to your expectations. You must remember this before
trying to run your own enterprise. As a starter you need to have
a sense of mission. If you don't, you will probably suffer major
Francis's current mission with Radica Systems is to enhance software
product quality. While some investors may tend to look for the highest
returns in the shortest time possible, Francis believes a real entrepreneur
must take a radically different path if he is to deliver quality
products: "If you simply follow the wishes of your investors,
you will never be able to develop good products. You may even be
digging your own graves. You just can't expect high-quality products
to come up overnight, especially in the software development industry.
It takes time," he states, very firmly.
Francis learned his lessons the hard
way. In 2000, just as he and two of his fellow graduates joined
the HKUST Entrepreneurship Program, the dot.com bubble burst, shattering consumer confidence.
Radica Systems, was born into a fiercely competitive market and
had to struggle to survive, let alone grow. It was a tough time
for the three young entrepreneurs. For one long year, they braved
problem after problem, from sluggish production to a dwindling clientele.
With almost no income, working long and
trying days, it was sometimes hard to find the motivation to go
on. "Yes, we did think of giving up," Francis admits. "But then,
we told ourselves, we are USTizens and our ideas are good enough to be supported by
the University's Entrepreneurship Program. These thoughts
are what we clung to during our darkest moments - and we
For his younger HKUST brothers and sisters, Francis
has the following advice: "Work hard!" From your parents this might
sound like an overused mantra, but when this wisdom is uttered from
such a motivated young man, it sounds totally convincing.
Modestly, Francis adds: "I don't know if I will
become a successful person. But I'll do my very best not to let
down my beloved HKUST."