Celebrating the entrepreneurs - small businesses making a difference

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Who isn’t familiar with the name Li Ka-shing? Tycoons make headlines every time they open their mouths, but there are millions of small entrepreneurs too creating jobs that keep the global economy ticking over.

That’s the message carried by a photojournalism exhibition at Pacific Place, which celebrates the contributions of the everyday entrepreneur.

The stories and images on display are taken from the pages of The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs, the second in a series of books produced by the Hong Kong-based Global Institute for Tomorrow (Gift), featuring 100 entrepreneurs from 95 countries.

The title is tongue-in-cheek, “poking fun at the notion that we celebrate the richest 100”, says Chandran Nair, the founder and CEO of Gift, an independent think tank.

“It’s not to poke fun at the richest, but to suggest that we oversimplify and we need to look at the world in a much more nuanced, yet sophisticated way.”

One of Nair’s favourite picture stories is by Seyed Esmail Mousavi, who captured the work of farmer Gholam Hossein in rural Iran. Twice a year, nomads herd their sheep and goats across his land. Hossein solved the problem by building a cableway across a nearby river. This prevents his land from being trampled, while earning him a small sum for each animal transported.

Anthony Kurtz photographed female mechanics who set up a car repair business in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, whose technical training institute graduates just one woman a year.

Hong Kong tailor Raymond Lun is also featured, captured by photographer Leo Kwok. Lun launched his own fashion store in Haven Street, Causeway Bay, five years ago after graduating from fashion design school. His clients now include a handful of local celebrities.

“In Hong Kong, we had two or three good stories,” Nair says. “We want diversity. So this book is not about all those developing countries. So we have Europe and North America covered, too.”

The exhibition, at Pacific Place’s Garden Court, runs until March 10.

South China Morning Post