Introducing the SME Committee

Interview with Jeffrey Broer, Chair SME Committee and Board Director at DutchCham
Jeffrey Broer
Jeffrey Broer, SME Committee

Could you please provide an introduction of yourself?
My name is Jeffrey Broer, the current Chair of the SME Committee at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. I came to Hong Kong around 14 years ago and transitioned from entrepreneur to investor - after selling my original business. I have a lot of sympathy for entrepreneurial people, who have the courage and and nerve to start a business on their own. Since becoming investor, I supported and helped a lot of entrepreneurs on their business and strategy, particularly in Asia. I see a lot of opportunities for businesses in Hong Kong, to start and expand their company in this town.

The DutchCham SME Committee recently merged with the Creative Committee. What are you planning to organise?
We will continue to support the SME and Startup members of the Dutch Chamber; the largest segment of the member base. The community is very diverse - both in terms of activities and industries - so we a planning different type of events. These include masterclasses and workshops on relevant topics and developments for entrepreneurs and networking events & drinks to stimulate creating new connections.

How do you see the current situation for Dutch entrepreneurs in Hong Kong? 
There are quite some opportunities, but that requires you to be well informed and connected. Since some are currently shying away from China/Asia, due to economic and geopolitical circumstances, there are openings for those who dare to step in this space. Despite the high costs, Hong Kong remains a good place for entrepreneurs, with the rule of law, a high concentration of human capital/talent and a big potential reach over China/Asia. This offers opportunities for Dutch entrepreneurs. Capturing these opportunities does require a flexible mindset, which you might need to develop in case you are not familiar with doing business in Hong Kong. I remember arriving here all these year ago and discovering shops in the back of the 12th floor of a building, who were still able to operate a viable business. 

What does the SME Committee offer in terms of supporting its members?
The SME Committee is a platform to share information and developments that matter to entrepreneurs. We also contribute added value through active engagement, such as providing connections and advocacy for SME’s and Startups in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The platform enables you to learn from others, who went through situations and opportunities before and who can share best-practices. Finally, the SME Committee can give you the feeling/motivation that you are not alone, but part of a community of ambitious entrepreneurs. 

You are reaching the end of your term as Chair of the Committee at the upcoming AGM in September. Are you looking for a successor? 
Indeed, I would love to continue to this role, but I am arriving at the end of my three-year term as Chair and Board Director. We are actively looking for my successor, both within and outside the Chamber. The position is open for those who want to be active for the Chamber, looking for a strategic challenge and Board Director experience.