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Jerry Li: Empowering People to Thrive in a Technological Future

Jerry Li: Empowering People to Thrive in a Technological Future

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Hey, friends! It's Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have a great interview to get your week started. Today, I’m excited to cruise around with Jerry Li Ho Ming, the co-founder of INCIPE Technologies. Are you ready to be inspired? 

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Jerry! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your startup?

Jerry: Happy to cruise with you, Spiffy! At INCIPE, there are a few challenges we would like to solve. For starters, the majority of programming courses only promote passive learning, with no margin for understanding, brainstorming, or unleashing students’ creativity. Moreover, designs for educational kits are generally dull and difficult for students to apply to their daily lives.

Spiffy: Interesting! What motivated you to tackle these particular challenges?

Jerry: Education technology (EdTech) is obviously an emerging market for business. However, it seems that companies in the industry forget their original intention—EdTech should never be a tool for prioritizing money above all else. Why? Because it limits the reach and accessibility of resources for teenagers with diverse backgrounds, consequently diminishing the true value of education. This is why I founded INCIPE with a mission to empower people by providing them with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in a technological future, aiming to actuate a world where technology can be fully taken advantage of, by anyone, anywhere.

Spiffy: Tell us more about how you or your organization are working towards a more equitable world.

Jerry: In terms of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our project targets SDG 4: Quality Education, and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. More specifically, INCIPE targets the digital divide for GenZ. I truly believe everyone deserves the opportunity to receive quality STEM education in this digital era. At INCIPE, we provide open-source tutorials about computer science, innovation, entrepreneurship, design, and more through our educational kit. In this kit, young learners can explore different emerging technologies and innovations in a hands-on fashion. What is special about INCIPE is that we create an ecosystem, critically linking education technology to real-life scenarios and inspiring our young generation to become the innovators of tomorrow.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community or audience?

Jerry: At INCIPE, we’ve made considerable strides to achieve our vision of providing exposure to technology within our community. I’m glad to share that our first-generation prototyping for the ecosystem has already reached 80% completion and is ready to launch soon, thanks to the support given by Rise, an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust. As a Rise Global Winner, I’m proud to say that Rise has allowed us to truly pursue our dreams and life-long goals that might change a little bit of the world. This is an invaluable opportunity that I’ve never thought about before. With Rise, I believe INCIPE is capable of reaching out to more young minds around the world to utilize our ecosystem for their learning journeys.

Spiffy: Congrats to you all on your progress! Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?

Jerry: I think failures are neutral, reflective processes, depending on personal attitudes. I still remember the first time when I led a team to join a tech competition for social innovation. I was confident that our project idea could at least get into the semi-final. Yet, this was eventually not the case. Even though realizing the truth was tough, I chose not to focus on the result. Instead, I reflected on building the idea with my teammates and sought reinforcement for our project. Though we didn’t win, it provided me with invaluable lessons and allowed me to start over positively. I believe that without failures you cannot succeed, and with failures you can learn something.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jerry—it’s been an honor!

Jerry Li Ho Ming is co-founder of INCIPE Technologies. He is part of Global Talent Mentoring and is pursuing studies in engineering and artificial intelligence at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was an inaugural Rise Global Winner, selected by Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust to be the first winner from Hong Kong in 2021. (Nominated by Rise of Schmidt Futures. First published on the Ladderworks website on April 24, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.