A course on aquaculture was the inspiration for HKU students to design a new kind of raft for cultivating oysters and then launch a start-up company, Soonlution, to develop and market it. Called the Modern Shellfish Home (MSH), it is specifically designed to withstand typhoons, to allow automatic rotation of the oysters for optimum feeding and to have a remote control function.
The Soonlution founders are: Chief Technical Officer Abigail Zhao Ziwei, who was responsible for the design, production and testing of the rafts during the research and development (R&D) phase; Chief Executive Officer Meko Law Ho-ka, Chief Financial Officer Calvin Ma Hui; Chief Communications Officer Zachary Mok King-him, and recent addition Tsun Shueman as Product Director.
The course that inspired them, ‘Oyster Aquaculture: Business and Technology’, is taught by Dr Thiyagarajan Vengatesen (Dr Rajan) from the School of Biological Sciences, and looks at how Hong Kong’s 700-year-old oyster industry is transforming to meet the challenges of the modern world and achieve sustainable aquaculture.
Ms Zhao said: “Most of our members have a background in ecology and biodiversity, which is amazing but we wanted to explore the interdisciplinary knowledge that goes beyond pure science, and Dr Rajan’s course led us into the aquaculture industry.”