Diamond Cab is the first ever barrier-free taxi service in Hong Kong. Previously, elderly and disabled people with limited mobility had little choice but to take a potentially unsafe illegal van as a ‘taxi’. Our mission is to solve this problem, faced by the majority of wheelchair users in Hong Kong when it comes to everyday travelling. Our vision is to provide a safe, accessible service that makes it easy for a previously marginalised and vulnerable group of people to interact with the world, while also being a driving force to promote genuine social progress in our society. Our service has even received recognition outside of Hong Kong, being awarded Highly Commended International Social Enterprise of the Year at the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2012.
We currently manage a fleet of six wheelchair accessible taxis and have completed over 76,000 journeys since 2011. Before our service, wheelchair users had to rely on public transport (which is often not completely barrier-free), non-profit run wheelchair accessible bus services or, most commonly, illegal vans. We now offer a well-established option across Hong Kong, providing a 24-hour service tailor made for wheelchair users.
OUR VENTURE EXPERIENCE
The Venture provided Diamond Cab with global exposure and helped us raise awareness of issues experienced by the worldwide ageing population. After being selected as the Hong Kong Finalist, we had our first experience of online crowdfunding, bringing both extra revenue and global exposure to Diamond Cab. We raised $19,000 USD which we used to invest in upgrading our regular cab maintenance. Also, Doris Leung, the Founder and CEO of Diamond Cab, was able to learn more entrepreneurial skills during the Accelerator Week, which she was then able to apply immediately in her training of other social entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. After being selected for The Venture, Doris was nominated by the U.S Department of State to join the “International Visitors Leadership Program”, visiting five cities in the United States in order to learn more about the impact of social entrepreneurship.
We have established more overseas networks and potential partnerships for the future. Also, we recently earned more sponsorship for buying new cabs to help support our cab fleet operation. Exposure from The Venture gave us greater public recognition and confidence from potential supporters, especially in Hong Kong. Next year, we hope to expand our manpower and to start offering leisure activities for which we feel there is a great market and need amongst the ageing population. We also want to create the “Diamond Fans Club” to engage with passengers, caregivers and our business partners who support the care being given to wheelchair-bound people in Hong Kong. We hope to develop “Diamond Leisure”, “Diamond Sharing” and “Diamond Pro” for Fans Club members, organizing leisure activities, sharing sessions and professional engagement events.