How do you combine social impact and profit?
Enterprises have always had one main goal – to maximize profit. But recently, there has been an increasing number of socially conscious enterprises attempting to fuse two seemingly contradictory business goals together. And in that category, we have three businesses that are successful marriages of both profit and social impact:
Hush TeaBar is Singapore’s—and possibly the world’s—first silent tea bar. Through the employment of the deaf and individuals with mental health issues, this social enterprise seeks to bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf together as one, with a cup of tea. Hush is designed with its deaf partners at the core of the service experience.
hello flowers! is a floral studio that creates beautiful moments with flowers and nature. It believes in empowering local women from all walks of life and employs women who are unable to find or hold full-time jobs due to various issues such as caregiving issues, health conditions, a lack of education and/or skills. It also conducts a social training programme, kins by hello flowers! for these women.
Foreword Coffee is a speciality coffee company that trains and hires persons with special needs and disabilities in its coffee kiosks, so as to create better employment opportunities for them and increase their well-being. It also imports green coffee directly from Asian producers and roast them locally, serving them fresh in their coffee kiosks.
Hear the start-up stories of Hush Teabar, hello flowers! and Foreword Coffee directly from their founders, and converse with them as they share their tips, advice and secrets on starting up a social enterprise in Singapore.
Anthea Ong likes to wear hats - many of them at a go, in fact. She has spearheaded several ground-up movements in service of humanity. Most notable is Hush TeaBar, Singapore's first silent teabar that employs the deaf and persons-in-recovery from and those with mental health conditions, empowering them to reintegrate into society. She is passionate about educating others on social inclusion at the workplace and community, mental health and volunteerism - topics which she will be bringing to the table in her capacity as Nominated Member of Parliament. Recently adding “author” to her many roles, 50 Shades of Love is her first published book to celebrate her 50 years of life-loving, with all net proceeds going to support psychosocial support programmes for Rohingyan refugees.
Annie Cheong is the founder of hello flowers! A curious and idealistic individual, she worked on domestic violence cases after graduating with a degree in social work. She attended floral arrangement classes as a respite from work and grew passionate about it. With the birth of hello flowers! she managed to combine her passion and work. She loves having the daily opportunity to experiment, to create and to develop her own signature style in floral design.
Nadi Chan is the Director at Foreword Coffee, where he is actively involved in numerous business functions, like finance, training and operations. Having little prior experience in both F&B and in the social sector, his encounter with Foreword Coffee was a serendipitous one. Every day, he sees the potential of differently-abled persons with his own eyes, and is active in sharing how they can be just as productive as any other person at their jobs.
Breakthrough is a series of talks on entrepreneurship and innovation to inform aspiring entrepreneurs in their own business journey by giving them the opportunity to converse with founders of established businesses. The next session of Breakthrough will take place in July.