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LiTE Bites - Bloomback

Lim Jun Wen, Alvin, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication Studies

22 May 2017

 

Organised by Nanyang Technopreneurship Center, LiTE Bites is a series of short and easily digestible lunch-time talks with the themes of Leadership in Technological Entrepreneurship (LiTE), innovation and creativity in general.

 

Hazel Kweh, founder and CEO of Bloomback, was invited to give a talk on social entrepreneurship on 22nd May at the Research Techno Plaza.

 

Close to 60 students attended the talk where Ms Kweh shared her journey towards creating Bloomback. Previously, she worked with both Singapore Airlines and Prudential in various roles before finding her passion for start-ups in late 2015. Her first two start-up attempts ended in failure - it was only in 2016 that Ms Kweh got her big break, participating in and receiving second prize amongst 26 participants for the Singapore Airlines App Challenge. This achievement gave her the confidence to establish Bloomback.

 

Bloomback comprises of two key components, namely the Bloomback Platform and Bloomback Academy. The former focuses on selling flowers through an e-commerce business that sustains Bloomback Academy, which organizes flower arrangement training sessions for marginalized women. By teaching these women basic flower arrangement skills, Bloomback hopes to enable marginalized women to regain confidence, return to the workforce and generate income with both full-time and flexible job opportunities.

 

Bloomback also seeks to reduce flower wastage from events, giving these flowers a second lease on life by repurposing them to bring cheer to the less fortunate. Ms Kweh revealed that Bloomback would be working with Nanyang Technological University during Convocation 2017 to set up booths, exchanging bouquets of Bloomback flowers for a picture taken at a photobooth. The bouquets would be donated to beneficiaries such as NTUC Income and St Andrew’s Community Hospital.

 

In closing, she stressed that a social enterprise, despite its charitable mission, must be self-sufficient and sustainable – an enterprise first, and the social mission, second. The social enterprise must be based on a sound business model that differentiates itself from others and generates sufficient revenue – an important takeaway for any potential social entrepreneurs at the talk.​