Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Words by Ruoyi & Clarice
Photography by Clarice
This article was originally published on BoldAtWork.sg on 3rd September 2020
From the NUS campus to now the Bold studio, the evolution of hatch started with Victor and came together in its current form with Wan Qing and Li Ying. The Bold team meets them on one of those afternoons they had a breather from running their Immersive programme.
Many people assume that people who start social enterprises do it because they have a good heart. But the three co-founders of Hatch, Victor, Wan Qing and Li Ying genuinely believe that they do it not just because they have a good heart, but because it is worth it.
Keep Your Eye On The Prize-Value
“Value is Value. But in Singapore at least, it always seems like community value is of an inferior value”, Victor laments. As a Math major, Victor’s brain works in such a way that is able to distill complex or convoluted problems into fundamental principles, what in mathematical terms he calls “axioms”.
Excitedly, he threw out an infinite fractional axiom, where regardless of what number you place behind, you halve it and it would still add up to one.
The point he was trying to put across to us was how he had envisioned Hatch to be the ones providing the ‘first few bits’ that is common across different people. And to Victor that true value lies in doing whatever it takes to put “the other person’s agency and needs, satisfaction and fulfillment as the most important thing”.
Wan Qing shares about how when Hatch first started, they finally got a youth to come on board and undergo apprenticeship with a hawker. However, when they found out that the company was not treating the youth fairly, they immediately stopped the programme. And thank goodness they did that! Because without this strong desire to offer something that is truly of value to their clients, they would not have as Wan Qing mentioned “stumbled upon this term that we never hear before called UI/UX.”. They noticed that there were a lot of companies hiring for UI/UX and the best part was that you do not need a degree, just a portfolio, opening up pathways and possibilities for young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to enter this high-growth industry.
Going Beyond Definitive Endings
The obstacles to starting a social enterprise so early on in one’s working life are many. They may range from gentle parental disapproval (“you don’t even have money, why you want to do good now”), suspicious looks from friends who call them “too intense” or even personal financial losses like Li Ying who quit her finance job to join Hatch full-time.
But Victor “hopes that there will be a day where people do not have to see Social Enterprises as a thing whereby you have to take enormous personal sacrifices and financial losses because ultimately you’re doing something that is of value that you can be compensated in different ways.” Amidst the youthful idealism lies a quiet conviction to want to break past the norms and stories that fill the space today. Like what Victor says “the impact space deserves more young people who choose to be there” not just to do good, but “ to do good better” in a way that is authentic to their own beliefs and strengths. It is ok to be “bolder about what you believe in and even to tell it to people who have a lot more years in working experience than you”.