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”.
After 3 years from concept to operations, they are slowly shifting sands, bringing more people into their fold to join them in their movement to redefine the value of their work. And building trust is the most important brand asset they have come to realise in a business. The team shares that when they first started working with social and community organisations, they were young, untested and new. It was easy for them to be dismissed as the young ones embarking on “yet another school project”. But when you are dealing with lives of others, it was their promise to deliver well that shifted trust in their favour.
“the work that we do gets very serious, because we deal with family and stuff, (we) always feel they deserve more than students working with them or on such projects”
Towards the young people they train, they want to tell them that they are here to stay, that training them is not just a one-off transaction, but that “we would train you, place you and at the same time really care for you”. Since Hatch was launched in 2018, they have trained 78 youths in their immersive and accelerator programmes. These graduands have seen their annual incomes increase by more than $6,000 on average and many of them continue to be plugged in to the Hatch eco-system.
The Next General Assembly To Be Hatch
“I think what Hatch wants to do is we want to become this trusted, premium provider of these services. We want to deliver the quality of General Assembly without pricing out people”, Victor boldly asserted when we asked him what the future of Hatch looked like. It is with this that he believes Hatch will differentiate itself from existing training companies doing similar work.
And trust us when we say they are working on being damn good at what they have established themselves in. Since circuit-breaker, they have put forth webinars after webinars, collaboration after collaboration. There was a point in our chance conversations with Hatch where we heard them go “Are we doing too much?”. But this was quickly dismissed as they agreed to stay the course to deliver the best and continue to put out Value to their followers. Over 300 participants have benefited from their free online webinars on UI/UX and digital marketing since they launched the series when Covid hit. And even though sign-up numbers for their free online webinars have fallen as people slowly return to their usual routines, Hatch remains committed to putting out free, quality resources for those who are still curious to explore.
“Our desire is for it to scale to everybody!” quipped Victor. A business advisor may be quick to judge such a customer segmentation approach, but Victor believes that this bold statement stems from a belief that upskilling and employment are things that people need and care about, “It is at the front of everybody’s head.” He hopes for Hatch would be able to level the playing field within this space, and that it would not just be one that is based on the resources you have.
What They Say About What It Means To "Be Bold Be You"
Be bolder about what you believe in. Have more faith in what is inside than what is the situation outside. Think about the space you want to be in and find that space instead of carving yourself around the spaces that are available.
Daring to be yourself, not doubting yourself, just be yourself.
- Li Ying
Importance of having a principle and not caving in to external pressures, that’s the Be You part. The Be Bold part gives you the Drive to push for whatever your principles are. I think a lot of times in Hatch we can actually cave but a very large part of why we can do what we do is being happy because there were all these things we didn’t compromise
- Wan Qing
View the original article here: http://bit.ly/hatchxbold