Zech Ng, Co-founder of BloomBack — The Healing Power of Flowers
BloomBack uses flowers to spread Happiness, encourage Empathy, promote Acceptance and nurture Love (HEAL). They were among the inaugural recipients of the Lotus-NUS Fund, in support of social impact driven start-ups that are founded by NUS-affiliated Singaporeans.
A one-stop online floral and gifts marketplace with a difference, BloomBack is committed to empowering marginalised women, helping them to regain confidence and achieve financial independence and dignity. Each purchase at BloomBack contributes to providing these women with holistic training and employment opportunities in skills related to floristry, sales, marketing and technology. The team also champions a repurposing flower movement, taking in flowers donated from weddings and events, and repackaging them to bless hospital patients and the lonely elderly in Singapore.
Zech Ng, an NUS Computing ’06 alumnus and the Co-founder and CTO of BloomBack, shares about his trials and tribulations managing the business.
How is being a successful entrepreneur different from what you had expected?
Growing up in an environment where both my parents are entrepreneurs gave me an insight into how it feels like to become one. I get to experience the ups and downs of a brick and mortar business first-hand.
To be honest, it is tougher than what I expected it to be, more so for a social enterprise where we have to juggle both business performance and our social mission. I used to think that as long as you plan well and execute according to plan you will succeed. However, in reality, there is usually not enough time to plan given the very demanding day-to-day operations. There are times where we end up letting the market show us the trend.
What is the biggest mistake that you have made as an entrepreneur?
My biggest mistake is to expand the business too fast overnight and not spend enough time training middle management. To avoid this mistake, I would suggest companies to identify potential middle management staff early, train and set clear directions for them. This will prepare them well when the business starts to grow.
What has been your greatest moment of success?
In my opinion, success is not about the amount of money in the bank, but the satisfaction derived from building a like-minded community that creates value for each other. BloomBack has received a lot of validation from the public ranging from individual consumers to businesses and beneficiaries. I believe that success will follow after value creation.
What advice would you give to aspiring Social Entrepreneurs?
Sustainability is an important aspect for businesses, and it is even more so for Social Enterprises. Scaling while still maintaining sustainability will be one of your key challenges and focus areas.
To learn more about BloomBack…
Ready to develop your social enterprise idea?
NUS Enterprise has a host of events and funding opportunities to equip you on your journey.
The Lotus-NUS Fund provides seed funding of $25,000 for start-ups powered by a social mission. We’re looking for social impact driven start-ups that (i) Are looking to grow beyond the ideation or technology prototyping stage
(ii) Have a positive social and/or environmental impact in Singapore or overseas. Submit an Executive Summary to us at https://nus.edu/2wDQ3Rq by 5 October 2018.
Other programmes that we run include the the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia , and the NUS Start-up Runway, which supports start-ups at any point of your entrepreneurial journey. More information on the Social Venture Lab @ NUS is available at our website.