“They (the elderly with talents) can do cleaning or packaging, but could those work really bring them job satisfaction? We have to bridge their skills to the market.”- Anita Lee
Anita is the founder of Time To Gold, a social enterprise trying to collaborate with the local elderly and preserve traditional dessert arts by modern marketing.
As Anita loves to eat desserts, after realizing traditional desserts are fading, she found Time To Gold to preserve traditional dessert arts. Time To Gold selling traditional desserts made by retired females with knowledges or making traditional desserts, through Instagram pages with regular innovations to attract city people. By collaborating with the local elderly, the problem of fewer people get into the industry could be solved. By modern marketing, the problem of fewer people know about traditional dessert arts could be solved. This also promotes the values of these employees to the market, encourages women empowerment.
Obstacles already existed in the very beginning. In the original traditional dessert circle, every seller has own recipes, they can change the menu, location, time or seller. Standardization is necessary for a start-up. Anita find her management team, contact the traditional hawkers by their interconnections, communicate their flexible working hours and arrange their selling time without overlap. Without any previous experience, Anita need time to know the related regulations and mass production. By asking from others bravely, Anita overcame these obstacles successfully.
Gender has always been an obstacle for Time To Gold, whose employees are all female. A female founder need to survive in an environment which 80% are male, while most of them talking the car models never heard of, extra time is needed to familiarize their topics. The female employees facing the pressure of family as they always assumed to take care of the family first. With the will of reliving financial stress, Time To Gold have extra work of arranging stable and flexible working hours for them. By extra efforts, Anita overcame these obstacles successfully.
Anita is still trying to develop Time To Gold. In the future, except constant innovation, the first coffee shop would open on the island sides. In there, customers could enjoy tea & local desserts, while looking through the making process of local cakes at the back kitchen.
“Anita Lee started her own business “Time To Gold” by bringing back the declining culture of traditional cakes in Hong Kong. Starting from a simple Instagram page with a few followers, Anita was quickly able to discover a large audience passionate about traditional desserts in Hong Kong. This is what led her to eventually create her own business with local street cake vendors. I find Anita’s work to be inspiring as I can feel her empathy towards existing situations and issues. Her desire to rekindle part of Hong Kong’s culture and commemorate the hardworking people behind it that are often dismissed is heart-warming. I feel like the best businesses or ideas are those that have true and meaningful intentions. On top of that, it’s nice to see a business almost entirely run by women, as businesses and startups are usually dominated by men.”Nathalie Rose Sumin Schneersohn - Student from ENTR1001
“Thank you Anita for sharing your entrepreneurial journey with us! As a year 1 business student who has struggled with thinking when would be the best time in my life to launch my own business, it was reassuring for me to hear that these are hurdles all entrepreneurs just have to come to terms with, as Anita herself had come from a government working background before starting her own business, so it was a large risk for her to leave what would be considered a 'safe' and well-paying job. One other thing that stood out to be the most in Anita's talk was how she tries to balance her social goals with the financial obligations of running a 'for-profit' business. While she wants to widen the social impact of her business towards the elderly community, she at the same time wants to prove her business is sustainable by filling in the market gap and not having to rely on charities. Hence, I will keep in mind that businesses don't have to be non-profit to create societal benefits, but rather it's how you use your profits that drive change in society.”Cai Justin Liam - Student from ENTR1001
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