Eden + Elie - Threading the Needle Between Social Impact and Business Strategy
When co-founder Stephanie Choo decided to create jewellery brand Eden + Elie, she knew that she wanted to give back to the community through training and employment opportunities. So, she travelled to different countries to find potential communities to work with but unfortunately, could not find a suitable match.
Then, she attended raiSE’s Social Enterprise Conference in 2016, in a bid to find beneficiaries locally. “I stood up to ask a question about which group of people I should hire and was subsequently introduced to SG Enable and through them, to The Autism Resource Centre,” noted Stephanie.
Eden + Elie is a local jewellery brand that prides itself in creating uniquely Singaporean statement pieces through handweaving and beadwork. They partner with the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) to train and employ adults with autism as artisans. Co-founder Leon Toh shared how delighted they were to find a very good match with their beneficiaries as adults with autism have a very strong ability to be meticulous and are careful about the way they use material, which is exactly what is needed when crafting jewellery.
To expand their business and impact, Eden + Elie then applied for the raiSE VentureForGood Grant which enabled them to train and employ their first group of beneficiaries from ARC. While the application process involved forecasting financial projections for the next 5 years, it earned them a dedicated raiSE account manager who supported them through quarterly check-ins. “At every meeting, we really look forward to seeing the raiSE team because we know the people at raiSE have journeyed with us and they’re invested in our success. It’s not easy to do what they do for the SE community,” explained Stephanie.
Their journey with raiSE evolved from being a grantee to getting more support as an investee. Leon recalls how the raiSE Impact Finance (RIF+) team helped Eden + Elie to sharpen the business strategy and strengthen the delivery of their social impact.
“They challenged us on our business model and the type of impact we were creating, then guided us through that process of achieving it, which was very helpful,” recalled Leon.
By partnering with raiSE, Eden + Elie gives back to the community through building capabilities for Social Service Agencies and fellow Social Enterprises. “We hope to share our experience with fellow social entrepreneurs as we have gone through some of these lessons and have benefitted from raiSE’s guidance,” noted Leon. Reminiscing on their 4-year journey together, Stephanie fondly recalls how raiSE has been able to provide different perspectives and solutions to their business challenges.
“It’s nice knowing we have someone we can count on, because that is something money can’t buy. The ability to bounce off ideas with raiSE is important to me as a business owner on an emotional level,” concluded Stephanie.