SHEROES Bios: Lena Ng, Flour Power
SHEROES Bios is a collection of 12 selected stories taken from “ULTRAordinary SHEROES”, a collaborative project by The HEART Enterprise, Up Your Game Community, and Our Unique Stories to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019.
After 14 years in marketing, Lena took a sabbatical. She spent her time teaching English in the villages of Thailand and Cambodia, and eventually returned with a change in perspective and a desire to help people in Singapore. While looking for an opportunity to do so, she discovered that special needs individuals above the age of 18 faced difficulties securing employment.
In 2016, she started Flour Power, a social enterprise bakery which trains people with special needs to bake so that they may find sustainable jobs in the future. It is a tenet for Lena that her trainees gain confidence through achieving small milestones and learning to socialise. While the initial plan was to secure job placements following the training, Lena ended up employing most of them to work at Flour Power.
Lena reveals that because Flour Power is a social enterprise, it has not been easy finding a sustainable middle ground operating as a business while achieving a social goal. Since the trainees joining the bakery had no experience and had to learn everything from scratch, Lena usually wound up teaching, baking, and doing deliveries all on her own. She feels that what she has achieved was only possible through the grace of God, and that these special needs individuals have been a blessing to her.
Flour Power hit a snag in late 2018 when Lena was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She had to close the store and seek medical treatment. Running the bakery single-handedly has been difficult and Lena hopes to build a proper team to run the business. While the bakery has temporarily ceased operations, Lena hopes to reopen it soon and conduct baking classes for both special needs children and corporate businesses.
Lena’s story first appeared at the ULTRAordinary SHEROES event organised by The HEART Enterprise and DISTRii Singapore on 8 March 2019.