Euforia Singapore is the brainchild of Melvin Ho, our Founder & Managing Director. Together with his partners, they have worked over the past 1.5 years to prepare for Euforia Singapore’s beta launch, which is scheduled for 24th June 2016. You can now read more about Melvin, as he shares about himself, his desire to help the social sector, as well as how he hopes to change the way we shop online.
Q: Can you tell us more about yourself, and what you were doing before you started Euforia Singapore?
I graduated with a Bachelors’ Degree in Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Economics, from Curtin University in Western Australia. After returning to Singapore upon graduation, I embarked on a career in marketing & branding consultancy. Despite enjoying the many different experiences that my career had provided me up to then, I was always on the look-out for an opportunity to help the social and community sector.
Q: What started your interest in the social sector?
It was during the time I spent in Australia that exposed me to social-related causes, and piqued my interest in the area.
One of the projects that had the greatest impact on me, was one that I did for the Asthma Foundation of Western Australia. The semester spent on this project made me realise that Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) faced significant challenges that made it difficult for them to accomplish their goals.
It surprised me when I was told that the Foundation had an employee turnover rate of 80% in 2007, which improved to 1 resignation the following year, due to improvements made to their salary structure. I understood why qualified individuals would only take up a job if the remuneration was attractive, but it concerned me that not all NPOs could afford to do so, especially those in Singapore. I immediately grew a great respect for those working in the social and community sector. Not only are they individuals who are dedicated to the cause, they are also willing to take up jobs in this sector despite the lower remuneration.
Q: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur, or was it something that just happened naturally?
Being an entrepreneur, was a childhood dream, as I was surrounded by relatives who were running their own businesses. But, I always knew that it wasn’t something that could be rushed into, as I saw how business could fail as well. So I decided to first get experience, before venturing into entrepreneurship.
Q: When did you decide that it was time to venture into social entrepreneurship?
In 2012, I had an opportunity to join my friend’s social enterprise, Stirring Hearts, on a part-time basis as their Marketing Director.
At Stirring Hearts, I was exposed to the local social and community sector, where I met many other Social Enterprises, and NPOs. Being able to speak to people in the industry, I found that the problems that Social Enterprises and NPOs faced in Singapore, were not too dissimilar to their counterparts in Australia. In fact, I felt that it was worse off in Singapore, as support from the local community was weaker, due to a lack of resources and education on social issues.
I also had warm memories of the ‘Cards With A Heart‘ workshops run by Stirring Hearts. These card-making workshops comprised of beneficiaries from the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Singapore (MDAS) working together with employees from a private company. Many of the beneficiaries from MDAS were children, who required the use of wheelchairs to move around. Even the simple action of applying glue to paper with a brush, is difficult for them. But, yet, these workshops were always filled with plenty of smiles and laughter. This was because the children not only loved the activity, but also enjoyed the interaction and company of the participating adults.
My desire to help the needy and disadvantaged strengthened during this period, seeing how such a small and simple activity as card-making can bring so much joy and happiness to the children. It was evident to me that if individuals could gather together on a bigger scale to help the NPOs , the joy and happiness I saw in the children could be amplified and positively affect many more.
Q: How did you get your idea or concept for Euforia Singapore?
After my work at Stirring Hearts was complete, I began consolidating my ideas, and planning for the future. I was looking for a holistic solution that could provide a positive long-lasting impact on the local social and community sector; and not a solution that would only provide short-term benefits and die off in 6 months. And what better way to do it then through shopping, a daily pastime for Singaporeans.
The result was an all-encompassing shopping platform for customers, where Beneficiaries are able to increase awareness of their programs, gain donations, and be able to bring on board highly qualified volunteers.
Q: What is unique about your business that differentiates you from this very competitive industry?
We obviously don’t have the marketing budgets of our competitors. But, the fact of the matter is, we do not see them as competitors, as we are not competing in the same space. Unlike the other online marketplace platforms, Euforia Singapore does not only sell products. We believe that Singaporeans are beginning to be more aware of social issues. Through shopping, a favourite local pastime, we want to educate Singaporeans further on social issues, and encourage them to give back to society.
One individual alone is not enough to change the world. We hope that together with our customers, retailers, and other key stakeholders, we will be able to change the social landscape in Singapore.
Q: What are Euforia Singapore’s long-term goals, and what do you want the company to achieve after 5 years?
We built this business to help the society at large. For us, the goal is for Euforia Singapore to be able to leave a positive social footprint, be it a simple monetary donation to the disadvantaged, or being able to encourage more Singaporeans to volunteer themselves to social causes.
About Euforia Singapore
At MyEuforia.com.sg, we want our customers to enjoy a shopping experience like no other, where you can buy products you like, and also give back to society. This is part of our mission at Euforia Singapore, which is to enhance and improve the lives of the needy & disadvantaged by helping our Beneficiary Partners increase their Funding, Awareness and Volunteer levels. We hope that when you learn more about us, you can understand and share in our desire to help change the social landscape in Singapore.