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Turning any event into a force for good
IN 2014, social enterprise events management agency Adrenalin had hundreds of Singaporeans racing to help the elderly regain their vision.
That is, running on treadmills in the heart of Orchard Road. For every 30 km clocked, a cataract surgery was donated by the Khazanah IHH Healthcare Fund to a needy elderly patient.
Mount Elizabeth Hospital had earlier approached Adrenalin for help in crafting a sporting event that would raise awareness about healthcare insurance coverage. The agency wanted to introduce a strong social element into it, resulting in the cheekily named event - Run for Cover.
And that is what fuels Adrenalin - the belief that any event can be turned into a force for good. This could be done through hiring other social enterprises for the aspects of an event such as gifting, catering and performances, or spreading positive messages, or being environmentally sustainable, said founder and managing director Richardo Chua.
But simply wanting to do good was not what propelled the group to be a top-notch events agency, bagging clients such as Shell, Changi Airport Group and Citibank.
"We understood from the beginning that to be a force for good, you have to be a sustainable and strong events agency," said Mr Chua. The group prides itself on being credible and delivering both creative and innovative solutions to its clients.
For instance, the use of technology is constantly at the forefront of Adrenalin's events planning. The agency has an in-house drone pilot, has invested in green screen technology for its photobooths, and is even looking into using holograms - all ways of "bringing something fresh to the audience".
Adrenalin was founded in 2008 by Mr Chua as a way of marrying his two passions, events management and social service. What started off as a two-person show has now grown into a profitable 30-strong team managing 90 to 120 events per year. Its revenue has also rose from about S$100,000 in its first year, to an average of S$2-3 million per annum in recent years.
Five years ago, the company grew to become a group of social enterprises, comprising the business arms Adrenalin Events, Adrenalin Creatives, Adrenalin Studios and Avelaunch Productions.
Each segment was created to serve clients in a more holistic manner; for instance, designers in the Creatives team can build detailed 3D renders for clients to virtually walk through the set-up of their event, giving them a heads-up on what to expect on the actual day.
Adrenalin is bent on building "the industry's best team", said Mr Chua, who estimated that 60 to 90 decisions have to be made for every event managed.
And the social enterprise does put its money where its mouth is. At any given time, up to 30 per cent of its staff comprises people with special needs. Over the group's 10-year history, this has amounted to over 50 such workers. The company's office has also been specially designed to accommodate their needs, such as being wheelchair-accessible, and having co-workers learn sign language.
As Adrenalin passes its 10-year mark, it will keep to the things that it does well, and will also look at other potential areas of business and partnerships - perhaps even internationalisation.
"Ten years . . . it hasn't been the easiest journey. There have always been ups and downs, and it has been incredibly exciting and incredibly intense," said Mr Chua.
"But after 10 years, I think the most important thing is this: the idea of social entrepreneurship can work. And if there was a message I wanted to send, that is the message: We can develop a career in social enterprise."
- This article is part of a biweekly series highlighting social enterprises in Singapore.
- Social enterprises provide business solutions to address unmet and emerging social needs and gaps. Visit www.raise.sg to learn more about these socially impactful companies.