When companies share their space for social causes

Collaborate for Good is an initiative aimed at facilitating partnerships between organisations to do good as part of their everyday business.

Vivien Ang
Published Thu, Apr 22, 2021 · 05:50 AM

THE arrays of nonya kuehs and bak zhang are replaced with hand sanitisers and face masks at Kim Choo Kueh Chang.

However, fans can rest assured that the two-unit shophouse along 111 East Coast Road, which sells Peranakan food and collectibles, is not changing business direction.

Business development & CSR director Edmond Wong said that they were just doing their part during the pandemic.

"When our government made the announcement on the circuit breaker, our business was affected. However, as we were listed as an essential service, our food business was allowed to operate with restrictions. Hence, we joined Company of Good's Collaborate for Good and opened up our space to be a location where individuals could donate their additional face masks or sanitisers. This had allowed Singaporeans from the neighbourhood to easily offer help to our frontliners during the shortage of surgical masks and sanitisers."

An initiative by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre's Company of Good, Collaborate for Good facilitates partnerships between organisations to create social impact, serving as a go-to directory of ways to do good as part of everyday life, such as through the use of spaces.

Hence, besides loaning its space to do good, Kim Choo Kueh Chang has been impacting its local community by hiring and training staff with high-functioning autism or special needs as community guides or kitchen staff.

Friday, 12.30 pm
ESG Insights

An exclusive weekly report on the latest environmental, social and governance issues.

Mr Wong said: "We are now closely working with SG Enable on employing their clients to work with us, and are also exploring future opportunities of developing future jobs for people with different abilities."

He added that it is especially meaningful when SMEs like Kim Choo Kueh Chang find it relevant to establish a long-term relationship with local NGOs, and to maintain a cause that is not purely offering donations.

"To maintain a relationship it has to go beyond one-off activities or campaigns. We maintain a Corporate Social Responsibility framework, because we believe that it is necessary to appreciate and practise sustainability through various forms. It is a lot more sustainable to teach someone how to fish than to offer him/her fish to eat for a day."

Therefore, Samit Chopra, international managing director (strategy & operations), WeWork, said that they recognised the need and opportunity to support organisations serving underserved communities and individuals through its space during the pandemic.

Being the first Collaborate for Good partner to leverage its spaces for social causes, Mr Chopra said that this partnership also enabled them to be creative in maximising their locations and solutions.

"We were able to continue reimagining how the workplace can help everyone, from social enterprises to non-profits in navigating the way forward."

Therefore, WeWork Singapore is extending discounted rates for office spaces and events reservations across its 13 locations here to Company of Good members, non-profit organisations, and social enterprises in Singapore.

Mr Chopra said that although the partnership is in its initial phases, reception from social enterprises/non-profits has been very positive.

"Our spaces and community provide them with the opportunity to leverage a diverse community for potential collaborations and partners, and have a closer proximity to their stakeholders in central and strategic CBD."

WeWork Singapore's local Impact team driving this Collaborate for Good partnership saw an alignment in providing non-profit organisations the workspace and resources that has supported their community during this critical time.

"Building on the success and best practices of this partnership in Singapore, our team was also inspired to explore similar initiatives in markets such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia," said Mr Chopra.

Going beyond corporate giving

By June last year, WeWork Singapore's sales were back to pre-circuit breaker figures. Hence, Mr Chopra said that "the partnership with Company of Good was perfect not only in alignment of our values, member & employee experience, but also a platform for engaging members for more collaboration opportunities with social enterprises. Ultimately, we believe that going beyond corporate giving isn't just 'doing good' - it's also doing good business".

Happiness Initiative - a social enterprise that benefited from the initiative with WeWork Singapore - helps people take a preventive approach towards mental health conditions.

Simon Leow, co-founder of Happiness Initiative, said: "Our experience with WeWork began in 2019 when we partnered them in planning our 2020 Happiness Conference. With the evolving situation in 2020, it was still important for us to be in an environment to connect with other companies. Not only was the space at WeWork Singapore essential for us as a social organisation, we were also able to scale our business objectives."

During the pandemic, Suntec Singapore was Collaborate for Good's first advertising and media partner, providing complimentary 30 seconds of ad space for a week on The Big Picture, retailing at S$14,700.

With the high volume of visitors alighting at the driveway for access to both Suntec Convention Centre and Suntec City Mall, non-profits and charities were supposed to gain more support and reach for their campaigns with the ad being played in regular rotation throughout the day.

Suntec Singapore said: "Partnering with Collaborate for Good, we hope that more non-profits and charities will be able to access our ad services in support of their campaigns. Collaborate for Good is already working with various organisations that may require campaign support, and we hope that our small contribution will make a difference in their reach and visibility. We are currently committed to providing advertising and media support with Collaborate for Good, and we are open to explore other opportunities in the future. Suntec Singapore continues to be committed to give back to our society and be a champion for social causes and charities."

James Wu, general manager of Preschool Market, which loaned their office space during the pandemic, said: "For Preschool Market, we sponsor free or provide highly subsidised educational programmes to underprivileged children, working with our charity partners. We are constantly looking out for opportunities to help in this area, because this aligns very nicely and naturally with our strength as a preschool consultancy company.

"We are a very small company with less than 20 employees, but we never thought that we could not make a difference. Our philosophy has always been that, we will give whatever we can, and hopefully as we grow in size as a company, we would also like to increase in the magnitude of our giving. I would like to share an inspirational quote from ECDA's (Early Childhood Development Agency) Start Small Dream Big initiative: "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something."

  • Collaborate for Good provides a go-to directory of collaboration opportunities to make doing good a part of daily life. Find out more at

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to



Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here