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HomeLatest NewsS’pore Coffee Company Bettr Helps Struggling Youths Find Their Footing, Receives S$2M...

S’pore Coffee Company Bettr Helps Struggling Youths Find Their Footing, Receives S$2M Investment Support

Heritas Capital, DBS & Bettr Group Join Hands To Upskill Singapore’s Youths

How do we define success? For many, especially those in the business world, the more you earn, the better you’re faring.

Bettr Group, Heritas Capital, and DBS Foundation are hoping to change this view.

The Asia Impact First Fund (AIFF), which is managed by impact investment platform Heritas Capital with DBS Foundation as its knowledge partner, has made a S$2 million investment to help Bettr Group impact more vulnerable communities in Singapore.

Since its founding in 2011, Bettr Group has upskilled countless marginalised individuals, including at-risk youths — giving them a chance to start anew.

Among these individuals are Shirley and Sha, who shared the stories of their growth after discovering Bettr.

Single mum of two built a career in coffee at Bettr

30-year-old Shirley was only 15 when she gave birth to her first child.

“I grew up in a broken family… so my mum wasn’t there to basically help me grow up,” she said.

Image courtesy of DBS Foundation

Shirley dropped out of school at 14 years old and started working at a fast-food restaurant.

She used to live with her in-laws before her divorce. Her salary had to support not only her two young children, but also 19 other family members in the house, and it was difficult to make ends meet.

After working at the fast-food restaurant for seven years, she finally discovered Bettr through her family social service centre.

Upon joining Bettr, Shirley had invaluable opportunities to further her career.

Starting as a trainee in 2012, she has since achieved remarkable milestones. She is now a certified ACTA (Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment) and a certified SCA (Specialty Coffee Association).

In addition, she’s an operations manager at Bettr and oversees two retail outlets.

“It’s really a big milestone for me as I never thought that with PSLE I can achieve so much,” said Shirley.

Apart from that, the single mother of two reflected that she has also grown as a person — from a short-tempered youth to a better-adjusted adult.

Former nurse & drug user starts afresh after experiencing burn out

Sha similarly came to Bettr Group as a youth who had experienced much struggle.

In school, he trained as a nurse as per his mother’s wishes and rarely received validation for his achievements.

Growing up, he heard that his bursaries and achievements were not because of his hard work but only because his family was poor.

At 16, Sha left his family to work in nursing — which he threw himself into.

Image courtesy of DBS Foundation

“To sustain myself, I got into drugs,” he said.

At the time, Sha juggled three part-time jobs on top of school and co-curricular activities. He went to prison for drugs after his partner passed away from an overdose.

Sha took a break from healthcare after getting out of prison, and that was when his social worker referred him to Bettr Group.

“They teach you about coffee, obviously, but they also teach you how to sustain yourself,” said Sha.

He then looked back on the time when they went bouldering as a part of the programme, and how it was meant to build up their physical strength to prepare them for the job.

“In Bettr, they also teach me how to set healthy boundaries and more importantly, they notice when I’m shutting [down].”

Bettr Group can now give more youths at risk a chance for better life

Now with the backing of Heritas Capital and DBS Foundation, Bettr can continue to help even more individuals like Shirley and Sha.

Image courtesy of DBS Foundation

The fund’s S$2 million investment will help Bettr expand its training programmes and its business, so that it can continue to employ more staff from marginalised communities.

Founder of Bettr Group, Pamela Chng, said that they are excited to partner Heritas through the AIFF and to expand their vision of social business being key actors in the economy that can impact solutions.

Image courtesy of DBS Foundation

“We intend to solidify our footprint in Singapore, support more beneficiaries through education and inclusive employment, and eventually scale into the region,” said Ms Chng.

Bettr also hopes to branch out from coffee into other beverages, by providing professional training for aspiring cocktail mixologists or tea brewers.

Karen Ngui, DBS Group Head of Strategic Marketing and Communications and DBS Foundation Board Member, also looks forward to the potential impact Bettr will have with the capital injection.

“Bettr is testament to the fact that it is possible to have a positive impact on society while building a sustainable business at the same time,” said Ms Ngui.

Image courtesy of DBS Foundation

DBS Foundation has been a partner in Bettr’s journey for almost a decade. Over the years, it’s provided the company with funding, mentorship, and business opportunities, among others.

The foundation has championed social enterprises in Asia, like Bettr, since 2014, supporting businesses that are for both profit and impact.

Earlier this year, Heritas Capital had a successful first close of the AIFF with DBS Bank as an anchor investor. With this, they can now deploy impact-first growth funding for meaningful businesses like Bettr Group.

Heritas and DBS Foundation also seek to partner with more like-minded corporates, foundations, family offices, and philanthropic funders to support impactful growth enterprises.

Providing hope for a Bett(e)r future

Bettr Group is a business that hopes to make Singapore a better place.

As of this year, the home-grown coffee company has been thriving for over a decade.

With the new boost in funding, hopefully, it can continue to uplift the community and inspire other businesses to do the same.

Also read: NTUC Hears S’pore Inmates’ Concerns About Returning To Society, Hopes To Create More Inclusive Workplaces

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Featured image courtesy of DBS Foundation.

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