Singapore

Initiative to help stay-at-home mums start business

Housewife Madam Lau Li Na loves to bake. Now, she is learning to sell her baked goods as part of her own start-up business from home.

The 51-year-old is one of 18 participants of a new initiative - North East Heart Bakers.

The initiative, launched officially by the North East Community Development Council (CDC) today, aims to help stay-at-home mothers from low-income families start their own home businesses.

These mothers are typically unable to have a full-time job because of health issues or the need to care for their children.

For Madam Lau, who is diabetic and has difficulty walking, it is the perfect way to earn some money.

"I love baking," she said. "It can be very tiring but also satisfying when I finish and sell the goods."

Participants, who must not have full-time jobs, are introduced through grassroots recommendation.

At yesterday's session with Les Amis restaurant's pastry chef Cheryl Koh, who runs her own artisanal confectionary Tarte, the women learnt how to make unique Chinese New Year cookies .

The cookies contain ingredients such as goji berry, winter melon and longan to give them different flavours.

Besides baking, the initiative also teaches the women basic social media marketing skills so they can sell their cookies online.

They also get materials like jars, labels and ingredients.

The cookies will be sold to corporate partners through North East CDC. The public can also buy them at Tarte.

Said Mr Desmond Choo, MP for Tampines GRC and mayor of North East CDC: "The end goal is that these women become entrepreneurs. It's about going beyond the traditional types of work, which their schedules don't permit them to do."

North East CDC has already received 380 orders from firms for the cookies.

Stay-at-home mother Nur Lydiana Nordin, 28, said she hopes to make her new skill a source of income. Two of her children have severe asthma and often need to go to hospital.

"I need to stay at home to take care of my children. Earning some money through baking can help me to support my family," she said.

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