Social Entrepreneur Series – Scents of cultural inclusion [Job Training and Opportunities]
Social Entrepreneur – Max Cheng (left) and Johnny Lo (right)
Max has a lifelong affinity with incense. He had seen his family burning incense in religious rituals since he was a child. In his teenage years, he produced art pieces with incense sticks. He majored in visual arts at university and used incense in his final year project. Inspired by a professor, he went on to launch his own hand-made incense brand.
Initially, he focused on making traditional incense sticks but the business was lagging. Prompted by his girlfriend, he started to use cookie-cutters to make incense of different shapes such as leaves and flowers. Sales soon picked up. The success encouraged Max to explore new possibilities. He visited different places in search of new ingredients and more sophisticated skills. By adding different scents and spices to hand-made incense sticks, Max created beautiful yet practical items for daily use.
As his career took off, Max wanted to contribute more to society. He partnered with Johnny to set up the social enterprise Lin Heung House. The two founders provide training in incense making and job opportunities of workshop assistants for young and adult women of diverse race. While earning an additional income, the women can also showcase their talent and boost their self-confidence. Yet there are obstacles in recruitment. Some are reluctant to show their faces in public due to religious or family reasons. So Max assigns them to work in different supporting roles.
Max believes many women of diverse race in Hong Kong are talented and capable. Some are good at henna painting, others making spiced tea and weaving. Yet, they lack opportunities to shine. Max says he is not offering assistance but collaborating with people of diverse race by drawing on their expertise.
Innovative Venture – Lin Heung House – Connecting the Community with Scent
The innovative venture mentioned above is funded by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund and assisted and supported by the Fund’s intermediaries in project implementation. The details of the innovative venture are as follows:
Name of Organisation: Lin Heung House
Service nature: Job training and opportunities
Beneficiary group: People of diverse race
Project type: Prototype
Intermediary Programme: Good Seed
What is Social Entrepreneur Series?
Stories of how other social entrepreneurs aspired to start their own business might facilitate your social innovation and entrepreneurship exploration.
A series of social entrepreneur stories will be featured and categorised into six sub-series: Education and Learning, Job Training and Opportunities, Community Participation, Healthcare, Food and Transport. What you are going to read are stories of social entrepreneurs taking forward the startup projects that help themselves and others.