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8 social enterprises in Hong Kong you should know about

By Charlotte Ip 23 May 2022

Header images courtesy of @waysouthk (via Instagram)

Hong Kong is seeing a rise in socially-minded entrepreneurs who are bold enough to take the road less travelled. Rather than seeking fame and fortune within the frameworks of their industries, what they strive towards is a one-of-a-kind solution that imparts a lasting impact, shedding light on societal issues overshadowed by a fast-paced lifestyle. Here is a non-definitive list of social enterprises in Hong Kong worth supporting.

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Photo: @cedareshvi (via Instagram)

Cedar

Cedar is a prime example of turning weakness into strength. A vocational branch under the Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired, the inclusive workplace is fully entrusted to its graduates, who are eager to integrate their world into ours. As skilled navigators in the dark, they lead immersive team-building sessions, which are designed for corporates, schools, or community groups of 80 members maximum.

Determined to share their stories on a bigger stage, these trainees also take a proactive lead in delivering talks, and even showcasing their musical flair through staging concerts in different organisations. When physical activities were suspended during the pandemic, the Cedar spirit once again cut through in the shape of a collaborative product line featuring cosy handmade nightlights and coasters with braille writing.

Cedar, 131 Pokfulam Road, Pok Fu Lam | (+852) 3159 5450

Photo: @waysouthk (via Instagram)

Ways Out Hong Kong

If you think fruit peels and vegetable scraps are inevitable wastes of your nutritious meal, think again. Bolstered by the ambitious drive to eradicate food waste, Ways Out co-founders Alison Chow, Coco Ho, and Peggy Lam are not satisfied until they transform these edible remains into head-turning treasures. Ways Out’s earth-toned accessories are well-suited for any occasion, exquisitely crafted by a team of underprivileged women.

Above all, the founders are more than thrilled to share the fruits of their labour with you. Physical and virtual workshops are both available, in which you receive a DIY kit and experience first-hand the wonders of upcycling. Have a packed schedule? Get your eco style upgrade on the go by purchasing the collection online!

Photo: @sjsgreenladies (via Instagram)

Green Ladies

Placing “reuse, restyle, and empowerment” at the heart of its mission, eco-friendly social enterprise Green Ladies has adopted a consignment model since 2011, accepting quality hand-me-downs so its style advisors can remodel them into chic outfits for sale. Embrace a unique but sustainable fashion ethic at a lowered cost by showing some love to its four branches scattered across Kowloon and the Hong Kong Island area.

What’s more, you can play a part in the environmental rally by joining as a consignor. Donated garments that sell in the subsequent two months guarantee their former owners up to 30 percent in return—it’s a great deal if you plan on revamping your wardrobe! You can also cater to your fast-growing little ones by supporting its children line, Green Little. Make sure to reserve online before dragging in your old togs.

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Photo: @festyle_hk (via Instagram)

Festyle

Festyle believes healthy eating should never be compromised. Even if your family lacks a designated “chef” to whip up gastronomical delights, you can still enjoy a taste of home by subscribing to its meal box service. Curated by experienced homemakers, who are encouraged to apply their knowledge of cooking and nutrition, these ready-to-cook deliveries feature a nostalgic and wholesome dish alongside a good old bowl of soup.

For a daily dose of home, the monthly plan promises a comforting experience for the palate. Not only will you be dining better, but you will also be supporting female employment and empowerment. If you feel like indulging in something sweet after a healthsome meal, the home cooks can also prepare a selection of bakes and festive goods.

Photo: @ibakeryhk (via Instagram)

iBakery

iBakery builds upon the collective dream of sweetening your everyday life with treats and kindness. Backed by Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, the catering initiative welcomes all with a passion for food and is amongst those who pioneered the idea of workplace diversity, boasting a dynamic mix of able and differently abled employees.

Famed for its affordable cookies and cakes, the multifaceted social enterprise also cooks up mouth-watering savouries in two restaurants. Bring their heartfelt efforts home by placing an order online or getting your hands full in a cookie decorating workshop!

Cookie Smiles

Cookie enthusiasts should not miss out on this charitable biscuit heaven. Agnes Chin and Jo Soo-Tang created Cookie Smiles to rediscover that twinkle of pure joy that was seemingly lost during the pandemic. A sweet revolution in the making, the organisation joins forces with different brands periodically to raise funds for the underprivileged and equip them with skills and opportunities to earn their daily bread.

Cookie Smiles, 3/F, On Lan Centre, 11–15 On Lan Street, Central | (+852) 9315 0077

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Photo: @hktimberbank (via Instagram)

HK Timberbank

If you remember Typhoon Mangkhut, you might also recall the large-scale destruction that the 2018 storm inflicted on Hong Kong’s uprooted trees. What you may not know is that these fallen trunks often await a fate of being sent to the landfills to rot away. Architect Ricci Wong founded HK Timberbank to highlight the beauty and practicality behind this timber wreckage. Putting his artistic eye and experience to use, Wong collaborates with carpenters to recast callused and scar-ridden trees into chic furniture and art pieces.

Browse through the web catalogue if you would like a sustainable and timeless centrepiece for your home or office space. Apart from elevating your interior vibe, the eco-conscious business also takes care of our arborescent friends’ style, teaming up with expert arborists to perform pruning and maintenance services periodically.

HK Timberbank, HK Timberbank, Fui Hei Container Yard, Yuen Long | (+852) 6263 0316

Photo: We Use (via Facebook)

We Use

Everyone can agree that the worst part of a party is the bit where you clean up, but We Use is committed to minimising your mess. As the frontrunner in tableware rental schemes, We Use offers a one-stop service that takes care of all the logistics, washing-up, and even on-site coordination. All it asks for is your pledge to environmental protection by paying extra for non-disposable alternatives; we definitely think it is an exchange worth every dollar. Next time a celebratory cause comes knocking, you know who to call on!

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Charlotte Ip

Writer

Actively seeking profound stories or unique perspectives, Charlotte spends her days analysing and overanalysing authentic written works with a particular knack for dystopian fiction. Other times, you may find her engaging in a philosophical discussion about “quiet leadership” or a light-hearted chat about Taylor Swift. To make sure she’s all ears, buy her ice cream.

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