"Chai, mi, you, yan, jiang, cu, cha" (firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, tea in Mandarin) is a Chinese saying usually cited by old Chinese folks to stress the importance of these household necessities to people’s daily living. Born in a grassroots family and with more than 15 years of experience in community building, social worker Matthew Lee understands poverty problem well and has a special concern about the rising price of commodities.
Matthew notices life becomes harder for grassroots in recent years. "When stalls and grocery shops are being replaced by chain stores and supermarkets, kaifong are left with few shopping choices, let alone affordable ones." While the government and other organisations provide financial assistance for the needy, Matthew helps them save their costs of living. Joined by a partner with a similar grassroots background, he set up the social venture Goods Co-Share. Pop-up stalls are set up periodically in districts with a high poverty rate and underdeveloped social networks, providing grassroots households with another shopping option that sells daily necessities and groceries at a lower-than-market price.
The logo of Goods Co-Share bears an annotation that reads "less price, MORE VALUE". "Besides providing low-priced products, we hope to generate value for kaifong and the community." The venture employs grassroots women to manage the stalls. In partnership with NGOs, it shares with customers knowledge about finance and health. More than just doing transactions, the venture also plays a part in enhancing neighbourhood relationship and fostering community development.
- The SIE Fund is funding the startup project of Goods Co-Share. More details can be found here.
Scope of Services
- [Poverty alleviation] Social enterprise helps grassroots by providing daily necessities below market prices through a bulk purchase of grocery items (Apple Daily, 20/02/2017) (Chinese only)
- Fighting poverty in Hong Kong with a swipe of a card at a vending machine (South China Morning Post, 05/10/2016)