What is a “social enterprise”? “It stands somewhat between a commercial organisation and an NGO,” Joyce Leung, co-founder and executive director of Eldage explains with a sigh, “but it is never easy to reach a balance between commercial interest and social needs. A social enterprise is not sustainable unless it has a sound business model.” However, when being asked the greatest drive behind running Eldage, Joyce replied undoubtedly, “The happiness of the master craftsmen.”
Joyce, who works in a digital marketing firm, loves her mother’s homemade congee. This inspired her to propose to her company the idea of promoting traditional craftsmanship to the young generation through an online platform. Back in 2016 when Eldage was newly formed, many craftsmen were rather doubtful of the idea. “They might not be willing to share their skills and stories, or might think that youngsters nowadays wouldn’t like to learn those skills anymore. So why bother the efforts?”
Luckily, Joyce was not alone. Hiccups were overcome with the support from her boss and colleagues and the company’s digital marketing experience. For instance, they adapt to the online shopping habit of young people and set up an online store, boosting sale while conserving legacy. “At first the craftsmen had hesitation. But as it turned out hot they began to have faith in the partnership.”
Eldage means more than simply a company CSR project to Joyce. It is a platform for promoting “active ageing” that would enable the craftsmen to regain their passion. It also connects the two generations and reveals the value of traditional craftsmanship. Joyce reminded fellow young people interested in starting up a social enterprise to “be prepared for failures, be willing to take risks, be flexible in business models, and never act on impulse”.
- The SIE Fund is funding the prototype project of Eldage. More details can be found here.
Scope of Services
- A Documentary of Eldage: Wood Carving Master [Apple Daily, 22/02/2017] (Chinese Only)
- The Art of Eldage [Sky Post 23/03/2017] (Chinese Only)
- Fimmick Created Eldage to Promote Traditional Craftsmanship [HKEJ 13/12/2017] (Chinese Only)
- Social Enterprise Hosted Workshop for Traditional Neon Sign Artisan [HK01 02/04/2018] (Chinese Only)