SEEING MUMPRENEURS CREATE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILE ACHIEVING A FULFILLING WORK-LIFE BALANCE AS EASY AS ABC WITH CRIB
CRIB (Creating Responsible and Innovative Businesses) is Singapore’s first business and lifestyle incubator which is targeted at women. This social enterprise, founded in September 2014 by Tjin Lee, Dr Elaine Kim, Marilyn Lum and Mei Chee aims to empower and encourage women from all walks of life to create successful responsible and innovative businesses through networking, matchmaking and business incubation – while maximising the elusive goal of achieving a fulfilling work-life balance.
We caught up with two of the founders of CRIB, Tjin Lee and Dr Elaine Kim. We want to understand more about CRIB as well as find out the ideas behind this business incubator for women.
Dr Elaine Kim shared with us (that) ‘whist planning a children’s play date, for a weekday, with fellow entrepreneur, Tjin, they both realised just how fortunate they were in having both fulfilling careers as well as the flexibility and control over their time’. Both Tjin and Dr Elaine, who are successful business women and entrepreneurs appreciate how challenging it is to build a successful business, especially for women. The idea of CRIB was born, and this will build an ecosystem to help women meet their needs in achieving their business goals as well as maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Indeed, Dr Elaine herself is a working mother, she practices palliative medicine at HCA Hospice Care which looks after the terminally ill in their homes and is blessed with 2 sons, Kyan who is 3 ½ and Luke who is 2 years old. She tells us that, due to good time management, she finds ways to maintain this healthy work-life balance which benefits her and her whole family. Dr Elaine is happy to share some tips on good time management:-
- Schedule time both for; completing work undisturbed by children and; time with your children which is undisturbed by work. This will allow you the time to work uninterrupted and efficiently as well as spending quality time playing or reading with your children.
- Schedule time you need to be in the office, at meetings or available for discussions during the time you know when your children are either being cared for. Perhaps whilst your children are at school or during their nap times.
- As well as efficient time management, Dr Elaine stresses how incredibly blessed she is to have a lot of support too. She has a supportive husband and family, good business partners, a great team at work, good helpers at home and 2 easygoing sons!
Tjin Lee is also a successful business woman and brings her experiences and life lessons to the CRIB team. Having been an entrepreneur herself for the past 14 years, Tjin shares with us (that) ‘for her first 9 years as an entrepreneur, she struggled in her business without the backing of a competent team’. Once Tjin had identified this problem, she was able to take the step forward and bring her businesses to success.
CRIB’s proprietary ABC Entrepreneur Profile matching tool is developed by Tjin and is used at CRIB to help identify an individual’s entrepreneurial strengths before pairing them with potential business ideas and partners. It is this ABC Entrepreneur Profile matching tool which sparks our interest and Tjin shares with us more about this:-
- A – Angel Investors
- B – Business Managers
- C – Creatives
Tjin, who was 28 when she started her first business Mercury Marketing and Communications thought she, alone, could take on the world! She soon realised that entrepreneurship was challenging, she lacked the all-rounded skills needed to further her business ideas. Being a dominant C (creative) yet being terrible at math, finances, business panning and logistics forced her to outsource too many things which proved costly. Once Creative Tjin found the correctly matched profile partners and got her (A) Angel Investors and (B) Business Managers onboard, she realised that for the success of her business, it was better for her to be a ‘small part of something big, than a big part of something small’. Her other businesses followed soon after and, Tjin saw Mercury Marketing and Communications grow from a 12-man agency in 2009 to now employing over 50 people.
In fact, it is by using this very same profile matching tool that CRIB comes to be up and running today. “The four CRIB co-founders are actually each embodiments of each of the personality types! Elaine is an A, someone with resources and an incredible network, Marilyn is a B, organised and task-orientated and I am the C, the ideas person. We met Mei when we were looking for a partner with experience and capabilities to drive CRIB forward, and she too was incredibly diverse in her skills. Without each of our co-founders, it is likely that CRIB would still be just an idea today!” says Tjin.
Although Tjin has been an entrepreneur for some 14 years, she now finds herself with another challenge – Motherhood! In sharing a little about how she managers her time efficiently to ensure a good balance of time for work and time for family, Tjin shares a typical day with her son Tyler; ‘Tyler’s day starts at about 7am, when Daddy wakes up an hour earlier to read to him every morning. At 8am, I take him to the park or the playground to run around, he comes home to nap at 10am and that is when I head to work. I work until about 4pm, then I head home to see Tyler when we play, read or do fun things together until Daddy comes home. Tyler spends his last hour of the day with Daddy. Somedays, because Tyler likes outings in the car, if my meetings are flexible, I come home early to bring him along, where he can have a walkabout with his nanny until the meeting ends. (But) Weekends are all about Tyler!’
It is with these ideas in mind; successful business woman, work-life balance as well as finding special time with our children that we praise the work that has gone into setting up CRIB and wish them every success!
CRIB offers three key platforms to its members:-
CRIB Society – A community of women and entrepreneurs who support, inspire and equip one another through a network of role models and like-minded individuals, as well as specific events and programs where they can gain insights and skills as an entrepreneur.
CRIB Match – Closed-door pitch days that pair Angel Investor (A), Business Manager (B) and Creative (C) co-founders, thus forming effective founding teams to start a business together.
CRIB Incubator – The most viable businesses will enter a one-year incubation program where they will receive invaluable guidance, as well as access to CRIB’s investor and resource network, to maximise their potential for success.
For more information on CRIB, please visit CRIB HERE