Interview DM partner – Kenneth Heng (Solve n+1)

Interview DM partner - Kenneth Heng (Solve n+1)

Solve n+1 is a community-based management consultancy. They design, research, pilot and strategise community development plans. Through their solutions, solve n+1 strives to empower companies meaningfully to make the world a better place. 

As suggested by the name, Solve n+1 is always approaching the unknown and deliberately taking an extra step forward to find solutions to problems. “If we consider our position, whether as a community or business, and always take a step forward in creating value for others, we’ll be making the world a better place… one that has collective ownership.”

As a frequent traveller, Kenneth was always interested in developing communities. In a particular trip, he seized an opportunity to facilitate and collaborate with various stakeholders to help a hospital in Myanmar. Through this project, the hospital which used to reject patients could now operate and even delivered 30 babies.

Solve n+1 had its share of challenges when it first began. As they often worked with non-profit organisations, they had to organise fundraisers, which more often than not, the conduit does not receive that much support.  Despite these challenges, for Kenneth and his team, serving people and their needs kept them motivated. 

At the end of the day, what we’re concerned about is to ensure every strategy we design… must meet the need of the people.

Experience with DM@360

Kenneth was introduced to DM@360 by his friend, Simon. Soon after, Kenneth became a DM Partner. In the early days of Solve n+1, Kenneth began his solo entrepreneur days in the DM@360 office.

 “It’s comfortable and cosyThere is a healthy distribution of space to allow others to share about what they’ve learned. As a business, I don’t want to just run in silo, but I want to be able to have a sense of the ground and get other people’s perspectives.”

Beyond the space, Kenneth was drawn towards the vision and culture of the people. 

Advice for other budding Christian entrepreneurs:

Now is an opportune time for people to step up in terms of leadership and define things a little differently. Entrepreneurship has a level of agility that many organisations don’t possess. In a time where so much change and pain is being experienced,  there’s a need for entrepreneurs to be more intentional and willing to listen.”

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Interview DM partner – Isaac Zhang (SME Digital Marketing)

Interview DM partner - Isaac Zhang (SME Digital Marketing)

Meet Isaac, the founder of SME Digital marketing. SME Digital marketing offers SMEs the full marketing stack but distinguishes itself from the rest as they can scale down or scale up the amount needed for their clients. 

With us, you can have good cost savings and higher economies of scale.

Starting SME Digital Marketing was a natural progression for Isaac. The idea first came to mind a few years back, however, “everyone has ideas but it’s a beauty to execute it.” 

Why SMEs? Isaac shares how his previous experiences with SMEs influenced this decision. Moreover, SMEs have direct access to customers, rather than going through a full chain that would delay and complicate the process.

The world calls it ‘charity work’, but for us the line is drawn clearly. We work with missional start-ups and support their objective as best as we can… For us, it’s the relationship nurtured that enables us to uptake better offerings from these clients.

Indeed, there were challenges these past three years. However, Isaac shares that he learned to trust God more and realise that circumstances are always changing. “Problems never stop appearing, but the same goes for solutions… just like the grace and provisions of God.” 

Experience with DM@360

DM@360 was first introduced to Isaac through a LinkedIn connection and shortly after, he met up with SC. 

There was a natural synergy there. Real social change needs to be done through the economy…to impact the world much better I feel that this is where the Lord has placed me.

For Isaac, beyond the space, it’s about the people. Isaac recalls a statement by someone in DM@360, who shared that DM@360 is not tribal and “for a follower to say that, it says a lot about the leader.

The amenities are versatile and Isaac shares that Lena and the rest of the team go out of their way to make sure that everyone feels at home. But Isaac is drawn towards the vision of DM@360 and hopes that DM@360 will continue to create meaningful connections. 

Advice for budding Christian entrepreneurs:

  1. Your heart needs to be prepared…It’s not something that you just toy with for a while.” Getting prepared means that your lifestyle has to support it because it’s definitely not going to be easy. 

Don’t come into entrepreneurship if you do not have any value to offer… someone said to me recently ‘you’re either adding to the table or taking away from it.”

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Interview with DM Partner – Keith Lee (Interseed)

Interview with DM Partner - Keith Lee (Interseed)​

Interseed: A digital global house of prayer. 

Meet Keith, the co-founder of Interseed. The vision was first planted into one of the co-founders and blossomed into an online platform for a digital prayer community. Together with Keith’s prior experience with tech startups, Keith knew it was God’s call for him to embark on Interseed. 

Prayer is so crucial for your daily walk with God and ministry.”

Staying rooted in the importance of prayer, Interseed aims to strengthen our personal walks with God and cultivate a habit of prayer and thanksgiving. Through interseed, users are able to journal, share public or anonymous prayer requests, encourage and uplift one another.  

The importance of community is also taken into account. Users are not only able to use this app with global members, but use it for connecting with their current communities such as friends, cell groups, missionaries or churches. 

The name interseed is a word play on “intercede” and sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom. Interseed also highlights the importance of staying rooted in a daily personal worship and relationship with God. “As we grow in our personal prayer lives, we grow in our prayer for others.”

Keith shares how the app has blessed and encouraged believers in their faith. There were testimonials of people struggling, but were encouraged through the app after posting anonymous prayer requests. 

Beyond the app, Interseed hosts weekly prayers on Monday nights through  Instagram Live. These live prayer sessions are a response to daily news and crises. “We believe that prayer is our first response for breaking news… and we believe that is extremely powerful.

Experience with DM@360

After sharing with others about Interseed, Keith was directed to DM@360 and has joined as a partner in 2020. Through some of the DM events, Keith shared about his vision for Interseed,  as well as challenges and received encouragement from other DM Partners. 

There’s a lot of co-working spaces, but none of them are like DM… DM is unique because you’re able to find and work with other Kingdom-minded people.

Keith hopes that in the years to come, DM@360 will continue to grow as a community. 

Advice for budding entrepreneurs:

“Be faithful to God and His call. Continually seek Him even when you face setbacks, because He will pull through with His promises.”

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Interview DM partner – Trevor Fong (InOne)

Interview DM partner - Trevor Fong (InOne)

Trevor, Co-founder and Director of InOne

A heart for community, InOne is a faith-based platform that strives to reach out beyond the four walls of the church. 

Through the online sharing of struggles and tragedies of regular people, InOne hopes to be a refuge for those going through the same struggles.

By allowing readers to see that they are not alone, InOne is a safe space for encouragement and support. 

With the majority of the population on social media, Trevor and his team embrace the digital possibilities. “If the church does not invest in this, we won’t be able to reach out to the younger generation.” 

In particular, Trevor recalls a time when a young Primary six girl reached out to them. Despite her young age, she lamented about her life, overwhelmed by her broken family and carrying the burden of caring for her younger siblings. However, through InOne and the digital space, the team has kept in contact with her as well as providing her with care and support. Till this day, they’ve stayed connected with her. 

Trevor first heard of DM@360 through a friend and after hearing SC’s heart and mission for DM@360, he quickly joined on board.

Emphasising the importance of community, Trevor hopes to see the DM Community growing closer to serve as a whole body of Christ. He believes that every member has a unique role, but as we all in one through Christ, we are able to work together to further His Kingdom. Likewise, Trevor’s prayer and heart’s desire is for partners to continue building, supporting and encouraging one another in a deeper way. 

To those contemplating joining DM@360, Trevor’s encouragement is to realise the meaningfulness of community and assembling together for the greater potential. 

Trevor’s advice to budding Christian entrepreneurs:

  1. Pull up your socks and sleeves and just do it. 

A lot of people talk, but don’t do… Enough talk,  just do it. From the doing, you’ll be able to learn, and from the learning, you’ll be able to improve.”

  1. Get connected with like-minded people.

Get plugged in with DM, talk to SC so that you understand what other people are doing…and reach out to them to learn. By learning, you can find your unique niche.”

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Interview DM partner – Daniel Kok (Shareminary)

Interview DM partner - Daniel Kok (Shareminary)

Think Coursera, but with Christian education and content

Daniel, a recent graduate from SUTD, started ”Shareminary” with his friend. Shareminary aims to enrich and educate Christians with more knowledge of God and His Word. 

After speaking to Dawn at DM@360, who helped them with their business developments, the duo were convinced to work towards a business that would meaningfully serve God’s Kingdom.

Why education? Inspired by Singapore’s fixation on education, the founders of Shareminary were pointed to the direction of educating Christians.

Starting this business was definitely not an easy task. However, the Shareminary team has been journeying with Shu Chen (Chief Digital Servant of DM@360) to connect with others, even in global areas. Daniel hopes that in the years to come, Shareminary would become an easily accessible and free  platform for Christian education.

As a relatively new partner of DM@360, Daniel has been a frequent visitor of the space. He enjoys interacting and working together in the presence of other Christians, allowing him to build a community of startups to expand God’s Kingdom. When asked about his most memorable experience at DM@360, he recalls the time that he spontaneously led worship during a DM Event with SC and his friend.

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Interview with DM partner – Steve Loh (MyLoh)

Interview with DM partner - Steve Loh (MyLoh)

Steve, founder and CEO of the virtual e-buddy “My Life of Hope (Myloh)”, started this journey after discovering a troubling shortage of available help for those struggling with mental health. 

Through detailed conversations, focus groups and surveys, Steve discovered there were only 1 in 22,000 trained professionals and psychiatrists available to help. Combined with the difficult circumstances brought about by COVID-19, Steve saw this as an opportune time to think about ways to use digital tools to help with the shortage. 

Since the majority of the population today carry a mobile phone, Steve and his team of 7 like-minded professionals developed an e-buddy so that users would always have a companion.

Behind the app, Steve’s personal encounters were also a source of motivation. He saw the need for mental health and resilience, as well as the need to address mental health struggles as early as possible. “A lot of people are struggling, but they don’t seek help early. Imagine having a headache, but only consulting the doctor after having the headache for two years.” 

Through his research, three key factors result in the delay of seeking treatment. These factors are then carefully addressed through the different features of Myloh. “Myloh is not a diagnostic tool, but helps you understand what’s going on.” Through Myloh, users will be able to time manage, track their moods, and chat. When necessary, Myloh will direct the users to relevant help. 

Steve calls his encounter with DM@360 as “God-ordained”. After a conversation with his friend, Simon from Indigitious, Steve was introduced to SC (chief digital servant of DM@360). In their first phone call ever, SC agreed and understood the heart and need for better mental health accessibility through digital means. Steve was thankful for the warm reception by SC, who was super action-focused, and was shortly introduced to the other DM partners. Drawn towards the vision of DM@360, this cemented Steve’s decision to join as a DMPartner. 

“I think it’s a great initiative. With DM@360, there is an ecosystem of kingdom-focused members to support one another and opportunities for collaboration…Even if we’re focused on different areas, the heart of the matter is still common. It is important to connect to the rest of the body, even in entrepreneurship.

For the budding entrepreneurs, here are Steve’s top 3 advice: 

  1. If you have a vision, test it and speak to relevant stakeholders and professionals.
  2. Be mentally prepared for it. You need to be motivated because there is no one pushing you.
  3. Stay grounded in God.

A verse that Steve holds strongly in his heart is: 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)

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Interview with DM partner – Reggie Ng (SYFC)

Interview with DM partner - Reggie Ng (SYFC)

Meet Reggie, a full-time staff member in SYFC and a current DMPartner. Call it a blessing in disguise, but despite the physical challenges posed by the pandemic, this led to their recent project: Poly Parcel, an online platform that delivers and shares the authentic experiences of polytechnic seniors. 

While keeping a missional mindset, Poly Parcel aims to reach out and build pillars of support for polytechnic students. They share experiences and advice by seniors regarding various topics, like academics, careers and relationships through articles and podcasts. 

Despite the uncertainties posed when they first started, Reggie thanks God for His provision, in terms of volunteers, meeting space by DM@360, and advice by other DMPartners. Moreover, God delivered them an expected popularity of their social media, allowing them to reach their follower goals way before their expected timeline. 

As a new partner to DM@360, Reggie shares that he was motivated to join because he knew that God was directing him towards digital missions and resonated with DM@360’s purpose. Through DM@360, he was able to connect with other missional start-ups and hear about their experiences. Reggie has been a frequent visitor of the co-working space to hold meetings and plan his work. 

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New co-working space is looking for the next Facebook to disrupt how we do missions

NEW CO-WORKING SPACE IS LOOKING FOR THE NEXT FACEBOOK TO DISRUPT HOW WE DO MISSIONS​

Lim Shu Chen, an IBM veteran of 30 years, runs the Digital Mission@360 hub, a co-working space for those who want to evangelise the unreached using digital means. All photos by Jane Lee unless otherwise stated.

A private venture fund launched in September 2020, this entity serves as a missional investment platform for the missional start-ups in the digital field. It connects missional investors with like-minded start-ups.

Yet most of that remains head knowledge; applying the principles is less straightforward.

Goh and the counsellor have asked the couple to include specific cases in the next session, so that the two professionals can give them some practical guidance on how to deal with them.

“This is the power of digital,” says Goh, 48, who works in a non-profit agency. “I can now share the skills that I learn from work with others who are far away over a ‘shortened’ distance.

“This is the power of digital: I can share my skills with others over a ‘shortened’ distance.”

“We’re also planning to go and do a face-to-face training with them, which can be recorded and distributed digitally to their volunteer counsellors around the country.”

These are the kinds of connections that the recently launched Digital Mission@360 Hub is aiming to broker and accelerate.

“Taking forever”

Housed at 360 Dunearn Road, the hub is a “co-labouring” space for those who want to evangelise the unreached using digital means.

“We want to create the right environment to bring the right digital people together and, through that, create startups that will make an impact,” says Lim Shu Chen, 61, who is in charge of the hub and chose the job title of “chief digital servant” for himself.

“We have a big problem – our traditional methods are taking forever to reach the more than 3 billion unreached people in the 10/40 window. And it’s also becoming increasingly dangerous and challenging to do missions there.”

The IBM veteran of 30 years pointed out that technology had always helped to accelerate the spreading of the Gospel – Paul and the disciples used Roman roads for travelling while the Reformation was largely due to the printed press and wide availability of the Bible – but the Church is still slow in using technology for missions.

Technology had always helped accelerate the spreading of the Gospel.

Almost 160 people attended the launch of the Digital Mission@360 hub. This picture was taken from the gallery on the 4th floor, which is now a brainstorming area. Photo courtesy of Digital Mission@360.

“We have BioTech, FinTech, GovTech. It’s time for MinTech, or Ministry Technology,” he says in earnest.

Not just a physical space

The premise was previously used by Gospel Light Christian Church, which also owns it, for its Sunday services before they moved to Punggol.

It has now been reconfigured and renovated into a co-working space that includes a hot-desking area, conference rooms, brainstorming areas, shower facilities, a 150-seat auditorium and a café that’s exclusive to those working at the hub.

Almost 160 people attended the launch of the Digital Mission@360 hub. This picture was taken from the gallery on the 4th floor, which is now a brainstorming area. Photo courtesy of Digital Mission@360.

Unlike typical co-working spaces, there are no monthly fees. Startups, however, will be encouraged to give a donation to help cover operational costs.

Lim reckons that the hub can accommodate up to 50 startups. There are about 10 now, including Cru Digital Asia, Actsmarket and Indigitous.

“We’re not looking for quantity. We’re more interested in the content they bring and their willingness to share intellectual property,” he explains.

Startups can book conference rooms for meetings and trainings. Staying true to the forest theme, each room is named after a tree.

And it’s not just tech startups he’s interested in but he’s also looking out for those in music, art, healthcare and language, so that “by all means some can be saved” (1 Cor 19:22).

Currently the startups based at the hub are working on a myriad of projects such as providing cheap mobile data in the Middle East, running online platforms to teach English and bringing solar power to Central Asia.

The café, which is not opened to the public, is being run by an entrepreneur who has a passion for baking. Instead of prices on the menu, there are suggested donation amounts.

The hope is that as the various startups rub shoulders at the hub, they will be able to learn from one another and even collaborate on new ideas for greater reach.

Lim sees the hub as more than just a physical space. “To make an impact, it has to be a community,” he adds.

“To make an impact, it has to be a community.”

A digital evangelist, he is planning networking sessions for “missional dreamers”, TED-style talks that are both inspirational and practical as well as mentoring for the startups.

The hub has also been a God-sent for startups which cannot afford to pay for a permanent home.

Indigitous Singapore, which aims to advance God’s kingdom in the digital space, has been flitting between places in the last four years. Entirely led by volunteers, it hasn’t been easy for them to find spaces to meet up and hold community events. It now calls the hub, home.

Indigitous Singapore recently ran a hackathon at the hub where teams worked on solving mission problems with digital solutions. Photo courtesy of Indigitous Singapore.

“We’re really encouraged and excited that we’re no longer nomadic and that we now have a fixed place,” said Xael Tan, 35, the city co-leader for the organisation. “We recently ran a hackathon at the hub and the space was just nice.

“And it’s good to have a common place to meet between us and the community. A lot of our work is digital but meeting physically still matters for relationship.”

Solving real problems

Although the hub is not focused on creating commercial startups, Lim is hoping that the next Uber or Facebook would emerge from the space.

“We may not have the resources of Google but we can use the same technology like the internet, Wi-Fi or 4G. We want these startups to dream big and, who knows, the next Grab might come from here,” he muses.

Shu Chen is planning to build up the community at the hub with networking sessions, TED-style talks and mentoring for the startups.

“New wealth, or missional wealth, must be created to help fund missions. Imagine if that startup was nurtured and mentored here and, when it becomes successful, the founder is probably more willing to give back to missions because of the relationship that’s been built up.”

“We are committed to journey with these startups.”

Lim is not content with just innovative ideas that “do the same things a bit better”. He’s after disruptive ideas that “make the old things obsolete” and can fast-track the Gospel to the unreached.

“We want to spawn many credible startups for missions, startups that will solve real problems in the mission field and transform missions on the same level that Uber and Facebook did for the world,” he says.

“We don’t have the answers, and a lot of it is experimental, but we are committed to journeying with these startups.”

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