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Woman Business Owner Jocelyn Chng, CEO and Founder, Sin Hwa Dee Sauce

Jocelyn Chng (JC): I think when the going gets so tough, I get tougher. My parents, when we were young, they started a sauce factory, manufacturing factory. So it’s really like a cottage industry. When I was 14 years old, my dad actually was diagnosed with a terminal illness and when I was 21 years old my father, unfortunately passed away. So I’ve got no choice but to take over the sauce business because I’m the eldest in the family, and I’ve got 5 other siblings. I feel that there is a responsibility to-to take care of them.

CARD: Joceyln was still at university when her father died. She continued her studies while trying to save the factory.

JC: In fact the business was in the red because you know of my dad’s condition. From there we had to build from scratch again. A lot of people thinks that I’m going to just go out of business, because first, they feel that I’m a female, and also because (you know) I’m young, and I know nothing about the business. It’s a very male-dominated business. It’s a male-dominated industry. So it’s very, very tough. Really in the initial years, yes, I do feel scared. And it was so hard to persevere and it was so hard to say, I want to go on. I want to press on, I don’t want to give up. So I’m very lucky to have a very supportive husband. He was my classmate in the university. And he helped me along when I was studying because those lessons or lectures in the afternoon, actually my then boyfriend has to attend – take it down, take notes for me. So he’s very funny. He would tell people, “Oh, I studied for two degree and I graduated with one.”

CARD: In less than a year Jocelyn landed a major contract with the largest airline caterer in Singapore.

JC: But you know I say no, no, no I’m not just going to stop here. I’m not just going to supply to the local market. I see Singapore market, this so small And so when I told my mother and some of my staff I say, “Look, we are not going to just stay where we are. We’re going to start to do something to the product, and we’re going to package it, and we’re going to export.” Guess what? It’s just a huge laughter, and everybody’s just “Ha, ha, ha! How can it be possible? It’s very funny.” So that was some kind of, I would say, also a motivation to me. It really inspire me and say, “Look, I’m going to show it to you – we can do it.” I built the customer base, and at the same time I built on product. We started to look at the packaging. We started to look at the investment into machineries, into people, into uh R and D, and into technology.

CARD: Today Sin Hwa Dee exports to more than 30 countries around the world

JC: So we supply to the airlines’ caterers. We supply to the hotels, some of the hotels like Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, and all that. We supply to and fast food chains, like Burger King, McDonald, and all that.

CARD: Jocelyn has been running Sin Hwa Dee for over 20 years while raising 3 sons

JC: I know that running a business is not easy. So for me, I think the most important thing to start a business is the love for what we are doing. Um if there is no passion, it’s very difficult to sustain especially you know in a business world where you’re faced with the next challenge.

I lost my husband about seven-seven years ago. I’ve spent 17 years with him so, you know, it’s-it’s like life is a new chapter altogether. I feel that success is the journey. It’s not about the destination even. It’s about how we enjoy the journey, how we enjoy the process, and that is what I’m enjoying most now.

Credits

Jocelyn Chng – Chng Kee’s Sauces
Producers – Victoria Wang and Sue Williams
Director – Sue Williams
Editor – Merril Stern
Director of New Media and Outreach – Karin Kamp
Director of Photography – Jerry Risius
Production Assistant – Erika Howard
Assistant Editor – David Scorca
Music – Killer Tracks

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