How Aurora is determined to educate students on disabilities
Not many of us are well acquainted with someone with a disability. Fang Wei noticed this problem, and founded Aurora to make a change, and create a better world for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
The idea of success
To some, success looks like raking in big bucks. For Fang Wei, success is witnessing kids becoming more socially aware - helping others who have physical difficulties, and those in marginalised groups. In the long run, he would like to see the unemployment rates of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Singapore fall.
It only dawned upon Fang Wei that there was a lot he did not know about PWDs when he attended the Enablers camp in university. When he interacted with these individuals, he realised that there were a lot of barriers in Singapore towards PWDs. It was then he wanted to make a change, and create a culture where people are more accepting and aware of disabilities and other social issues.
He then co-founded Aurora Interactive, a social enterprise that creates games to promote social inclusion. Their first project, Breaking Barriers, is a disability awareness card game that aims to teach primary school kids about disabilities in a fun and interactive manner. Cards in the deck include "Trivia" which consists of simple True or False questions about disabilities, and "Draw Me" cards task players to draw something with a constraint, such as with their eyes closed.
The Aurora Team consists of Fang Wei and his four co-founders who are passionate in social entrepreneurship as well. It wasn't easy for Fang Wei to build his dream team at the start, with the Business and Economics undergraduate going through two iterations of team members. He actually had the idea for Aurora two years back, but put the business on hold when his initial founding team decided to take a break. He eventually managed to rebuild his founding team through hackathons and modules in school.
A brick and mortar business in the time of a global pandemic
The games are currently proprietary to the workshops that the Aurora Team conducts with primary schools. Due to the covid-19 situation, the team is unable to carry out their workshops. The team is thus exploring ways to move their game online. However, due to the interactivity of the game, and the team's aim to provide experiential learning, moving online might not be the best way to promote robust learning.
More focus is now placed on prototyping and research and development (R&D) to improve on the team's current processes. Fang Wei is using this situation as an opportunity to deal with different aspects of the business that he usually would have less time for during the regular business cycle.
Do whatever you couldn't do during the normal business cycle. Normally I would do business development, but since that is winding down, I have moved to marketing, R&D and tech in the meantime.
The challenges of social entrepreneurship
Fang Wei acknowledges that social entrepreneurship is all about having to balance social impact with revenue, which can be hard to do at times. The team is also looking to other methods to generate revenue, and are planning to publish a PWD guidebook, exploring different disabilities.
Mental health is another issue that the social enterprise wants to tackle. Fang Wei noticed how a lot of kids are overly stressed, and the team aims to gamify the process of learning about mental health conditions, allowing the public to better understand those with mental health problems.
I realised that being in the entrepreneurship community is not only about earning profits, but also making a positive impact and giving back to the society as well.
Fang Wei's tips for aspiring entrepreneurs include having good time management and prioritisation skills. People skills are extremely important as well, for a startup to run smoothly, especially one with six co-founders.
Learning more about entrepreneurship, innovation or just curious about how startups make money? Find out more about Aurora's business model here!
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