About the Company:
Foreword Coffee Roasters is a coffee company and social enterprise member of raiSE since 2017. We provide an inclusive work environment for persons with disabilities, special needs, and mental health needs at our eight (and growing) locations in Singapore. We source our coffee from Asian producers and roast them in Singapore, serving specialty coffee at our cafes.
In August 2021, we were one of six organisations awarded with the Enabling Mark (Platinum) award, the highest accolade, in the inaugural Enabling Mark Awards organised by SG Enable.
In February 2022, we were officially certified as a B Corporation, a for-profit business that has social and/or environmental outcomes as part of its mission, certified by the non-profit organization, B Lab, as meeting certain standards of environmental and social performance, accountability and transparency.
Using business as a force for good, Foreword Coffee Roasters commit ourselves to positive outcomes in Coffee, People, and the Environment. Through the practice of patience, empathy, and creativity, we strive to amplify our impact beyond what we do within our company, and to create a ripple effect for our society to be a kinder and more inclusive one.
Co-Founder & Director
Wei Jie graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Bachelors in Social Sciences (Honours) in Psychology in 2017. During his 4 years of studying in NUS, Wei Jie was exposed to different marginalized communities through his involvement in the College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT), and the Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Centre's (CTPCLC) programmes. He was involved in a mentorship programme for secondary school students, a community trail project in Kampong Glam neighbourhood which got him to reflect about different social issues, and an interest group that discusses and raise awareness on social issues such as mental health, migrant workers, and children's needs with the NUS community and more.
In Wei Jie's 3rd year of studies in NUS, he did a 7-months internship programme with a local social enterprise through the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme. This was his first experience working in a social enterprise and he was inspired by the young social entrepreneurs which he worked with back then. Shortly after the NOC experience, Wei Jie went for a Student Exchange Programme (SEP) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and there he was inspired by the specialty coffee culture, and came up with the initial idea of starting up Foreword Coffee.
In Wei Jie's consideration for his career pathways, he decided that he would take 1 year after graduation to focus on his social enterprise startup before looking for a "proper" job. He acknowledged his privilege for having gone through unviersity education with little financial commitments as he is a recipient of the NUS scholarship, and meaningfulness is a very important factor for which he looks for in everything that he does.
In 2017, Foreword Coffee was registered as a business and a social enterprise member of raiSE (Singapore Centre for Social Enterprises) and the cafe at NUS CAPT was set up. His first trainees were students from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance School Singapore (CPASS). Through the job coach who was supporting the students at the cafe, Wei Jie learnt tips on how best to support persons with disabilities in the cafe. Soon, Wei Jie also employed an autistic employee and a deaf employee, which formed the first cafe team at Foreword Coffee.
Wei Jie was able to adapt and apply psychological theories and frameworks in Foreword Coffee. These frameworks guided the way in how Foreword Coffee is run, and how the company culture was built. It has been more than 5 years since Foreword Coffee started and Wei Jie finds working with persons with disabilities more challenging than he initially thought. Although difficult, it is also very rewarding when Wei Jie sees the growth in his young employees when he receives feedback from their parents that they observed their children's increased confidence and positive feedback from the work they do at Foreword Coffee.