Yan Ning Tan (left) and Zoe Poh (right), founders of SpedGrow (Reach and Richer).
Zoe Poh and Yan Ning Tan, participants of the Alibaba Cloud-SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme, met while working in a Special Education school. As special needs teachers, they share a passion for imparting knowledge to students and developing students’ to their fullest potential.
During the course of their work, they noticed that their students, ranging from 7 to 21 years old, lacked awareness of financial literacy. They encountered difficulties when it came to essential financial transactions, such as making a purchase or even topping up their EZ-Link cards. These transactions and activities are crucial to maintaining one’s independence.
After witnessing the struggles of their students with learning disabilities, Zoe and Yan Ning decided to join forces to set up a startup, SpedGrow (Reach & Richer), where students with special needs are able to pick up essential life skills through accessible learning methods. They also provide resource kits that cater to individuals who may not be comfortable with online learning.
Today, they have broadened their horizons with the establishment of SpedGrow. The company name reflects the founders’ desire to create an inclusive community and uplift individuals with learning disabilities through value-added partnerships. They strive to provide resources and serve as a bridge to connect caregivers to service providers for special needs individuals. They also work with service providers who deliver courses that are designed to have highly accessible content, catering to neuro-diverse individuals with special needs as well. Over time, Zoe and Yan Ning successfully expanded the diversity of the courses catered to these special needs individuals.
One of the hurdles that the founders constantly face is reaching their target audience. As the special needs sector is a relatively small and niche market, finding new users has proved to be a challenge. Hence, to reach out to more special needs individuals and partners specialised in this field, the founders set up social media business channels to build greater awareness of the SpedGrow platform.
Citing the benefits of the SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme, both founders credited it for setting the foundation and formulated the steps necessary to pave their startup journey. This included providing them with invaluable opportunities to pitch at numerous events and weekly mentoring sessions with industry experts, among other support they had received.