How The FinLab’s Digital Mumpreneur Programme Gave My Tuition Business A Much-Needed Jumpstart

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Eileen has been able to spend more time with her husband and kids after graduating from the programme

To say that the last six years have been a rollercoaster would be an understatement. During that span of time, I gave birth to four beautiful children, opened up three tuition centres, and earned my master’s degree in early childhood education at NIE.

While simultaneously playing the roles of mother, wife, student, educator, and entrepreneur has been an incredible challenge, it’s one that I was up for. I love to teach, and have a great desire to nurture the next generation of young minds.

Opening up my own tuition centre was a dream and made sense to me, despite the fact that I had no experience in running a business – especially when it came to things like managing accounts, and issuing and filing invoices. Though my husband, who has been my pillar of strength and who has helped guide me through the operations aspect of running a business, I was essentially a one-woman show: I took on administrative, marketing, and operational roles, in addition to my teaching duties.

However, there is only so much a single person can do. I knew I needed help, and that’s when I was introduced to the Digital Mumpreneurs Programme.

Being "schooled" by the Digital Mumpreneurs Programmee

A friend from school introduced me to a colleague who ran the programme. Intrigued by what it had to offer, I decided to take a chance and applied right away. After learning I was accepted, I went into the programme excited to learn about all the new ways I could expand my business knowledge, and access new opportunities and networks I was previously in the dark about.

After attending a couple of sharing sessions and panel discussions, I was ready to put into practice the knowledge and insights I was accumulating.

Firstly, I adopted an entirely different approach to marketing. Previously, students found my tuition centre via word of mouth. But after listening to Love, Bonito’s Rachel Lim talk about how she uses “reverse mentoring” to learn from the youth about the latest social media trends and often works with younger employees to manage her business’s social media accounts, I decided to follow in her footsteps.

I worked with select influencers to promote my tuition centre, and used the “live” function on Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok to conduct revision sessions. I am very glad to say that these strategies have paid off handsomely.

Using the insights and network from the programme, I was also able to secure additional funding to help open up a third branch of my tuition centre.

Approaching my entrepreneurship journey through a new lens

Attending the Digital Mumpreneurs Programme turned out to be a personal turning point. I walked away from the experience not only with a deeper, richer understanding of the inner workings of a business, but also with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm for the future. Since graduating from the programme, I have hired a small team to help me run the tuition centre, including a co-principal to help with curriculum planning, and admin staff to ensure everything runs smoothly.

And while I am still learning on the go, I feel much more confident in my abilities as a teacher and businesswoman. I have more time on my hands to spend with my husband and kids.

I am currently working with a major publisher to have our textbooks/workbooks distributed worldwide and I definitely want to provide curriculum and materials support to social enterprises providing volunteer tuition programmes as a way of giving back to the community of young learners who have enriched my life in so many ways.

When I first opened up my tuition centre, not a day went by without thinking that maybe I was not cut out to run a business. But I persevered despite the mountain of doubt in my mind because the sense of satisfaction I receive from positively impacting young minds is far greater. With the Digital Mumpreneurs Programme, I have found a community of brilliant, like-minded women who, like me, were juggling multiple things simultaneously. After spending time in their company, I have walked away feeling so much more empowered and capable.

I hope my story serves as inspiration for women who lack confidence in their own abilities — you are far more capable than you realise and you will find a way to make it work.