Anyone purchasing flowers for their sweetheart this Valentine’s Day now has the opportunity to do good at the same time.
The launch of social enterprise Angkor Flowers & Crafts online, which employs qualified florists to train disadvantaged women from Cambodian, Thai, Khmer and Burmese backgrounds, supports the training and education of migrant and refugee women in Western Sydney.
Founder, 34-year old Cambodian migrant, Sophea Chea, says that through her continuing role as a social worker, she realised many of these women faced barriers such as domestic violence, lack of education and family support and had no idea how to take that first step to changing their lives.
“They often feel that their only chance in life is to stay-at-home with their children and be homemakers,” she says.
“By offering the training and support through Angkor Flowers & Crafts, we are giving them hope and the opportunity to make a contribution as well as building their skills and confidence.”
The social enterprise offers training in floristry and skill development including language support, retailing and communication, to build up the employable capacity of the refugee women involved.
“Our business plan aims to accommodate rich and diverse employment opportunities to as many disadvantaged women as many as we can,” Chea explains.
“As the leader and managing director of the team, I wish for a dream come true for these disadvantaged women, who are waiting for their opportunity to shine.”
As a recent recipient of Macquarie Group Foundation’s Business Planning Competition and Grants Program, Chea plans to offer more training opportunities to migrant women over the coming year as knowledge of the brand and its purpose grows.
“The grant has helped us in the transitional stage to build up a stronger business and has sped up our business growth by supporting it in both capacity and financial aspects.
“From my personal perspective, it has made me feel proud of my achievement,” Chea says.
“I didn’t believe I could do it. Like other migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, I have various challenges including a language issue which has sometimes limited my ability and opportunity in various situations.
“As a winner in this competition, I have a strong belief that “Nothing is impossible” and I would like to encourage people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to believe in themselves and to get started even though they may have various challenges, as I was in the same situation. Passion and commitment offers the direction and will lead to success one day.”
Chea’s tenacity and persistence are the cornerstone of her success. The most valuable lesson she’s learnt as a social entrepreneur she says is simply “to keep going.”
“Before I started this project, I had limited knowledge of how to build up and manage an enterprise— the only thing I had at the time was my passion and commitment to look for opportunities to offer employment to women. This has pushed and motivated me to keep going and then I have learnt various new skills and strategies to build the business.”
Angkor Flowers & Crafts offers a range of Valentine’s Day specials, including long-stem red roses and unique hampers with guaranteed next day delivery for the Sydney region. Find out more here.