This entrepreneur took it upon himself to find the solution to save fingerprints and lives
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Living and multiplying around us is the one thing we are not able to see, bacteria. Bacteria is all around us and sometimes it does not matter how many times we clean, they are always lurking around and building up which harms the environment and even our human bodies. Chemicals that we use to get rid of these bacteria, viruses and many other invisible dangers might often be harsh on our skin, and it leaves us cleaning ever so often as we wonder how much cleaning would be enough. Keeping all these in mind, one such kind hearted entrepreneur decided to do something about this.
Founder of Speco, Benjamin Chua
Benjamin, affectionately known as Ben introduced Speco, a reliable and trustworthy Environment Protection company that protects you from all kinds of dangers invisible to the naked eye. From making it easier for you to get rid of all the nasties to ensuring your cleaning never goes to waste with their long-lasting protection in their products, you can be rest assured that Speco’s protection plan is foolproof.
With the intention of helping the people, animals and the planet, Ben also wanted to focus on giving back to the community while making sure they are sustainable. Since it all started with ensuring the cleaners were safe and ensuring they progress so that they never remain at the bottom, Speco is a B-Corp certified company which focuses on helping disadvantaged people, ex-offenders, single parents as well as people with disabilities.
Photo source: Facebook via Halimah Yacob
4 times champion of Business For Good award, Ben managed to clinch the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award (PVPA) for Speco in 2021 after catching the President’s attention by helping out more than 64,000 residents of Singapore and gave more than $250,000 back to the society. Winning a list of many other awards since 2017, Speco is constantly improving itself as Ben plans to expand their market overseas.
We finally got to catch up with Ben and bombard him with all the questions we had!
What were some obstacles you have faced and how did you overcame them?
At every phase and every part of this journey, we will face different obstacles. Coming from the economics sector such as finance and public service, I had to learn more about this industry and how the cleaning works. Many of my workers did not trust me when I ensured them that they will have a better life. When I tried to sell my product, there were many people asking me what sets Speco apart from others and convincing my workforce about transitioning. We eventually manage to overcome them with the help of our partners and my team who have always been there since day 1. We will continue to face more as we focus on expanding our business but I believe that we will be able to as long as we work and grow together.
What is your motivation to keep you going?
I feel that Speco still has a long runway to go. We have a vision and a plan and I’m very excited about moving forward especially since the pandemic happened. Speco was not created because of the pandemic but instead it gave us more visibility as we build our fundamentals and foundations. We are focusing on creating holistic protection, safe spaces, preventive cases and solving sick unit syndrome. These are what keeps us going, which expands our business to overseas markets.
Minister Lawrence Wong trying one of Speco's product
Where do you see Speco in the next 5 years?
I hope we capture the space of invironment protection from hidden dangers which is what we set ourselves out to do since the beginning. Not just COVID-19 but many other hidden dangers that are still present can be solved using Speco to create safe spaces and keep people safe and secured as they live their lives. So I see it as integrating Speco into our daily lives which will be crucial for us in the next 3 to 5 years.
What is one thing you believe in?
I believe in doing good. It should be part of our DNAs and it doesn’t matter if it's for our society, pro bono work or even for the environment. This includes making sure what you produce does not harm the earth, using your technology for good which are part and parcel of how we are supposed to run our businesses. Businesses are supposed to uplift the community, serve the society as well as improve the standards of living and quality of life of the people we touch.
What do you think you would be doing right now, if you didn’t start Speco?
To be honest, I’m not sure! As I grew up, I wanted to be a doctor but during the later stages of my life, many people around me wanted to work in finance since it provided a comfortable life for many others. However, I left that industry to join the public sector and at any time when I decided to do something, life chose another pathway for me.
NTUC secretary-general and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng (fifth from left) and Batu executive secretary and PAP member Zainal Sapari (third from left) with staff from cleaning company Speco
If you had all the money you need, what would you do with it?
I have always been a giver. During the pandemic when I saw many of my friends struggling with their business and it was very painful to see that. I have always believed that we should strive together as we run businesses. While things do happen along the way, it does not matter if we have money or not but if we do, we will help others if not we will dedicate our time to help them. Speco has also been through tough times, but nothing is ever constant. I believe that it’s the people that are important and as long as we all have the same level of ethos, Speco will be able to sustain.
When you’re 90, what is one thing you would like to look back and reminisce about?
Actually, I have always pondered about this question! There’s this book called ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ which talks about the author, Mitch Albom’s tribute to his 90 year old sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz who suffers from ALS. This book shares the life lessons he learnt throughout the time they have known each other and the main message I got from this book was about having connections. Depending on your relationships no matter if you are still in it or if you have left, I often ponder if it had impact on me?
I often share with colleagues that it does not matter if you won’t be with Speco in the future but I hope that while you are here, you have learned something valuable as we learn and grow together. Unless if there are other opportunities that they feel would serve them a better purpose, I will still be cheering you on