NTUC FairPrice Foundation funds S$1 million to launch Kopitiam HawkerBoss Programme to nurture a new generation of hawkers and hawker culture

  • Resources will be channelled over a 12-month period to help selected “hawkerpreneurs” scale their business and create F&B jobs
  • This is also an effort to help preserve our hawker culture* by identifying and supporting new, promising F&B hawker talents
    *Singapore’s element in the UNESCO representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Singapore, 10 May 2022 – Kopitiam officially announced a S$1 million Kopitiam HawkerBoss Programme supported by FairPrice Foundation, to help nurture a new generation of Hawker bosses to help them kick start or scale their F&B business. Since recruitment for the Kopitiam HawkerBoss program commenced through word of mouth late December 2021, initial response has been enthusiastic and 11 hawkerpreneurs
have been selected so far. Of the 11 Kopitiam HawkerBosses, six are first-time hawkers, four are existing hawkers looking to expand their business and one being a planted based food concept that hires the disadvantaged community for its operations. A public open-call is now open for potential hawkerbosses to sign up for the remaining vacancies.

“As an integral part of the way of life for Singaporeans, hawker culture is an endearing familiar concept to most. People from all walks of life gather at our hawker centres to dine and bond. This unique bond of food, space, and community has evolved over the years into Singapore’s multicultural society, forming a crucial aspect of Singapore’s identity. We hope that this programme will play a part to help preserve this heritage as well as enhance the hawker culture through the creation of new jobs,”
Mr Chan Tee Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Food Services Business at FairPrice Group

This programme is also the only hawker entrepreneur programme that is flexible and can be customised to the needs of the hawkerpreneurs throughout the 12 months hawkerpreneurship journey. The team will work closely with each hawkerboss to work through business models, menus, pricing, branding and marketing. The programme aims to create new hawker assistant jobs by supporting promising F&B hawker entrepreneurs not just on stall location selection, rentals but also manpower subsidies. The hawkers will benefit from NTUC FairPrice Foundation’s Funding and from FairPrice Group’s full range of food-related services and expertise such as sourcing, marketing and branding.

“Kopitiam’s mission is to Do Well and also to Do Good and part of our social mission is to nurture our beloved hawker culture and to help deserving hawkers thrive. Being in the F&B industry ourselves, we understand that starting their own F&B business is not easy and requires grit, perseverance and passion to succeed. Similar to any startup journey, it can be fulfilling but also overwhelming at times. We want to be there to provide them with a helping hand in terms of concrete funding and expertise as well as an occasional pat on the back or an encouraging word. We hope this will go a long way to help realise their dream of becoming their own bosses in this competitive space. We work with partners such as The Social Kitchen who hire those with special needs and Hawkers Collective in sourcing for the right candidates and
continue to seek out partners willing to join us in this effort”

Ms Pauline Png, Senior Vice President, Customer and O2O transformation, Food Services.

The programme will access each hawkerpreneurs’ needs to see where to best help them:

  • Access to stalls within the Kopitiam outlets.
    Across 80 of Kopitiam’s hawker centres, coffee shops, food courts in malls or hospitals.
  • Rental and/or stall fee subsidies
  • Salary subsidies for created F&B jobs
  • Access to marketing and branding expertise
  • Access to raw material resourcing and supplies to improve hawkers’ Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
Interested applicants can visit https://www.kopitiam.biz/hawkerboss-program/ for more information on the criteria for selection for the programme and to register your interest.
Media Contact
Program Manager: Joey Wong | 9643 6300
The qualifying criteria, list of selected hawkerbosses, their stories and quotes are available in the longer form at:

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The Kopitiam HawkerBoss Program

Want to be a “Kopitiam HawkerBoss”?
Qualifying criteria for the programme:

  • Motivated to create a long term career as a hawkerboss
  • Aspiring hawkers who are new to hawker trade
  • Existing hawkers who have less than 2 existing stalls and looking to expand their business
  • Willingness to commit to hiring 3 new staff for each stall
  • Singaporean or Permanent Resident, 21 years old and above
Appendix: List of current Hawkerboss Candidates
Name Stall Name Stall Location & Unit Food Type
Tong Wen Keong (New HawkerBoss) Butter and Cream Lau Pa Sat, #01-06 Muffins and cakes
Lew Zheng Wei (Second-Gen HawkerBoss) Uniquely Vegetarian Lau Pa Sat, #01-46/47 Vegetarian
Teh Soon Tiong (New HawkerBoss) Rokus Burger Lau Pa Sat, #01-22 Korean-inspired Hand-crafted Burgers
Avelyn (Socially-driven HawkerBoss) The Social Kitchen Lau Pa Sat, #01-27 (opening in Apr’22) Asian Plant-based
Tim Wu (Third-Gen HawkerBoss) Golden Shoes Hokkien Mee and Fragrance Nasi Lemak Lau Pa Sat, #01-26 (opening in Apr’22) Hokkien Mee and Nasi Lemak
Joel Koh (Second-Gen HawkerBoss) Wok of Wonders Lau Pa Sat, #01-38/39 (opening in Apr’22) Wok-fried noodles and rice, and Wu Xiang
Sarah Sng (Second-Gen HawkerBoss) Nonya Pok Pok Kay Pasir Ris Hawker Centre, #02-33 Peranakan chicken dishes
Jefffrey Mohd (Socially-driven HawkerBoss) Pak Sapari Old Airport Road Food Centre, #01-143 (opening in Apr’22) Mee soto and satay
Khine Zar Lin (New HawkerBoss) Xiao Mei Ban Mian Matching stall in progress Ban Mian and Myanmar-style noodles
Ong Xin Yi (Second-Gen HawkerBoss) Yi Qi Fa Nasi Lemak Matching stall in progress Nasi Lemak and Economic Bee Hoon
Samuel Tan (New HawkerBoss) Tian Kee Carrot Cake Matching stall in progress Hokkien Mee and Carrot Cake (Halal)

Quotes from some of the selected hawkerbosses:

“My first Economic Bee Hoon stall has been running for 2.5 years and I was looking at expanding to my second outlet when I heard about the Kopitiam HawkerBoss program. I knew I had to grab the opportunity as being a young hawker, resources and experience are limited. I feel more confident in achieving my expansion plans now with the subsidies and expertise the program lends. “shared by Ong Xin Yi, HawkerBoss who owns Yi Qi Fa Nasi Lemak and is looking for a suitable location for her second outlet.

“The HawkerBoss program has helped me a lot on rent and staff wage subsidies to take some financial pressure off this new business I am building. With the savings, I am able to handle the rising ingredient and manpower cost better. The journey of preserving my dad’s recipes and allowing more people to have a taste of them is a lot smoother. I am more confident and grateful to have a strong F&V player like Kopitiam journey with me” said Sarah Sng, HawkerBoss of Nonya Pok Pok Kay @ Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre.

“We all know that there are quite a lot of risks and stress at the initial part of the business when we fine tune our offerings to form a stable customer base. The HawkerBoss program provides financial and marketing relief which gives me more bandwidth to build and grow the business.” shared by Lew Zhen Wei, HawkerBoss at Lau Pa Sat, running Uniquely Vegetarian.

You may download the document here.

Joel Koh
Lew Zhen Wei
Sarah Sng
Tong Wen Keong