Thomas Ng’s table talk with Bernard Nathan
Genashtim Pte Ltd’s employee and young entrepreneur, Bernard Nathan a.k.a Don B, interviewed Genashtim’s Founder and CEO Thomas Ng on his YouTube channel – Don B. During the conversation over coffee, Thomas shared how the company was built from the ground up, the people behind Genashtim’s inception and the highs and lows the for-profit social enterprise experienced over the past 14 years.
In the interview, Thomas shared the reasons which spurred him to start a company to employ people with disabilities (PWDs). As a trustee of a blind school in the Philippines, Thomas was blown away by the visually impaired people’s abilities to navigate computer systems. Despite their proficiency in computers, these people were left unemployed. Eventually, Thomas decided to take matters into his own hands and founded Genashtim in 2008 to employ the school’s blind students.
Thomas implemented a remote work model because commuting is quite challenging for disabled workers. As the business operates entirely online, with no physical office, Genashtim immersed itself in providing eLearning services to clients. That was in 2008 and Thomas quipped that Genashtim was seven years early in taking up eLearning as a business endeavor.
Thomas said that initially, Genashtim suffered losses. Subsequently, Genashtim diversified its workforce by hiring refugees and retirees. Adding that Genashtim now has its employees from 25 countries around the world, Thomas also talked proudly about the cardinal efficiency of Genashtim’s severely disabled employees and the technology that enables them to work smoothly.
Anecdotes from Thomas were particularly insightful – from what he thinks of startups, how the name “Genashtim” was coined, to his convictions. Thomas also took the opportunity to emphasize that Genashtim’s employees’ attitude constitutes the dynamic work culture that pivots the company’s operations.
Overall, the interview captured the Genashtim essence that mirrors its employees’ tenacity, resourcefulness, and positive outlook in adversity.