It started as a S$100 company in 2007. Today EdgeWorks is a specialist in point-of-sale
system solutions for retail, F&B and the beauty industry.
Contributed By Bernie Guan
The three men helming EdgeWorks Solutions—founder and managing director Albert Tirtohadi, business development director Jack Leow and investor Ryan Ng—believe that technology is to be harnessed. They live out this belief: the trio has leveraged on the convenience technology provides to serve as a tool that helps people, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, to find employment and do their jobs more effectively. This comes as no surprise: both Tirtohadi and Leow are long-serving volunteers at City Harvest’s JAMs Church (a service for people with special needs) and are compassionate toward “many intellectually disabled individuals who are unable to find employment.” Since the company began operations four years ago, it has offered data entry jobs to two persons with special needs.
But don’t mistake Edgeworks for just a social enterprise. It is very much a profitable business, thanks to innovative products such as its EQuip Point of Sale Systems. EdgeWorks’ penchant for providing quality work has won over many renowned local and international clients such as South Korean beauty brand, Tony Moly, Italian fashion sportswear brand, Kappa, iconic footwear brand Dr. Martens, Salon Esprit under Esprit Holdings, Ya Kun Kaya Toast, and Chang Cheng Mee Wah Holdings. But the three are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to flex their market muscles and enhance their current business model so that they can support their noble undertaking of hiring the underprivileged.
In the face of strong market competition, Leow, 31, emphasizes that they are a customer-focused business that strives to “provide quality service at an affordable price.” Additionally, their robust and easy-to-use system even allows older workers who never went to school to learn the task easily; an example of EdgeWorks’ enthusiasm for “providing committed, dedicated service and support toward our customers.” They hope, one day, to not just sell a product but deliver customer-oriented POS strategies in the business arena.
BIRTHED WITH S$100
The idea for this business came in 2006 while Tirtohadi, now 30, was enrolled in City Harvest Church’s School of Theology. Upon graduation, Tirtohadi started the business as a sole proprietor. Leow and Ng, a 40-year-old investor, subsequently joined in February 2010 to “help grow the company to the next level.” Both played pivotal roles in the establishment of the firm.
With a startup capital of just S$100, the trio built a business that has two main goals: “To give an edge to the disabled through the use of technology to overcome their limitations,” and “to give an edge to our customer by applying wisdom in our business operations and decision-making.” As they progressed, expertise grew and the three men overcame many pitfalls such as the lack of office space and resources.
EdgeWorks’ humble beginnings certainly make their current success seem all the more significant. Instances such as Tirtohadi having to “carry a desktop PC” for product demonstrations and presentations early on as he “was unable to borrow a laptop,” demonstrate their persistence.
In 2007, several months after the company was established, an opportunity came knocking. With “no experience, customer reference or ready product,” EdgeWorks delivered an integrated POS packaged solution for the client, an owner of a major coffee shop chain with 100 over outlets in Singapore. It was a tough project, but the company gained the client’s trust and confidence through persistence and good service.
GOING ON STRONG
Though it has established strong business contacts and clinched deals with big-name clients, the team at Edgeworks is not resting on its laurels. Instead, Leow and Tirtohadi are relentlessly adopting a hands-on approach by taking on management of sales, marketing, operations, accounts, product and business development. Ng takes on the role of the company’s intercessor, ready to offer feedback and dispense invaluable advice to rough it out in the business world. For these three men, fulfilling these responsibilities helps to strengthen the core of their business, which means better products and solutions for customers.
In the near future, the trio “plans to connect with special vocational schools to do collaborative work.” This will be done through “putting POS systems in special schools so that students can be trained on how to be cashiers, increasing their chances of finding employment upon graduation.”
To find out more about EdgeWorks Solutions Pte Ltd and their business offerings, log on to www.edgeworks.com.sg.