Business management

A day in the life of Matchable founder Wai Foong Ng

Back in April, we launched the Go Beyond competition for female entrepreneurs, in partnership with Meta. Wai Foong Ng, founder of Matchable, a B Corp that helps pair businesses with volunteering organisations, was one of the winners. Here, she talks about finding her purpose.

Describe your business in 100 words or less

“Matchable is a B2B platform that matches companies and their employees with innovative volunteering projects with charities, social enterprises and impact start-ups.”

Why did you decide to do this?

“I was a tax consultant for 13 years, which is very different from what I do now. I was working at one of the Big Four accountancy firms and felt I should take on a three-month sabbatical to find my purpose. That’s when I spotted this founder role being advertised by an incubator called the Good Lab, which is a collaboration between eight of the UK’s largest charities and their innovation teams."

“Charities like the Red Cross and WaterAid were coming together to find solutions to some of their collective problems. They’d found that a lot of people were, for example, coming to paint fences for them and plant trees for them, which is great for team building, but wasn’t necessarily the thing that they really needed. So the charities were asking: ‘How can we do this better?’ That’s when they came up with the idea of Matchable – skilled volunteer matching. Helping people in companies who, like me, might be trying to find their own purpose through volunteering, really resonated with me. I became the founder in January 2019.”

As your business grows, you don’t face obstacles – they’re an opportunity to expand, if you can reframe what you’re doing

What’s the first thing you do on a working day?

“I start with a to-do list that I then condense into a smaller list of to-dos for the day. But I never really get to do many of them. There’s usually always something going on, whether it’s in sales, account management, ops, tech or strategy, so every day is different."

What does a typical day look like?

“There is no typical day. But usually there is some firefighting while I’m also trying to meet my own objectives and key results for the quarter. So it can be a mix of things from people management, accounting and admin to strategy with management and operations or prioritising tech builds. In between I typically have a sprinkling of internal and external meetings and events.”

What is your Monday motivation?

“Trying to help other people find purpose through volunteering is what motivates me. When I was in accountancy, Matchable would have scratched that itch I felt for doing something meaningful. And on the other side of what Matchable does, we help a lot of non-profits and impact start-ups achieve their own vision. That’s also really rewarding."

Tell us about your Go Beyond competition experience

You were one of the winners of our Go Beyond competition partnership with Meta. Part of the prize included access to a Digital Boost Small Business Boot Camp.

“Being reminded about fixed versus growth mindsets. As your business grows, you don’t face obstacles – they’re an opportunity to expand, if you can reframe what you’re doing. It’s a real privilege to be able to build something that I’m passionate about, so I remind myself of this when I get caught up in the day-to-day.”

What’s your biggest lesson in business so far?

“Being agile in how you get to an end goal. We’ve had a lot of pivots, going from B2B to B2C, back to B2B again and we’ve had so many different ways of achieving the same thing. Ultimately, if you know what you’re going for, and treat that as your north star, then it doesn’t really matter how you get there. Being open to new ideas and ways to achieve them is what I’ve truly learned.”

Looking to the future what are you most excited about?

“We’ve applied for an Innovate UK loan, to essentially build the Matchable that we’ve always wanted to build. This is a tool that will help mobilise the global workforce and areas that we forecast will need support in the future, such as global crises. We’re aiming for a predictive forecasting model where we might be able to say, for example, that in six to 12 months, Ukraine will need lots of support. We can then use this to mobilise those volunteers and the workforce ahead of time. I think that’s really exciting.”

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