This Single Mum’s Business Story Will Make You Believe In A Woman’s Strength

Every year, The Singapore Women’s Weekly shines the spotlight on 18 outstanding, high-achieving working women in the Great Women Of Our Time awards. These inspiring pioneers and game-changers are making an impact in different arenas in Singapore. In this series, we introduce the nominees in this year's awards. Here is the third nominee in the Finance & Commerce category:

Jocelyn Chng, 50, CEO of JR Group and Managing Director of Sin Hwa Dee Foodstuff

If anyone has the secret recipe to success, it’d be Jocelyn. Having grown up in poverty in 70s, the businesswoman overcame the odds and made millions as the managing director of Sin Hwa Dee Foodstuff, a large-scale manufacturer of bottled sauces and rice mixes.

A single mother of three after her husband passed away suddenly while her children were still young, Jocelyn is also the Chief Executive Officer at JR Group, which started serving hot meals from vending machines.

The company also focuses on manufacturing food for hotels, caterers, fast-food chains and airline caterers – an idea conceived by Jocelyn’s late spouse, Richard.

But perhaps her greatest culinary risk that’s paying off is her idea to dispense hot food from vending machines, dubbed Chef-in-Box.

Hot food from a box? While it may have its detractors, Jocelyn says it’s all a matter of perspective.

“Everybody says to me now, ‘Congratulations, you saw this coming before all of us.’ Yes, I smelled the business opportunity early, but making it is really about persevering through the challenges,” she says.

When the company launched its first machine dispensing hot meals in 2008 at a hospital, the machine could not keep food fresh for an extended period of time, and wastage was high.