Lawyer turned social entrepreneur Shen Xiaoyin shares how her new start-up helps improve relationships
Asians, in general, are not very good at talking about our feelings, especially when they are troubled ones. It’s a stereotype, but one that unfortunately contains some truth.
We don’t have to go through emotional struggles alone, though. External help is available from local social enterprises, like new social impact start-up ReSET. It aims to help individuals in Asia improve their mental wellness and relationships, by linking them to vital information sources like marriage counsellors, private investigators or meditation specialists.
The website is already packed with useful resources. There’s a “Knowledge Library” of articles, inspirations and even self-assessment to give users more perspectives on topics around relationship. You can also get in touch with the various experts and professionals working on ReSET’s emotional support programs, which will start to roll out around 21 November. In the meantime, there are already regular events and workshops happening at ReSET.
Look out for their app to be launched early next year, which Xiaoyin expects to be a total game-changer. Since the start-up’s seed-stage launch in October, over 2,000 users have signed up. With lots more innovative resources coming up, they are aiming for 200,000 users by 2019.
In our chat with Xiaoyin, she shares how the inspiration behind the start-up, why it’s okay to seek external help, and more.
Hi Xiaoyin! Can you tell us more about how your start-up ReSET works to help individuals manage their troubled relationships?
ReSET is a young tech start-up in the area of relationship wellbeing. It is a one-stop platform that offers programs online through web and app and also conducts events and community outreach offline that encourage couples to have better communication and improve on various aspects of their relationships. For example, a couple who has some difficulties in communication may benefit from using our app (currently being developed) that has content and in-built features that encourage positive communication.
We are a social enterprise and member of raiSE, with the mission to help couples improve their relationships and wellbeing through better communication. By developing and applying innovative technology on our platform (web and app), we would like to make knowledge and help more accessible to the wider public. As part of our commitment to our social mission, we pledged to support minimum 20% of our users from raiSE’s defined groups of underprivileged by making our resources freely available to these beneficiaries.
What inspired you to start ReSET?
ReSET was first triggered by my 2.5 years of volunteering experience at legal clinics where I’ve seen many helpless people troubled by issues in relationships. While they come asking for legal assistance, what they need more are emotional support, information and perspectives. Through my career as the Head of Legal and Chairperson of the Boards of leading online marketplaces in SEA, I have the opportunity to acquire knowledge in tech business. So I thought why not applying my professional knowledge to make help more scalable. ReSET was born.
Besides relationship resources, ReSET also provides information about mental wellness. How do these two goals – improving relationships and improving mental wellbeing – go together for you and for ReSET?
ReSET is using a holistic approach that integrates cross disciplines and professional practices, e.g. positive psychology, counselling, wellness, etc. to inspire positive changes in relationships. Our methodology is therefore strongly backed by research and experience and therefore effective. As cliche as it may sound, one needs to be able to take care of oneself before one can take care of another. Hence, an individual’s own well-being is essentially to the happiness of two persons together.
Many still consider seeking external help for relationships (like couple counselling) a taboo, or think it doesn’t work. What are your thoughts about that? What would you like users who may be skeptical to know?
Yes, we confirm that such taboo or resistance exists from our own market research. That is why ReSET is here to bridge the gap between the need for help and the resistance to get help. Our platform, especially our upcoming App, is specially designed with the users in mind, that the use of our platform should be a positive, beneficial and effective experience well integrated with our habits and daily lives. Our holistic approach also distinguishes us from existing forms of help, e.g. couple counselling or therapy etc.
You studied law and worked as a lawyer for over 10 years before you became a social entrepreneur. What inspired you to make the switch? How did your background in law help you in developing a social impact start-up?
A decade of legal training and experience is not wasted as it provided me with a strongly analytical mind and has developed not just practical and professional skills, but more importantly, life skills, i.e. strength and resilience, that are essential to entrepreneurship. And I do not just want to do business, I want to live a life of good and meaning. Therefore, social entrepreneurship is the answer. About the turning point, maybe it is a natural coming of age when I am old enough to know what matters to me, including creating my own meaningful thing and walking my own path.