Migrant Business School in Taiwan

We are committed to Southeast Asian migrant workers' empowerment and skill training during their time in Taiwan to alleviate poverty cycle.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Kevin Chen

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Man

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Taiwan

Where are you making a difference?

Based in Taipei, Taiwan. Creating impact mainly on migrants workers from Indonesia and Philippines.

Website or social media url(s)

Website (TW) : https://one-forty.org/ Facebook (TW): https://www.facebook.com/onefortytaiwan/ Instagram (TW): https://www.instagram.com/onefortytaiwan/ YouTube (TW): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy_DgwI4-K_fjnHpEbwH5sQ Facebook (ID): https://www.facebook.com/SekolahOneForty/ Instagram (ID): https://www.instagram.com/sekolahonefortytaiwan/ YouTube (ID): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo1n5ZssRQedPLAQPtUCwfw

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways) 

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $250k - $500k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

In Taiwan, over 700,000 migrant workers come from Southeast Asia, mostly from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand. They serve as domestic caretakers, factory laborers or fishermen to gain better salaries and support their families. But one of the challenges they often faced is the poverty cycle. As they didn’t learn practical knowledge or skills in Taiwan, it's hard to find better jobs after returning to their home countries. They are also prone to failure in their small businesses. In the end, the only option left is working abroad again. Migrant Business School founded by One-Forty are committed to providing migrant workers with education and skill training during their time in Taiwan, so they can build a better life.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Labor-intensive works in Taiwan offer limited transferrable skills, therefore, they are not helpful for employment back home, limiting their options to low-paid laborers or going abroad again. Meanwhile, lots of migrant workers aspire to save up in Taiwan and open a small business such as a grocery store or barber. However, it’s difficult to be sustainable or profitable without basic business knowledge and will be easily fall back into poverty.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Migrant Business School is an online and offline learning community specifically designed for Southeast Asian migrants in Taiwan. We have conduct field visits every year both in Taiwan and Southeast Asia to map out the needs. Migrant workers can join our offline courses every weekend. We have held over 800 courses since established. Specially designed financial management and entrepreneurship programs are provided as well as courses focusing on developing key competences for employment. Additionally, we hold workshops for various skills, such as hairdressing, computer, and makeup. Chinese language courses are aiming to assist migrant workers to get language certification recognized by the government, which leads to more job options back home since many Taiwan companies in Southeast Asia need bilingual employees. There are over 260 videos on our 50,000 followers online channel for who can’t join offline programs due to the lack of holidays or who are not in Taipei. The content includes Chinese learning and culture related information. Also, we established online learning Facebook communities to allow students to freely discuss and gain the sense of belongings.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Make every migrant’s journey worthy and inspiring is our mission. We are dedicated to building a support system for migrant workers throughout their journey. Not only we will do research before our programs are launched, but also we will visit our alumni who are back to their countries and trace the impact of our programs. At the same time, visiting Taiwanese companies in Southeast Asia to understand their talent demand, and helping our students for job matching after they finish their work in Taiwan. For example, 5 of our alumni are working in Taiwanese companies in Indonesia with higher salaries than average. Alumni can always participate in the online Facebook community after graduate, and share job hunting information with others.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Chinese courses focusing on daily communication and able them to work in Taiwanese companies in home countries with better salaries. Computer courses teach basic computer skills through practical teaching methods, increasing migrant workers’ competitiveness. The module includes Microsoft Office and browser search engine. The skills can also be applied to entrepreneurship, such as managing store finances more efficiently. With the emerging trends in technology, computer skill is a key to adapt new innovations and it helps to establish problem-solving capability. Students can search for solutions and connect with their online networks. Soft power like teamwork and communication are trained through workshops. We arrange several interactive activities to encourage the students to express and explore the potential of themselves, in order to be more prepared for the future job market.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

We conduct pretest, posttest, and qualitative interviews, to measure the learning curve. We use the formal TOCFL Pilot test to navigate their Chinese ability. Computer skills are measured by a questionnaire formed by our research team, focusing on the ability to operate computers. The result showed the students advance from “Not Familiar” with the operation to “Familiar”. Due to the program, they will be capable of creating management efficiency in their businesses and gain access to new technologies. We will conduct surveys to measure alumni’s employment rate and satisfaction as well.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

The main goal of personal finance workshop is to help our students to clarify their financial goals and learn to plan the expense, establishing good saving habits. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship programs guide migrant workers who want to start a small business with the right mindset and knowledge, in order to lower the risk of failure in the future. The teaching materials are referenced by international non-profit organizations such as ILO, including toolkit introductions, case studies and implement practices. In 2017, we cooperated with international NGO focusing on financial empowerment to obtain the authorization of their materials, which contains financial management and business cases for returning home workers. Over 20 alumni have started their own business, such as grocery stores, ranches, laundry, etc., and achieve financial independence.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

Personal finance workshops emphasize prioritizing expenses and the use of the right tools. We review their habits of spending through activities and clarify their needs. Entrepreneurship programs include five topics, mindset, business ideas, finance, strategy, assessment. In each topic, we will go through the concept with business cases and examples, and end up with practices of implementation. In every program, we implement pretest and posttest to measure the progress. Our research team conducts qualitative interviews to see whether they are capable to set a financial plan in the future.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We are the first and only nonprofit organization focusing on Southeast Asian migrant workers' business education in Taiwan. Compared to other organizations mainly devoted to migrant workers' labor rights in Taiwan, our mission is to make every migrant worker’s journey more inspiring through empowerment educations and eventually reach economic independence after they return to their home countries. In Hong Kong, Enrich HK is providing financial educations for domestic workers, which is one of our friend organizations. We‘ve learned from their programs and redesigned for Taiwan’s context.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We already have over 1000 migrant students who finish our six-month-long offline programs. Meanwhile, 45,000 students are learning on our online channel, which has over 260 online videos with 3,013,929 total views. More than 50 alumni have returned to their home countries and successfully opened small businesses. For example, Adi has a ranch full of 150 goats. What he has learned the most in One-Forty is business strategy and finance management. His goal is to scale up to 600 goats and he are more confidence about his plan now. Another example is Evi who opens a restaurant back home. She believed the program enabled her to anticipate challenges in the future and know how to tackle them. Meanwhile, there are over 5 alumni working in Taiwanese companies back home with stable salaries. Yani And Yusni now work as translators and earn 700 USD a month, which is 3 times higher than the average.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

As a non-profit organization, 70% of our funding is from government support, foundation sponsorships and all kinds of funding programs.30% is from individual donations. In long term, we expect to increase individual donations to gain more flexibility in finance, and at the same time develop a business model to develop to a sustainable organization, such as providing services to businesses in need. For example, we can customize the human resource training program for companies that hire migrant workers. We have worked with one of the Taiwanese companies with this model and now we are in our second-year collaboration. Another service we can provide marketing strategies for businesses that target migrant workers as main customers.

10. Team

In total, We have 15 staff from different backgrounds and nationalities, including business, design, sociology, communication and social work, etc. There are 12 board members who are all leaders with rich experiences in various industries, such as technology, finance, non-profit, providing us professional advice. At the same time, we have over 170 volunteers from different ages and occupations supporting Migrant Business School with the same goal.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Nationality

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

One-Forty is full of diverse people. We have members from Southeast Asia who work full-time and several migrant workers volunteering in our programs. We launched “One-Forty Ambassador Program” a few years ago and got lots of responses from migrant workers. The main duty is to present One-Forty to their communities and assist One-Forty to build a better education system that fits migrant workers’ needs. This diversity gives us a more comprehensive view of how and what can we engage in this issue.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

Yani, one of our students who choose to work abroad in Taiwan have started her Chinese lesson through our online channel before she came to Taiwan, enabling her to gain basic language capability. After arriving, Yani applied for advanced Chinese program and personal finance workshops held by Migrant Business School. She had classes during day-offs with other migrant workers who have the same goals and created a supportive community. Before returning, entrepreneurial support and computer learning resources were provided to Yani, assisting her to find a better job, or start their businesses. When finishing the programs above, she joined our alumni online group, where we shared local recruitment information and would follow up on the alumni’s status. There are more than 700 students like her developing future skills with us and 50 students find their position in the job market back home.

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Monitoring Impact
  • Program Design
  • Marketing Strategy, Design
  • Brand Development
  • Multimedia

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

  • individual donations or gifts 20%
    • foundation or NGO grants 40%
    • corporate contributions 20%
    • grants or contracts 10%
    • earned income (product or services sales, licensing, franchising, consulting, financing, etc.) 5%
    • other 5%

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

As a nonprofit, our funds are not mainly from our students. The online learning Youtube channel is free to access, and the face to face programs only requires a low registration fee. Most of the funds are from individual donations and grants. This May, we will start a campaign to encourage individuals to support Southeast Asian migrant workers’ learning journeys through a monthly donation. Additionally, reach a healthier financial status by enhancing donations. All of the individual donations are devoted to the operation of Migrant Business School, including the production of online learning videos, the printing cost of learning materials, the rent of the classroom, etc. We are still looking for grants to support our project. If we are fortunate to get the grant of this challenge, we will invest in advanced impact measurements and the follow-up programs for alumni, such as job matching.

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

The subscribers of our online channel grow 35% every year and now we reach 45000. We will continue the operation and engaging 100,000 migrant workers to learn with us in two years. Not every migrant worker has regular day-offs, but with the internet and mobile device, everyone can learn without limit. We would invest more in the phase when migrant workers return home. We have connections with the Taiwanese companies in Indonesia, and create a job-matching network is our next step. We will develop a follow-up system and continue providing support and consultant through the internet.

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

As our alumni increase, the returners' network will expand. Alumni can exchange ideas or ask for advice about how to get a better job. We assist seniors to be the mentor of the new returners. There are examples of our alumni engaging their neighbors and support each other. Mandala, who start a group for beach clean-up since it was what he had done during his years in Taiwan, invites his local friends to join him and create a better place for living. Warti, who opened a tailor shop back home, hired her neighbor because she knows it is difficult for the locals to find decent jobs. 

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

2015 Taiwan Design Best 100 (Shopping Design)

2015 Keep Walking Dream Funding Program (Diageo)

2017 Taiwan Creativity 100 (La Vie)

2018 Impact Journalism Day (Sparknews)

2019 Youth Village Cultural Development Project (Ministry of Culture, Taiwan)

2019 Youth Charity Program (Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation)

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

Collaborating with the government can create impact within the system, such as making videos to inform specific information to migrant workers or do cross-sector research. Companies which sales prepaid card can send our online learning videos regularly through push notifications to their users, expanding our audience. Media can share about what we provide in our school and interview our students, which may attract people to donate and be more willing to support the learning journey of migrants.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

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2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

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3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

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4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

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Yes/maybe - 100%

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6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 0%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 100%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

Other option - 0%

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