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Challenges and Growth of Taiwanese-Hong Kong Entrepreneur Coco Ah Lok: Journey with SEN Son and Staff

Louie's son was diagnosed with multiple brain disorders, including visual impairment, developmental delays, language barriers, ADHD, and autism, at the age of 2. However, this did not stop him from helping out at Louie's shop. Over the past three years, his son has not only been able to greet customers but has also become more diverse in his interactions. Additionally, his communication skills have improved significantly. Louie states, "Now, he understands his job position better and has taken a big step towards self-independence." Louie is pleasantly surprised and happy to see his son's progress. Although his son can currently only complete single-action tasks, performing coordinated tasks is still a major challenge for him. However, Louie arranges suitable jobs based on his abilities. For example, his son has the strength in his arms to handle cutting and mixing chocolate. Finer tasks like chopping grains are currently beyond his capabilities.

Louie says, "In terms of productivity, he certainly doesn't lag behind. He is our mascot and our inspiration." He hopes that his son can try different types of work in the future.

The SEN employees in the shop face various challenges, including physical disabilities, mental illnesses, learning disabilities, and deaf individuals. This poses difficulties for them in healthcare, social interactions, and employment. The mission of Coco Joy is "job rotation based on abilities, and self-employment based on suitability." The aim is to provide meaningful work for them and increase their self-confidence.

Discrimination, low self-esteem, and learning difficulties are common problems SEN employees face at work. Louie believes, "We need to understand their difficulties, guide them in their work, and adjust their mindset and work expectations with empathy and inclusiveness." Therefore, Louie assigns appropriate tasks based on the employees' abilities and areas of expertise. For example, employees with good communication skills primarily handle retail work, while those with physical disabilities take on administrative tasks. He hopes that appropriate job assignments can increase employees' confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment through projects that align with their abilities.

It is evident that entrepreneurship is not just about pursuing commercial interests but also about providing opportunities for individuals with special needs. The various challenges Louie has faced in his entrepreneurial journey have not deterred him but instead have strengthened his resolve to help those who are marginalized and overlooked by society. He carefully arranges suitable work, encourages them to unleash their potential, and enhances their self-confidence through the sense of achievement from their work. Coco Joy not only provides employment opportunities for individuals with special needs but is also a manifestation of the societal power of inclusion.

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