My name's Spiffy and I'm an an interplanetary journalist! So excited to be on Planet Earth for my first piece with the Ladderworks Blog on this International Women's Day!
Today we’re interviewing Kloe Ng, Co-Founder of the award-winning startup Out of the Box.
Spiffy: It’s great to chat with you Kloe!
Kloe: Thank you for traveling out to our Milky Way, Spiffy!
Spiffy: Of course! I love whizzing around the universe & trying their different flavors of ice cream. Speaking of ice cream… what's your favorite?
Kloe: Pistachio! This is undisputed.
Spiffy: Oooh, I’ll have to try that one. But getting down to business, I’m excited to hear about your explorations! What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
Kloe: In many parts of the world, especially disaster-prone areas and places with high displacement rates, children do not have access to schools and/or quality education. Humanitarian aid is placed at 4% for education, leaving children in a never-ending cycle of poverty and disadvantage.
Spiffy: What a conundrum! That reminds me of another travel adventure of mine, on Planet Fanoolu. What inspired you to take on this education challenge?
Kloe: Being the first graduate in my household, I've been very lucky to earn a great education at The National University of Singapore, NYU, and MIT. Passing this forward is important to me.
My co-founder and I love kids and are passionate about education, and we've been working with children for 7 years.
Through our experiences, including volunteering in developing countries, we realized that one problem impeding children from attending school can be solved by reducing the cost of building schools and increasing accessibility. Combined with the background in architecture and the built environment, we conceived a solution to target these problems.
Spiffy: I love it! But I’m curious, what are you doing about all this?
Kloe: Our response is a classroom in a box solution, where our patented design allows for a full-fledged classroom to be compacted into a 1 meter cube, complete with teaching materials and curriculum.
You can find out more about it at Out of the Box!
(Video Courtesy: Out of The Box)
Spiffy: That sounds really hard! What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as an entrepreneur? And what lesson would you like to share from it?
Kloe: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to trust your own guts. Not in a way that you are being stubborn, but from a place of self-confidence. If you talk to 10 different people, there will be 10 different answers. For every person that thinks your idea is great, there will be another that thinks it's bad.
It's important to take in feedback, but also know where you stand. Most importantly, let your ethics guide your beliefs. Success will follow thereafter.
(Photo Description: Award-winning Co-Founders Kloe Ng and Ang Yu Qian at the World Bank Youth Summit in Washington, D.C. Photo Courtsey: Kloe Ng)
Spiffy: Oh yes! Confidence is key as a journalist too. Lastly, I would love to hear about what your hobbies are!
Kloe: I enjoy snow and water sports, as well as cooking in my free time. I also enjoy mapping urban data for fun. How about you?
Spiffy: Thanks for asking! I like reading picture books and collecting toothpaste from different galaxies :).
Wow! This was amazing, thank you so much for talking with me today. You’re a source of motivation for everyone all over the universe.
Kloe: That’s so kind of you to say, Spiffy! It’s been great talking to you too!
Kloe Ng is one of the Co-founders of Out of the Box (formerly Project Cube), an award-winning startup at the 2018 World Bank Youth Summit. Out of the Box provides a modular classroom solution for post-disaster areas to help children return to learning in a safe environment. They are using their expertise in education and design to make STEM education accessible and fun for everyone!
Out of the Box Co-Founders are the story originators for our first book, The Flood on Fanoolu, backed by the World Bank Youth Summit. This book is the first in our SPARKS series of picture books, which aims to inspire at least 1 million kids globally to become entrepreneurs with empathy.
In The Flood on Fanoolu, Spiffy lands on Planet Fanoolu to find that a wet disaster has struck the villages there! Spiffy sticks around to learn about friendships formed in a time of need, and realizes that sometimes, a new point of view can yield surprising solutions!