Last April, while working from home during the circuit breaker, Ms Andini Muslim and her husband decided to start their own home-based business, selling sweet and savoury treats such as cookies and meatballs.
What started off as a side hustle has now become her main focus, after the 42-year-old was laid off from her job in the service engineering industry last month.
Hers was among four home-based businesses at a jobs and skills fair at Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday, with the owners sharing their experiences and looking to inspire others to pursue their interests and start their businesses.
Said Ms Andini: "Initially, I was scared to start the business. But my husband, my brothers and sisters encouraged me, and said that if I kept saying that I was scared, I would never start a business.
"So I said, okay, let's go."
She added: "Now as a home-based business, I know that it's tough and there's a lot of hard work. But when people tell you that your food is very nice, and they repeat orders, I feel very satisfied."
Some 20 exhibitors had booths at the Jobs and SkillsFuture fair, held in partnership with continuing education and training organisation Mendaki Sense, the Employment and Employability Institute and others.
A mix of job and training opportunities were on offer, with around 800 job vacancies available in categories such as retail, social services and food services.
Among the job seekers exploring options at the event was Ms Nurfadila Murni, who works in cleaning services.
The 48-year-old said she is keen to set up her own online F&B business, and was on the lookout for courses which could help her learn more about digital marketing and get started.
"Now, the trend is to run an online business. During this pandemic, there's no point in setting up a shop and having no customers. Online shops are easier to handle," she added.
The ninth M3 town was also launched in Geylang Serai yesterday, in conjunction with Wisma Geylang Serai's second anniversary.
The M3 initiative is a tie-up between the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), self-help group Mendaki and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council.
The M3 @ Towns provides a platform for volunteers and professionals to work together to serve the needs of residents.
Other towns in the programme include Bedok and Jurong.
At the launch yesterday, South East District Mayor Mohd Fahmi Aliman spoke about the three key areas of focus for the M3 initiative in Geylang Serai - promoting healthy lifestyles, encouraging lifelong learning and building a caring community.
"When we can know our residents better, understand what their needs (are), collaborate with other (organisations) in our areas, then from there, we can find the right package, the right time or the right resource to help them," he said.