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Jennifer Cheng

Jennifer Cheng

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

The biggest challenge in 2021 was leading CTF Education Group through constant pandemic crisis and school operations management. At the same time, we continued to grow and build our pipeline of new education initiatives to drive our long-term vision of making an impact on the future through education.

Currently our Group serves more than 4,000 students through our K-12 schools, Victoria Educational Organisation, DSC International School and also ARCH Education, which I co- founded in 2009. To continue delivering the best possible education through our schools for the students we serve, we innovated ways of teaching that blend offline and online learning, supported by home-learning kits developed by our team. The results were truly inspiring, culminating in our first Little Makers STEAM Education Festival in support of Unicef’s Cherish Water campaign. It was amazing to witness our students’ adaptability and resilience in the face of change, as well as our education and technical teams’ innovative strategies to enrich learning both on- and offline.

Another major project in our pipeline is our strategic partnership with Benenden School in the UK to establish world-class schools in China, and we’re preparing to open our first campus in 2023 in Guangzhou. About one in five women are in leadership positions in Asia and about one in six students in STEM in Asia are women. These facts are not news, but Covid was an urgent wake-up call to address them. Because of the pandemic, I saw first-hand how companies across all industries had to adopt technology to operate in the new norm, and the pace at which this digitalisation happened has created an even greater gender rift in opportunities.

At Jennifer Yu Cheng Girls Impact Foundation, we want to empower today’s teenage girls to become tomorrow’s women leaders. To do this, we’re committed to levelling the playing field by creating leadership development opportunities and STEM programmes that afford girls the skills and mindset to prepare them to pursue 21st-century opportunities across all fields.

I studied engineering in university, then worked in investment banking and became an education entrepreneur. When I left Goldman Sachs more than 12 years ago, I was interested in education and the possibility of making a positive impact on youth, but it wasn’t until I became an educator, when I co-founded my first education business ARCH Education, that I experienced first-hand the profound impact education can make on a child’s life and the great responsibility this job holds.

One of my first students said I was like a mother to him — and this was even before I had kids. After teaching him for a year, someone who’d previously achieved near failing grades, transformed into a driven student who received top offers from the best boarding schools. He was my first turnaround student, but there’ve been so many since then.

Education is such an important factor in social mobility and equality of opportunities, and I’m committed to positioning CTFEG as an impactful, leading education group that empowers so many youths to fulfil their potential.