SG50 SME Hero – Damien Koh

Damien Koh, Co-founder of Joe & Dough, shares with us why he is The Power Grower.


About the business:

Founded in 2009, Joe & Dough is a boutique café specializing in handcrafted coffee and sandwiches. The business has its own bakery that produces bread and patisseries for their own outlets as well as for other cafes and restaurants.

I am THE POWER GROWER because...

I have always been ambitious, and I like to seize opportunities. From a small coffee kiosk, we have grown to have eight Joe & Dough outlets and a bakery in 6½ years. I’m also currently working on taking the brand overseas.

The most heroic thing I have ever done is...

Opening my first outlet during the economic downturn and starting a bakery when I didn’t even have an idea of how to bake at that time!

My best superhero trait is...

Not taking NO for an answer. Throughout my business journey, I have encountered countless NOs. I refuse to let that stop me in my plans. I always remind myself to weigh the opportunity cost of NOT doing something.

My superhero costume will be...

Just my Berms and T-shirt, with “Life is too short for bad coffee” printed on it. But I will also have a coffee dispenser attached to my back so I that I can spray my enemies or myself with coffee!

I think growth is very important to a business because...

Growing is in the DNA of the company. It is critical for survival, and the only way in which we can take care of the people that contributed to our success.

The DBS SME Bank facility that have helped my business is...

Capital support. I can always trust DBS to be part of my expansion plan.

I am a SME Hero today only because...

DBS comes from an ecosystem point of view—so the way they work is not just transactional. Like the events they organise, it’s all about adding value to us, the customers.

My advice to aspiring SME Heroes is...

Don’t be deterred by risk. The obstacles that you stumble over will only make you stronger. What is the risk of not fulfilling your potential?

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