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Entrepreneurship

APEA 2015 UAE Winners

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Fifteen of the UAE’s entrepreneurs and business leaders were named awardees of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2015 at a glittering gala at Shangri-La, Dubai. Over 200 attendees were present at the by-invitation only event, comprising of industry leaders, leading entrepreneurs, dignitaries and the who’s who of the business world, including, Mr Talmiz Ahmad, Former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE, Lt. Gen. Sudhir Sharma, Member of the Advisory Board of Enterprise Asia, and Dato’ William Ng, President of Enterprise Asia.

The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards, or APEA, is a regional recognition program organized by Enterprise Asia, the region’s foremost association and think-tank for entrepreneurship. The Awards are presented to a handful of entrepreneurs across Asia and the Pacific each year, with award ceremonies held in over 12 countries every year.

The Awards is often compared to the Olympics for the stringent entry criteria and highly competitive judging parameters. Nominations into the Awards itself is by invitation, either by past and current awardees, a supporting trade association or the awards committee of Enterprise Asia. Nominees are then subjected to a series of rigourous tests, including financial verification by an appointed audit firm and a compulsory physical site audit and interview, culminating in a secret balloting process by Enterprise Asia’s awards committee.

Awardees are expected to be torch-bearers of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial leadership in their respective countries, and adhere to a strict standard of personal and business ethics.

“We can say with certainty that the recipients of the APEA are like none others. Not only do they have to prove their entrepreneurial skills and experience in one of the toughest contests in the world, they also subject themselves to a pledge to uphold the highest standards of entrepreneurship, which includes allegiance to the two founding pillars of Enterprise Asia, namely Investment in People and Responsible Entrepreneurship”, says Dato’ William Ng, President of Enterprise Asia.

The final 15 were announced by Enterprise Asia at the grand awards ceremony in Dubai, where all winners were presented with their trophies and certificates by President of Enterprise Asia, Dato’ William Ng and Member of the Advisory Board of Enterprise Asia, Lt. Gen. Sudhir Sharma. Mr Bassam Dahman, Partner at RSM Dahman, the Official Verification Partner for the APEA 2015 UAE, was also present at the Event in support of the drive for entrepreneurship development in this region.

The APEA 2015 is now inaugurated in the UAE, expanding the current reaches of the Awards into neighbouring regions. Many of the markets in the Middle East are integral to the livelihood of Asia and the Pacific, and just as importantly, the entrepreneurs behind these businesses are the cogs of the machine. Through this recognition programme Enterprise Asia hopes to encourage and stimulate economic growth throughout these regions.

Mr Ng explained, “The APEA is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship. Beyond recognising the efforts of these entrepreneurs, we hope to encourage them to continue taking their businesses to the next level, and in the process, providing more job opportunities to the people of the UAE, and help to drive the economy forward”.

The highlight of the night was the truly deserving recipient of the APEA Special Category: Mr Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of the Danube Group receiving the Special Achievement Award.

RECIPIENT LIST OF ASIA PACIFIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS 2015 UAE

Special Achievement Award

Rizwan Sajan, Founder & Chairman Danube Group

Outstanding Category

Nicole Rodrigues, Proprietor & Managing Director Diva Group of Companies

Faisal Memon, Founder & CEO Illusions Online

Ved Chhabra, Chairman & Managing Director Inter Ocean Ship Repairs LLC

Nazeer Ahmad Zakaria, Managing Director Naz Fashions LLC

Meera Kaul, Founder & Chairperson Optimus Computer Trading LLC

Dr Sundar Menon, Chairman & Managing Director Sun Group International

Mahesh Shahdadpuri, Founder & CEO TASC Outsourcing

Ramesh S. Ramakrishnan, Chairman Transworld Group

Nisreen Shocair, President Virgin Megastore

Most Promising Category

Hemant Kambli, CEO Dhofar Global Tr. Co. LLC

Khalid Basaeed, General Manager FEATHERS UAE

Mona Ataya, CEO & Founder Mumzworld.com

Vishaal Shah, CEO & Founder Panache International FZ LLC

Fatima Al Shirawi, Founder The Gracious F

APEA 2015 UAE_SME & Entrepreneurship Magazine Official Release_May Issue

Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Laina Raveendran Greene, Co-Founder at Angels of Impact

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Here is our interview with Laina Raveendran Greene, Founder of GETIT Inc. and Co-Founder of Angels of Impact, an impact network focused on women social entrepreneurs helping to alleviate poverty. She is an entrepreneur and social impact investor, whose passion is female empowerment, and enabling women to be key agents to help alleviate poverty in Asia.

What makes you do what you do?
As a minority female Singaporean from relatively humble beginnings, I have never taken anything for granted. I learnt early on that I have to work doubly hard to overcome the “glass ceilings” but if I persevere, I can succeed. That is why I chose to focus on helping women-led social enterprises as I know how hard things are for them and I hope to make things a little easier for them.

How did you rise in the industry you are in? 
I rose by being courageous enough to push against the “glass ceiling” and seizing opportunities open to me no matter where they were. Early on, I realized I would have better opportunities overseas, so I worked in many countries, including Switzerland, USA, and Indonesia and used these opportunities to learn and open new avenues for myself. I now come back to Singapore with many more networks and skill sets.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
Yes, as a minority Singaporean, it may appear that I am not the usual leadership demography in Singapore. In my own way, however, I think I have amassed my own international accolades and work experience such as serving as the first Secretary General for the Asia Pacific Internet Association, CEO of one of the first few tech startups in Singapore in the early 90s, being on the International Steering Committee of the Global Telecommunication Women Network, and most recently selected as one of the 2nd cohort of Edmond Hillary Fellows in New Zealand.

I am now moving to the next phase of using these networks and skills to help other women to social enterprises, which seem to be exactly what I want to do in my next phase of life (after more than 25 years of global work experience).

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? 
It was harder in my younger days, as one of the few women in tech to find mentors but today I do.  Men were reluctant to mentor me for fear of rumors.

How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him? 
I found my mentor when I was taking an executive program at Stanford. He was one of the keynote speakers and I went to talk to him. Intrigued by my background, when I asked if he would mentor me, he said yes. I meet with him at regular intervals and I always ensure I have put his ideas to test before reporting back to him. I feel that I value his time if I do actually listen and act on his advice.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent? 
The key qualities I look for is an eagerness to learn and humility to be open to new ideas. Also, when asked to be a mentor, I usually give homework and see how proactive they are. Only the ones who do their homework, take the advice and act on it, are the ones I actively mentor.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
I consciously and unconsciously support diversity, as I see the importance of diversity on true innovation. You never get anything new, talking to like-minded people. It is always good to have different perspectives to create new ideas. I am also an active supporter having faced racial and gender discrimination in my life and want to ensure that others are given a better chance.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb? 
A great leader to me is one who has empathy and humility, and a genuine spirit of service. Today’s challenges such as climate change and social injustice, requires many players to apply their knowledge and skills to solve and have a sense of ownership in solving these issues

Advice for others?
The only advice I can think of is do what you are strongly passionate about. You need to persevere to succeed so it helps if you truly care about the endeavor you are working on.

If you’d like to get in touch with Laina Raveendran Greene, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laina/

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Callum Connects

Denise Morris Kipnis, Founder & Principal of ChangeFlow Consulting

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Denise Mossis Kipnis’ curiosity in people and the world, lead her to set up ChangeFlow Consulting.

What’s your story?
I’m driven by curiosity. Having been the only one in a room who looks like me for most of my life, I developed a curiosity about who stays, who leaves and who thrives in minority/majority situations including when and how connection and collaboration happen. I was a systems thinker long before I knew what that was, always asking why and so what; and seeing the pieces, the whole, and the places in between. So helping people and organisations move through the complexity of transformation feels natural to me.

What excites you most about your industry?
I see change and inclusion as two sides of the same thing; I don’t practice one without the other. Some people see change as death, as loss, as exhausting. And it can be. But I see in the work I do as an opportunity for something new or hidden to emerge. When an organisation understands that it is first a group of people, who themselves represent and belong to groups of people, and it begins to tackle what it would mean to understand and learn from all that talent, all that diversity, to have them all working for and not against the organisation, to truly unleash all that their people have to offer; that’s magic.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Change and inclusion are personal values as well as professional strengths. For me, living and working outside of the States was a bold experiment to see whether any of the stuff I’d learned about change and inclusion would work outside of the US. My husband and I targeted Asia specifically: it would be the greatest contrast, culturally speaking, for me; and a unique career springboard for him.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Although I’ve practiced in other cities, I am biased towards Singapore. In some ways it’s what Los Angeles is to the rest of the United States, a microcosm of sorts. The regional/global nature of it means that so many different nationalities and cultures are represented. As a result of this mix, you never know what you might get. In some situations, cultural dynamics are obvious, sometimes subdued. The variability is compelling.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” Michael Rouan.

Who inspires you?
Often it’s a “what” not a “who.” I can get inspiration from a passage in a book or a situation in a movie, as well as a turn of a phrase or watching people interact. I often make the biggest connections between the various threads I’m working on when I’m sitting in someone else’s event.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m honestly not blown away by much. Instead, I’m struck how circular things can be: ideas often come back around with a slightly different twist and I watch the way it shakes things loose for people. I recently sat through a workshop on Self as Instrument, and despite being thoroughly versed already, I learned something. In preparing for a panel on design thinking, I unearthed a new language to describe things.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
You’ve caught me at a good time. I’m sitting in appreciation and gratitude for all my experiences, because I wouldn’t be who I was today if all that has happened, didn’t. And yet one thing comes to mind: It wasn’t until I redesigned my website two years ago (shout out to Brew Creative!) that I realised I hadn’t made explicit agreements with my past clients as to what I could share publicly about our engagement, or whether I could use their logos in my promotional materials. In my business, confidentiality is so important, and yet I need to be able to talk about the work as reputation and experience leads to the next success, and so on. It turned out a lot of the contacts I had known had left the organisations where the work was done, so they couldn’t help at that point. So the practice I’m carrying forward is to get those agreements up front, and to make sure my relationships in client systems are broad as well as deep.

How do you unwind?
Science fiction, puzzles, wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Home. I don’t travel to relax, I travel to learn and explore.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Built to Change, by Ed Lawler and Chris Worley. To my knowledge, it’s the first pivot from advising organisations away from stability and toward dynamism, from strategic planning to strategizing as an action verb; to blow up the traditions and rigidity that impede organisations from developing change capability.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re taught that there are two kinds of people: those who see forests, and those who see trees. There is a third type, my type, and we see the ecosystem. Worms, climate, birds, the spaces in between. This is the perspective organisations need to be successful in solving complex problems and thriving in change.
ChangeFlow uniquely blends four disciplines (two of which are multi-disciplinary in themselves): organisation development, culture and inclusion, change management and project management.

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangeFlowConsulting/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmorriskipnis/
LinkedIn Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4862954/
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.changeflowconsulting.com

Twitter handle?
@ChangeFlow

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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