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Hong Sin Kwek, CEO, Chairman & Founder of PhoenixICT

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What’s your story?
I am a woman who has learned to love, appreciate and believe I have a part to play to contribute in this world to all human mankind. It is because of what I experience, I constantly evolve and shift to explore new results. I believe if I want change, it starts with me. I am a hard and determined worker; if I want something – I go make it happen with no victim story. I am accountable and responsible for the outcome. NO BLAME, it is about what I can do better, different, greater next time.

What excites you most about your industry?
The field I am in is totally crazy and new.  People are starting to know about Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding, people don’t yet know about CrowdWISDOM.
It starts off with my personal belief that I CAN make a difference. Whenever the country takes steps to shift to make things better for her people – it excites me.

Just imagine; everyone has wisdom, can you visualize that the world is willing to come together to help a situation? To solve a problem?  To drive a project or even to rally for change? This is exactly what I am doing to encourage, to enroll and to entice people to step forth to join this whole game changing landscape via on internet.
Calls can come from Ukraine, Africa, Sri Lanka and around Asia seeking for support or mentorship etc.

I never have to think about where I will land, I keep going….

What’s your connection to Asia?
Connections in Asia is about being true to people I work with as I have a philosophy to SERVE and no prejudice. I can deal with all level of people, simply we are human beings and I am just being human. Connections is not about just who you know on the surface and names only.  Rather it is about who you know who is willing to run the extra mile with me. I believe sincerity plays a major role and I am practicing it everyday.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Asia is my playground.  Favorite city is where I see the people in the city working hard to have a better life. I am a pure Asian; I can be recognized as a Malaysian, or a Thai or an Indonesian or Taiwanese – name it; I look like one…
I no longer just call myself Singaporean – I call myself Asian or Aseana.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You either choose to be top mafia conquering the whole turf and dare for the kill without blinking, or You choose to be good right deep from your heart – from my dearest late dad when I failed my exams in secondary school and he told me whatever choices I choose, I must give my 100% best. No bargain.  

Who inspires you?
Many people …

Beggars who take pride in their job and beg on the streets – it reminds me that I have lots to do to get them back on track and their kids are not going to grow up thinking begging is their only career choice.
Hawkers who serve with passion – it reminds me that I am so fortunate to have choices of food in my space and what about those who are dying of hunger; that’s makes me even more adamant to invest my every cents to promote crowdfunding, crowdsourcing to help the emerging or 3rd or 4th world countries. I started my work since 2013 in promoting Crowdfunding Asia knowing that it is a uphill task and tonnes of obstacles; but my focus was to use such tools to support all fields of concern that I can imagine to craft a compelling story to help anyone…
Single mother who was emotionally destroyed once and now standing tall for their children, making a decent living – I am one!
Obviously, surrounding me were books, inspirational speakers, motivational stories, amazing courses. The key is to continue practice practice practice.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
When I take count of my work starting from being rejected by VC’s in my business, being laughed at for my vision; I realized that I have done tremendous and things are shaping up. Taking stock from Zero to now; I have spoken in public, I conducted focus groups discussing how to drive Crowdfunding adoption.  I enrolled the world renowned practitioners in the first Asia crowdfunding summit. The fear of my heavy investment may not be recuperated led me to strive even harder and in fact the first summit in 2015 was conservatively profitable. The entire years calendar is filled and the latest is to be invited to be on panel by World Bank Group in Spain “From the Crowd to the Base; Crowdfunding-enabled Climate Business for SMEs”  

It was not about what I learned that blew me away, it was what I applied that blew me away. It was my undeterred belief that kept me inching closer to a real Crowdwisdom.  In practice in numerous fields that I am in. It is not about me – it is about YOU, the people.   

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
LOVE Myself earlier…

How do you unwind?
Cooking with my favorite FM Kiss92 music for my two darlings, my son and my daughter; they are my joy and my confidante.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand and Indonesia; the spread of islands and diving spots that I read about…. they are so unspoiled and so beautiful. But first, I must get my open water cert. lol or I will always be at the shore or at most snorkel . I have phobia of the sea but i am committed to overcome it.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Execution – The discipline of Getting things DONE” by Larry Bossidy

Shameless plug for your business:
I probably got no clue cos I was simply so focus on what I need to get done

How can people connect with you?
http://www.phoenixict.biz/

Twitter handle?
@HongKwek

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings

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Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched.

What’s your story?
I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects.

What excites you most about your industry?
It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position.

Who inspires you?
Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start.

How do you unwind?
I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki

Shameless plug for your business:
Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning.

How can people connect with you?
Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@malcolmABM

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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Callum Connects

William Chin, Founder of Mummy’s Market

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William Chin set up Mummy’s Market. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore.

What’s your story?
After National Service, I enjoyed a rousing start to my corporate career with successful stints at events and conventions companies such as IQPC, Hannover Fairs Australia and Lighthouse Independent Media in management roles, building my experience in conventions, trade fairs and events.

However, I hit a particularly bad streak of unemployment after that, facing difficulty finding jobs because according to recruiters, I was overqualified, yet too young. In fact, at one point I was struggling so badly with my family loans that I was sharing bowls of ramen with my girlfriend for our meals, to save costs.

My financial pressures eventually culminated in my forced venture into entrepreneurship where I had to strike out my own path with a brief stint in Expomal. However, this turned out to be my next break that fuelled my current success. It was there I built up Smartkids (another wildly successful baby and child fair) before it was bought out by a bigger company. Inspired by SmartKids, I started Mummy’s Market and eventually Baby’s Market, outperforming established names in the business to take its current place as market leader.

What excites you most about your industry?
Mummy’s Market is the industry leader in baby, kids, maternity and household with 80% market share and our clients – coupled with branding, advertising and exhibiting on Mummy’s Market platforms, we are seeing a 30-60% company growth year on year despite the downturn in the economy. With attendance of over 100k consumers per fair and serving 70-80% of pregnant mums, our actual business is in data, data collection and processing from consumer fairs.

I am excited about how big data analytics from Mummy’s Market can be applied at every stage of the retail process such as data segmentation – for retailers now when mums are giving birth to sending relevant content over. This will transform and innovate the industry of baby fairs and Mummy’s Market, with the huge amount of data we process from our fairs yearly, is the forerunner in this disruption. With this, we have transformed the DNA of how digital business has always been done. Global online marketplaces are burning cash quickly to achieve big data analytics, but not us.

Another testament to Mummy’s Market’s popularity is that huge marketplaces have been trying to pass off as Mummy’s Market. It shows that we are heading in the right direction and the most exciting part is, we are only at 10% of where we want to be – a platform where $1 billion gross market value products are transacted annually around Asia in a niche market.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore, and intend to stay in Singapore to build the Mummy’s Market brand.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore – if one can strategically become a leader in a small market like Singapore, its grounds to show that one’s business has an opportunity to grow further in larger countries.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It is easy to become number 1 because the others can just copy and tweak to overtake you.
It is more difficult to STAY number 1, because you have no one to copy. You have to innovate.”

Who inspires you?
Steve Jobs – he transformed the digital age. Without the invention of smartphones, mobile computing and mobile advertising would never have grown. He changed the way businesses and consumers communicate. Without the introduction of iPhones, mobile applications would have never existed the way we are using them today.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You no longer have to lick stamps to make it sticky.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I love my life and my family. And I love the platform Mummy’s Market has created to help businesses grow.

How do you unwind?
I play with my little 1 year old baby girl.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan – cool weather with beautiful mountains and lake scenery.

Everyone in business should read this book:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Shameless plug for your business:
Mummy’s Market has established its reputation as not just Singapore’s but Southeast Asia’s largest baby fair:

  • Nearly S$100 million gross merchandise volume transacted on Mummy’s Market platforms annually
  • 800,000 visitors at its fairs yearly
  • 80% of all of Singapore’s baby product distributors in one convention
  • 15-20% year on year increase in sales volume at every baby fair since its inception

Apart from market dominance, Mummy’s Market also has the largest database of parents and the number 1 platform for MNCs and SMEs to reach out to this audience. From exhibitions, magazines, seminars to digital campaigns and roadshows. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]
https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-chin-23910a9/

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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