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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

Jasmine Tan, Director of Stone Amperor

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Jasmine saves her clients time and effort when doing kitchen fit outs with her biz Stone Amperor.

What’s your story?
I started working in the industry in 2003. I was in a marble and granite supplier company for 5 years. Even though I left the company, I still had customers calling me for my services. I referred them back to my previous company but they refused to because they loved the fast response service that I offered. I realised that customers do look at prices, however most of them prefer quality over quantity. Thus I have decided to establish a sole proprietor company also known as 78 Degrees which later rebranded as Stone Amperor in 2014.

What excites you most about your industry?
The kitchen countertop industry is a very confusing market. There are many brands, materials and prices to choose from. What excites me the most is my ability to help clients choose the best materials and brands within their budgets, whilst saving them time and effort.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have been in Asia all my life and I love Asia. No matter where you go there is no place like home.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Singapore. This is because Singapore has always been a stable country and it is great for doing business. However as it is a small country, it can be really competitive. I believe that if just do your best and give your best to your customers, you can overcome this.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Take actions. Learn and improve continuously. An idea without action is just a dream.” This was really good advice that I received from my partner.

Who inspires you?
A very down to earth billionaire from Malaysia, Robert Kuok

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Property is the foundation of every business.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Own instead of renting property for my business.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy going shopping, watching movies and hanging out with friends. I am quite a simple being.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love going to Taiwan as I love the culture there. Everyone is so polite and the weather is great.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Sun Tzu, Art of war

Shameless plug for your business:
Perfect top, Perfect price, Perfect life from Stone Amperor

How can people connect with you?
Email me at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@StoneAmperor

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

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

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Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

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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