Connect with us

Callum Connects

Nadya Saib, CEO of Wangsa Jelita

Published

on

The more transparency there is in the food we eat and the products we put on our skin the faster will be the demand for higher quality and the better off we all will be. Fortunately we have entrepreneurs like Nadya who is creating her own beautiful dynasty out of Indonesia.

What’s your story?

There was a debate among two friends and I about “natural personal care products,” you know, products which are labeled natural, but once you read the ingredients, you’ll be like, “natural? Really?!” Later we found out that there is actually no pharmaceutical regulation in using the word natural, which inspired us to run the business with the true concept of natural. We choose very carefully what should be put into the formulation—based on its benefit to skin, plus the extra rule—100% no harmful chemicals! We call the business Wangsa Jelita, literally means the Beautiful Dynasty.

What excites you most about your industry?

I’m a firm believer that business is an act of service, and apparently Wangsa Jelita’s main beneficiaries are women—whom I very much can relate to. To me personally, it is very exciting (or fulfilling rather) because the more I learn about them (in order to serve them better), the more I learn about myself. I think one of Aristotle’s principles fits this well, that “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” There are so many other things which I’m grateful for but I feel blessed enough just with that one particular advantage.

What’s your connection to Asia?

Bred, born, and raised. Both of my parents come from west Sumatra, I was born in East Borneo, and raised in Java. So far, I’ve spent my whole life in Asia—Indonesia to be precise (except when my family moved to France for a few years when I was a little kid, but I can’t remember a thing so I don’t think that counts). Not to mention, my palates always have deep love for Asian food.

nadya saib 3

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?

I’ve often heard that Singapore is good, but let me answer from experience: Bandung! Especially for startups, because bootstrappers will find Bandung very convenient (testified!) And also because the sharing environment allows entrepreneurs to learn from each other. The people are just so nice, most Bandung entrepreneurs I know don’t see others as competitions. And it’s a bonus that you can get the balance of a dynamic big city (it is the second largest metropolitan cities in Indonesia) and a beauty of nature surrounding the area (so that you can relax and recharge your mind).

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Being an entrepreneur, I found this one golden, “one of the goals for entrepreneurs should be they want to find a balance between the thing they love doing and all the other things that are important in life” – Nouman Ali Khan. That leads me to the question which I think every one of us should ponder over, “what ARE the important THINGS in life?” I picked this because too often we were told (at least I was told) that one can be a successful entrepreneur ONLY if they have no other life than their work. And I’ve learned that that’s not true.

Who inspires you?

Well, I look up to my mom because of her compassion, and she has instilled in me the ethic that I must do things wholeheartedly. And that balances the lesson I learned from my dad— to stay reasonable in life. Even my nephews have inspired me to stay curious. The list goes on and on and not just limited to people whom I’ve known or met personally. Just like recently I’ve been obsessed in knowing about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He’s inspired me greatly, especially in terms of dealing with people. So simply put, many!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?

It seems easy to answer “what is your priority in life?” But when we ask ourselves—where do we spend most of our time, what do we think when we get up, what do we stay up at night worrying about, what makes us cry most—and find that the reality reflects otherwise, then it means we don’t know what our priorities are. And I think that’s problematic, because I believe life balance starts with getting our priorities straight.

The fact that many people actually don’t know (nor really question)—what the real priorities are—just blew me away.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

I’m not sure if I want to change my past like doing things differently, but surely I wish I could have done things faster. Same mistakes, same lessons, just faster pace.

How do you unwind?

Playing with my nephews. Playing a game (I just found a new love for Plant vs. Zombies 2, thanks to my twin nephews). Listening to the podcasts I have in my smartphone. Reading books. And playing with my cat.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?

I like Bandung, because I lived there for about 9 years and I think it’s good to relax and reminisce. And also Sumatra, mostly because of the food.

This may sound odd to some, but I really like Singapore simply because it’s pedestrian-friendly (regardless its well-known busy lifestyle). I find walking relaxes my mind. Plus, I love Singapore “carrot cake.”

Everyone in business should read this book:

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Despite his rather horrible attitude, there are so many things an entrepreneur can learn and take from Steve Jobs’ way in making a dent in the universe. (Just don’t take his tantrum).

Shameless plug for your business:

Ever questioned why there are so many chemically laden personal care products in the market? You feel like you want to give the best to your skin, so then you look for the natural-labeled products, but only to be disappointed when you read the ingredients? Same old same old? Wangsa Jelita exists to solve that exact problem.

Check out www.wangsajelita.com or contact our customer service at [email protected], because we offer the TRUE natural personal care produts that have ONLY THE GOOD inside—100% no harmful chemicals!

How can people connect with you?

Feel free to drop me a note at [email protected]! 🙂

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

CallumConnects

Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.

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

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

Published

on

Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

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

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Ray Ferguson, Founder of Caber Partners

Published

on

Ray Ferguson left the banking world and returned to Asia to explore exciting fintech opportunities.

What’s your story?
I am the Founder of Caber Partners, a Singapore based MAS Licensed Fund Manager and Financial Advisor investing and working with companies focused exclusively on the intersection of finance and technology. I work specifically in the areas of payments, insurance, wealth management, alternative lending and blockchain.

I am also Chairman of Singapore Life which was founded last year. It is the first new local life company in Singapore. Concurrently, I chair Youtap a business which is creating a cashless e-money processing backbone providing real-time interoperable settlements of all consumer e-money payments to the merchants, e-money providers, retail and FMCG distribution groups, and banks across emerging markets.

My 30 year journey as a banker had its main leg with Standard Chartered Bank, where I held multiple country chief executive and regional leadership roles across four continents. I spent 6 years as Regional CEO, South East Asia and Chief Executive, Singapore. After Standard Chartered, I moved to Bank ABC, Bahrain and assumed the role of Group Chief Banking Officer where I took care of the group’s banking businesses worldwide.
Last year, I decided to step down after 3 years from my role with Bank ABC to return to Asia to pursue interesting and exciting opportunities that fintech disruption was providing.

What excites you most about your industry?
The sheer pace of technological innovation in the financial sector, and how it is up-ending the traditional models and traditional players. There are huge implications and benefits for efficiency, transparency and importantly financial inclusion which will drive growth in emerging markets.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived in and worked in Asia for more than 30 years. I first came to Singapore in 1994 and today I am a proud Singapore citizen, and to me Singapore is home.

Its an invigorating environment. Asia is in the middle of an historic transformation. If it continues to follow its recent trajectory, by 2050 its per capita income could rise sixfold in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms to reach Europe’s levels today. It would make some 3 billion additional Asians affluent by current standards. By nearly doubling its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) to 52 percent by 2050, Asia would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago, before the industrial revolution. This is a big deal and I’m excited to be part of it!

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore! Singapore is known for being a business-friendly country and it was crowned the best country in World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business List” and ranks as the top 3 in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitive Index.” Singapore is an attractive hub, for both businesses and has a great community to live in.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Listen intently and you will know what you don’t know.

Who inspires you?
Nelson Mandela

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That the global mobile wallet market was valued at approximately USD 594 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately USD 3,100 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 32% between 2017 and 2022.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have learnt to code.

How do you unwind?
Exercise, golf and sailing large catamarans.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket. Easy to reach, Thai people and service, breadth of choice of locations/accomodation and great sailing weather.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Good to Great – Jim Collins. It’s about how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how and why most companies fail to make the transition.

Shameless plug for your business:
Caber Partners team is uniquely connected with our networks and experience in fintech markets, investing and banking and business growth solutions throughout Asia and across the emerging world.

How can people connect with you?
Come connect with me through my LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rayfergusonscb

Twitter handle?
Rayferguson888

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

Continue Reading

Trending