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There are no Women Entrepreneurs, there are just Women who become Entrepreneurs.



There are no Women Entrepreneurs
There are just Women who become Entrepreneurs.

Here are their top 7 traits:-

1. They see a male dominated society or industry and they don’t bat an eyelash.

From a Princess to a young graduate entering STEM industries, their stories are the same. Yes, I was told there are usually no women. And then I told them I would be the first.

At the Crib Summit, H.R.H. Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite said her greatest challenge was her title. The title, which gave her cultural and religious power by being ahead of the state, was disempowering because her colleagues in her field of choice asked why she didn’t wear a tiara to work. Or do more ‘princessy’ things. Thankfully, this modern princess knew she could have her pretty clothes and her Ph.D. in Human Genetics.

The recent release of the movie, Hidden Figures is another case in point, a brilliant mind is a brilliant mind and it comes it all shapes, sizes, and genders.

2. They simply don’t give up.

They just keep on keeping on. Panelist after panelist told stories of how they outran and outlasted everyone else to be the one still standing. It was never a gender issue, it was a who could deal with the challenges longer.

Claire Chiang spoke of Banyan Tree riding the wave of one economic crisis after another and still managing just to keep afloat. Small business founders shared at breaks and at private one-on-one or small groups their own stories of tenacity and grit. Brené Brown would have been so proud to hear us.

The vulnerability is not worn on the sleeve as a bleeding heart but more like an empress dowager. She looks strong outside but inside, she too has doubts and challenges and she finds trusted advisors – here at Crib, a trusted female community of advisors who have seen their way through their own tough entrepreneurial patches.

3. They are continual learners

This was one rich deep and expansive summit. So many offerings of workshops and rich conversations – and we were asked to join Howdy an app to continue talking before and after events. Women bring other women together to an almost potluck a business meal together. When not on stage, we found Elim Chew drinking a coffee surrounded by young men and women who wanted to learn from her varied experiences. She herself so versed in the social media world, was seen attending a Facebook workshop to deepen her knowledge.

Anna Gong, the finalist for Women Entrepreneur of the Year, went to the Negotiation Workshop and Elim joked that Anna probably needed to teach her own workshop on how to re-found a startup and make it successful by negotiating with new partners and investors. A rare skill that Anna has shown to the world and that’s why Perx has Eduardo Saverin and Golden Gate Ventures behind this Singapore-born startup.

4. They lean in before Leaning In was what you called it

Virginia Tan spoke of Lean In China and how they have started researching about the wage gap. She mentioned her own experiences of being paid less that a male colleague and how he was a friend and told her. She reflected and spoke to her Human Resources department and realized she had negotiated lower than most men during her work relocation from London to China. She now uses this story to remind the women in her communities not to underestimate their worth and value.

Rosaline Chow Koo jumped in with a great story of how an established investment firm told her after one of her pitches, that when they see a man presenting whatever numbers he gives them for his startup – they divide it by 10. For women they multiple by 10. That’s how often he sees women underestimating their value.

5. They are comfortable being in the limelight and the tough light. They carry themselves with grace.

As women who know they have made headways that many other women still aspire towards, most successful women entrepreneurs take the social media limelight and use it for good.

The “How to Build your Brand and Grow your Influence using Social Media” workshop where Love Bonito’s co-founder Rachel Lim and Katherina-Olivia Lacey spoke about the integrity of being a personal brand. It rang true with how we all know that most people want to see only the “happy happy” times and not the tough times. Yet how entrepreneurs and women and humans have those tough days and we need to show that too. To be a true face to what being an entrepreneur really is.

6. They do things to create a Me-We world

At the Crib Summit, partnering with DBS foundation, we saw many amazing initiatives for social good. I was impressed by The Everyday Revolution’s CEO Sophia Tan’s vision for art allowing autistic kids an expression as well as means of fundraising for their needs. The artwork spoke of their world and was such a spark of joy to the conference venue.

Also, they had a great Crib Marketplace with green initiatives to swap clothes and use eco-friendly products.

They make a business that makes the world better – Triple Bottom Line: Planet, People, Profits.

7. Not Women Power – but Self Power.

Anita Kapoor tells us she is blessed with a voice. She uses this to shine a light on challenging social issues and to awaken her audience to their full potential.

In her workshop and while on the opening panel, she espouses the need to know ourselves first. To go deep and align ourselves with whether that is the true mission before embarking.

What I loved most about the Crib Summit were the little children and daddies in tow, the Crib women have made family and work one. There is no division. Reema Khan of Great Sands Equity has scaled her company quickly and is the youngest member of the team. The rest are older men with roller decks that help her create the relationships she needs for the company. However, she spoke about her travels and arriving and departing as quickly as she could to get back to her kids in San Francisco. Yet she did come to the Crib Summit.

MP Lily Neo was seen carrying her newest grandson from daughter Crib Co-Founder Dr. Elaine Kim. The self-power is the way to re-make the rules of the business game the way it suits women. Know yourself. Create the world that gives that to you.

And in a very Arianna Huffington way, we started the day and took breaks with Mindfulness exercises.

Want to listen to a STEM Princess … watch the video below:

The CNBC video of HRH is here:
Interested in such events for yourself or your female team members? Find out more here.

What is CRIB video:

Follow CRIB Society on Facebook at for information about CRIB events and the CRIB Ball.


Women on Top in Tech – Daphne Ng, CEO of JEDTrade



(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.)

Daphne Ng is the CEO of JEDTrade, a blockchain technology company focused on trade, supply chain, and financial inclusion projects in ASEAN. She is also the Scretary-General at ACCESS and Exco. of Singapore Fintech Association

What makes you do what you do?
I was introduced to blockchain technology in 2016 after I left my corporate banking career after 10 years. It was my mentor who first got me interested in this technology, which I then went on to delve further into, on its potential applications in the lending and trade finance space – domains where I came from.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Being in the space for 2 years and actively involved in the ecosystem, I was able to bring on the projects, network and a good degree of thought leadership in this vertical. Early on in the startup journey, our team faced many challenges. And to me, the key to rising above failures are two essential factors – resilience and support. While resilience is innate, I received a lot of help be it in terms of connections or advice. ‘Nobody succeeds without help’ rings very true for me.

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)?
From the start, I focused on my domain expertise in trade finance and the application construct of how blockchain and DLT can be applied to these use cases. Also, my strategy from the start was to build a technology company made up of 80% tech and engineers, which is also our key competitive advantage today. At the end of the day, deliverables are about strategy and execution, which includes building and leading an ‘A’ team.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I have many mentors, which includes our company advisors (all of whom are well-known in this industry) and mostly informal mentors I meet via my connections, and on various occasions and circumstances. Creating opportunities also means putting myself in the right place, at the right time. And in my case, these were mostly organic and genuine friendships formed from the initial connection.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?
To me, a match in values is very important. It also takes humility to ask for help and be willing to listen to advice, which is important in order for mentorships to be successful – be it formal or informal.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I love this question! I am passionate about building strong teams and helping my people grow. I abide by the 3Rs when identifying talents: resourcefulness, resilience and right values. And then I invest in the ‘potential’ and this means giving them room to lead, make decisions and take risks.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
My support of diverse talents, skillsets and characters can be seen in the make-up of our core team – all helming specific roles and each bringing their own value to the table. We need the sum of all parts to build a great company.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Great leaders emerge in times of failures and challenges, never abandoning the team, and always putting the team’s interests before her own. And I consciously live by these mottos every day.

Advice for others?
My advice to other entrepreneurs: be resolute and dare to be different. If you are going to follow others, then you will end up on the same path as them. No right or wrong; but I would rather chart my own path. This June, we are officially launching our blockchain project, Jupiter Chain (, which have garnered much interest in the industry, even before we made it public. We believe this project is the epitome of marrying innovation with practical implementation, and we want to be the first to truly operationalize blockchain for our ecosystem projects in this region.

If you’d like to get in touch with Daphne Ng, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about JEDTrade, please click here.

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Callum Connects

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures



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:

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here:

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:
Download free copies of his books here:

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