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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.


Is There A Coworking Space Bubble?



An annual growth rate of nearly 100%, almost five years in a row? More than 60 coworking spaces in a city like Berlin? Are these the characteristics of a bubble? Nope, these are characteristics of a lasting change in our world of work, which has been further catalyzed by the recent economic crises in many countries. But what makes this change different to a bubble? We’ve summarized some arguments of why the coworking movement is based on a sustainable change. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job to open a good working coworking space.

Five reasons why the growth of coworking spaces is based on organic and sustainable growth: 

1. Coworking spaces invest their own money and create real wealth

Already, there is a convincing argument supporting why coworking spaces are not developing in a bubble: the fact that they create real wealth.

Whether referring to the dotcom bubble a decade ago or the real estate crisis in Spain or the United States, the crisis originated in a glut of cheap money, in an environment in which the sender and the recipient were unacquainted. From funds and banks, money flowed in steady streams to investments which offered little resistance and the most promising returns – which only a little while later turned into delusions and ruined investments.

Redistributed risks create illusions. Those people who distributed the money rarely wore the risk of investment decisions. The risk was mainly taken by small shareholders or people who bought parts of those investments. This was because either both parties’ (better) judgement was drowned out by the noise of the market, or because shareholders were unaware of the risk, and were at the mercy of banks and funds for reliable information.

Another fundamental condition for the creation of bubbles are the sheer amounts of money that flow from various locations globally and are concentrated, by comparison, in much fewer places.

Most coworking spaces, however, receive their funding from local or nearby sources and do not operate within this financial system. In fact, the founders mainly inject the bulk of the required investment, and turn to friends or relatives for additional support. They wear the full brunt of the risks that are involved in small-time investment.

They have access to much more information, because it is their own project, rather than a foreign one thousands of miles away. This also includes failures and mistakes that are encountered along the way, but the risk is less redistributed, thereby decreasing the probability of failures.

2. Labor market changes demand on certain office types lastingly

Most users of coworking spaces are self-employed. The proportion of employees is also on the rise, in many cases simply because they work for small companies that increasingly opt to conduct their business in coworking spaces rather than in traditional offices. The industry of almost all coworkers fall within the Internet-based creative industries.

With flexibilisation of work markets, new mobile technologies that are changing work patterns, and the increase of external services purchasing from large and medium-sized enterprises (outsourcing), the labor market has changed radically in many parts of the world.

The long-term financial and emotional security of becoming an employee no longer exists, especially for younger generations of workers. Bigger companies are quicker to fire than hire, and precarious short-term contracts are on the rise. Promising options on the labor market are more often recuded to freelancer careers and starting your own company.

And that’s possible with less money to invest. All you need is a laptop, a brain and a good network. For years, the number of independent workers and small businesses has been growing worldwide – particularly in internet-based creative industries. Anyone who has sufficient specialized skills and the willingness to take risks may adapt more quickly to market conditions if they own a small business or are self employed; more so than if they were to work in a dependent position in an equally volatile market.

Coworking spaces provide an environment in which to do this. Once they have joined a (suitable) coworking space, these factors become apparent to coworkers, who will remain in their space for years to come.

Furthermore, independent workers rarely fire themselves in crises, and even small companies are less likely to give their employees the boot – compared to their large counterparts. This combination enables more sustainable business models – and less business models à la Groupon.

3. Coworking spaces don’t live on crises

Global economic growth is waning while the number of coworking spaces is continually growing. Do coworking spaces thus benefit from this crisis?

The current crises accelerate the formation and growth of coworking spaces, because they offer solutions and space for the resulting problems. Coworking spaces are therefore not a result of a crisis, but the product of change that pre-dates their existence. A crisis is simply the most visible expression of change.

The first coworking spaces emerged in the late 1990s; the movement’s strong growth started six years ago – before the onset of economic downturns in many countries.

4. Coworking spaces depend on the needs of their members

Most coworking spaces are rarely full. Does this mean they are unsuccessful? On average, only half of all desks are occupied. But the average occupancy rate of 50% refers only to a specific date.

In fact, coworking spaces generally serve more members than they can seat at any given time, since members do not use the spaces simultaneously. Coworking spaces are places for independents who want to work on flexible terms. Smaller spaces rely more on permanent members. Larger spaces can respond more flexibilty to the working hours of its members, and, can rent desks several times over.

If a coworking space is always overcrowded or totally empty, the purpose of said space would be defeated. Firstly, it is rather impossible to work in an overcrowded room. Second, it’s impossible to cowork in an empty room. Given the nature of flexible memberships, a coworking space only can survive if they fit the needs of their members. Members would otherwise be quick to leave, and membership would be much more transient.

5. The coworking market is far from saturation

Less than 2% of all self-employed – and even fewer employees – currently work in coworking spaces. Reporting on coworking may increase, but inflated reporting on the coworking movement in the mainstream media is still far away.

Coverage of coworking space are most likely to be found in the career or local sections in larger publications – front cover coverage remains the dream of many space operators. This is because the whole coworking movement can’t be photographed in one picture. What appears to be a disadvantage, however, is actually a beneficial truth: niche coverage allows the industry to grow organically, and avoid over inflation.


Coworking spaces don’t operate in parallel universes – like the financial market. Demand and supply are almost exclusively organic and operate in the real world economy.

For the same reason, there is no guarantee that opening a coworking spaces will be automaticly successful. Anyone who fails to learn how to deal with potential customers in their market, or is unfamiliar with how coworking communities function, will have a difficult time of making one work. In the same way that business people in other industries will fail if they do not understand their market.

Those who simply tack on the word ‘coworking’ to their space’s facade will need to work harder. The structure of most coworking spaces is based on real work, calculated risk, and real-world supply and demand.


About the Author

This article was produced by Deskmag. Deskmag is the magazine about the new type of work and their places, how they look, how they function, how they could be improved and how we work in them. They especially focus on coworking spaces which are home to the new breed of independent workers and small companies. see more.

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Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy



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 (

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook ( or visit for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @

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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