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Ricardo Sentosa, Founder of Venuerific

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Ricardo Sentosa

Ricardo’s helping you find the perfect space for the perfect occasion with his organisation Venuerific.

What’s your story?
I was exposed to business at a very young age. My grandparents traded building materials and my father owned a home-building construction business. After struggling for many years, he started to get bigger projects which helped our financial situation.
My parents never had the luxury of finishing their education, but deemed education an asset. They decided to send my sister and I to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. We were only 12 and 11 years old at the time.
They supported our education and allowances for the first 3 years, then in 1997 the Asian financial crisis happened. I had to step it up and support myself and my sister by working part-time jobs such as cooking hamburgers, serving ice creams, selling movie tickets and telemarketing. Apart from these, I created my own side-businesses from trading watches at the age of 17 and re-selling concert tickets. It was actually really fun and I learned good business comes from great customer service.
I graduated from the University of Technology Sydney in 2006 and got my first job at JP Morgan. I then moved to a well known hedge fund called Susquehanna before coming to Singapore to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
After working for over 8 years in the banking industry, it hit me that my true passion was to solve problems and help other people. Entrepreneurship has allowed me to do both and I haven’t looked back since. Venuerific is my third venture and I’ve been blessed that so many have supported our journey.

What excites you most about your industry?
Apart from getting to meet so many interesting people, we also get to discover amazing spaces and have the opportunity to work with their businesses. Like other industries that have been disrupted by technology (i.e. uber for transportation, airbnb for accommodation), the events industry is also undergoing a major transition. Venuerific is at the heart where this change is taking place and we are very excited to see what happens over the next few years.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Jakarta, raised in Sydney and have been living in Singapore for the past 7 years.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. It took us a week to come up with the perfect company name and only 10 minutes to register our business on bizfile. Apart from that, everything is very transparent and businesses here are willing to give startup companies like us a chance.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I am a spiritual person and constantly focus on mindfulness. I live by the quote, “what you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create,” Buddha.

Who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from entrepreneurs who struggled but never gave up. Sir Richard Branson, John Paul DeJoria and Ray Croc are a few of them.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Frequency of users is also as important as the acquisition of new users. We have always been more focused on the latter component in the past.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Find a mentor who is willing to guide me in the right directions. It is very important to start young so you are able to make more mistakes and learn from them.

How do you unwind?
My definition of “unwind” has drastically changed since leaving the corporate world. Back then, after a stressful day, I would head to a bar for drinks with friends and occasionally head to the gym. Now, I exercise regularly (a combination of cardio, weights and more recently boxing) and I have begun to explore meditation at home.
Other than that, I really love discovering new places and experiencing new things. Usually on weekends, I find time to visit one new place or do something different.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali is such a magical place. Sacred temples, beautiful mountains, hipster cafes, exquisite restaurants and the endless adventures that awaits. Plus, being a local has its perks.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start With Why by Simon Sinek; Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel; The Virgin Way by Richard Branson.

Shameless plug for your business:
It’s so important to find the right venue when you are hosting an event. Venuerific is an online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book hip, beautiful or unconventional event venues in Southeast Asia. Re-discover the way you celebrate and experience events by finding the perfect venue.
Whether you’re looking for a private space to celebrate a birthday, yacht for a romantic engagement, or a mansion to impress your clients, Venuerific has the perfect space for every occasion. With over 1,000 choices in over 5 countries, you will never run out of options.
To start discovering, visit www.venuerific.com

Venuerific Logo

How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardosentosa/

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/ricardosentosa

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

CallumConnectsCallum 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

Trung Nguyen, Founder & Managing Director of Advertising Vietnam

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Having initial success with his first start up in the ad industry, Trung Nguyen went on to start other ventures in the ad world in Vietnam. He now has the largest agency community in Vietnam.

What’s your story?
Three years ago I got my first job in the advertising industry. I worked for a local agency in town, and I fell in love with the creative industry. In June 2015, I founded Agency Life Community in Vietnam. It quickly became the most engaging community in the ad industry. The main content focuses on entertainment. After six months we had over 30,000 organic followers, now we have 120,000 followers.

Because the industry had been good to me, I decided I had to something for the industry to help the industry be better. So, I opened http://AdvertisingVietnam.com – a creative industry ad site which keeps advertising informative, creative and inspiring.

After more than a year in the ads industry in Vietnam, I figured the industry needed a better solution for the recruitment of good staff. Given I own the largest advertising community platform, why don’t I utilise Agency Life to help connect talent with ad agencies. So, I founded job site, AdJob.Asia in January 2017.

What excites you most about your industry?
The ad industry is a creative one with very passionate people who are always challenging themselves. The exciting part for creatives, in the morning they might be working on a baby brand and in the afternoon they are answering a beer brief. There is so much diversity. Every day is the new journey.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am Vietnamese.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Thailand. The Thais are the kings of the creative industry in SEA. Thai ads are very smart and creative.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Do what you love.

Who inspires you?
My friend, mentor and partner Mr Nghi Nguyen, founder of BrandsVietnam.com. We started our businesses at a similar time. He doesn’t see us as a competitor but rather, he believes that we share the same passion and we are working to provide better knowledge for the ad community.
Mr Nghi also guided me a lot when I first opened the business. I am inspired by his vision to make our marketing industry better.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Our business is a startup company and as a founder I do everything from operations, business development, planning and strategy. However, this is not the good way grow our business. You have to share the workload – find a co-founder or hire a great employee to help share the workload. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Quit my full time job sooner.
During the first year of running my business, I was still working as an ad manager for an agency. However I lacked focus at work due to the overload of work and it affected the company I used to work for. I strongly recommend people who have an idea to start their own business, quit their job early on and focus 100% on it from the get go!

How do you unwind?
Play with my cat.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love to travel throughout all of Asia. I enjoy new places and meeting new people.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Carpenter: A story about the greatest success strategies of all.

Shameless plug for your business:
AdvertisingVietnam.com is a site where you can quickly update yourself on the advertising news in Vietnam. We have 15,000 unique monthly readers who are professional people in the advertising and communications industries.

The Agency Life, https://www.facebook.com/agencylife is largest agency community in Vietnam. This is the right place for ad agencies to share their creative work.

AdJob.Asia now has more than 160 agencies in Vietnam who use our services. We are a leading recruitment service for the advertising industry in Vietnam.

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trungnx26
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trungnx26/

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

Joelle Ung, Founder of Treasure Unity

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Joelle’s entrepreneurial journey has been an interesting one, leading her to the world of network marketing, enabling her to help other entrepreneurs succeed.

What’s your story?
The sense of wanting to make an impact, of needing to add value to ‘something,’ be it focused on business or peoples’ lives, has led me, through many failures, to where I am now, the food and beverage manufacturing industry. My entrepreneurial journey began as a wedding planner. Then, having tasted initial success, my desire to find meaningful business mentors brought me to the world of network marketing.
Having benefited from the teachings of my mentor, plus the time I spent growing up as the daughter of a great father, I realised that the urge to ‘pay it forward,’ by mentoring future entrepreneurs and helping my colleagues, other entrepreneurs to succeed, had become a personal mission.
The Honest Living Program, owned by my current company, Treasure Unity, is a realisation of that dream. The program opens up learning opportunities for women under duress, underprivileged women and single mothers. It provides a platform from which I am able to teach, imparting people skills and the art of presentation through the day-to-day program. It is absolutely free.

What excites you most about your industry?
To be able to keep adding values to others. On stage or off, it doesn’t matter. I enjoy every call I receive, every appointment that is set up, every individual I have met, and have yet to meet. There is only one agenda, and that is to add value to the person I am speaking to.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Having lived in Singapore and Malaysia for the past 39 years, my heart is impacting the people in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Because of the people who live there, and because there are no barriers to communication for me.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t make any decision out of confusion, disappointment or anger. Decisions should always be made with a restful heart.

Who inspires you?
Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
My husband is an ‘overcomer’ who had a near fatal stroke 18 years ago. He lost the ability to practice his dream career as a medical doctor, yet he chose to be a prisoner of hope rather than be a prisoner within his body, and he has never indulged in self-pity.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Lately, I have learned to be still when an opponent strikes at me. It works! You do not need to immediately rebut an opponent. He, or she, will most probably be waiting for a reaction. When they don’t get one, when you remain still and unmoved, you become unpredictable. They do not know your next move.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have sought advice from more wise counsellors before making major decisions, especially if finance or investments were involved.

How do you unwind?
Sometimes I like to take a short getaway or, on a daily basis, I read bible verses that I find uplifting.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Penang. It is close to home and you can get a premium service at an affordable cost. Also, I can pack light, and it is easy to find anything and everything there.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Like a Virgin, by Richard Branson

Shameless plug for your business:
Become an irresistible woman with substance! We will bring out your natural leadership skills through the Honest Living Program.

How can people connect with you?
They can connect with me by email [email protected], through WhatsApp 92300071, or they can call me on my mobile.

Twitter handle?
My twitter account is inactive. @ungjoelle @treasureunity

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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