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Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2015

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KUALA LUMPUR, 22 November, 2015 – Winners for the inaugural Rice Bowl Startup Awards were celebrated at a gala event closing the 1 Asean Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur earlier today. The Golden Rice Bowl Award for Startup of the Year was awarded to NeonRunner, a startup from Malaysia which offers last mile on-demand services for the masses at an affordable price. “From the very beginning our goal was to celebrate the rising stars of entrepreneurship throughout Southeast Asia, and tonight’s gala honoured startups who are a clear embodiment of excellence and innovation,” said Ashran Dato’ Ghazi, Chairman of New Entrepreneurs Foundation (myNEF). All 33 finalists were automatically in the running for the Golden Rice Bowl Award, and were awarded startup training worth USD15,000, regional media engagements and investor matching. “Cumulatively, USD82 million in funding has been pledged by investors to date to invest in the finalists, and we are confident that this figure will expand as more investors recognise the quality and innovation of these startups,” added Ashran.

The Rice Bowl Startup Awards is the first ASEAN awards to celebrate rising startups that harness technology to propel their business regionally, with the aim of building an ASEAN ecosystem for the startup community. The awards focus on developmental elements, with all of our finalists being media trained, given media exposure and matched with investors. 376 entries were submitted from nine countries across South East Asia during the nomination phase from 1 June to 15 September 2015. A panel of over 30 judges from the awards’ community partners then evaluated the entries in four broad areas – Business, Traction, USP and Investability.

Finalists were judged by the Rice Bowl Startup Awards Grand Jury, lead by Tan Sri Dr. Mohamed Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Chairman of the 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit as Head Judge and comprising of Nadira Yusoff, President of Nadi-Ayu Technologies & CoChairperson of 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit; Hamdi Mokhtar, Board Member of New Entrepreneurs Foundation; Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre; Leigh Reyes, President & Chief Creative Officer of LOWE Philippines; Matthew Badalucco, Vice President of Catcha Group; and Amran Hassan, Head of Innovation of Maybank.

The Winners for the inaugural Rice Bowl Startup Awards are:

INDUSTRY AWARD CATEGORY

1. Retail Startup of the Year Poundit (Philippines)

● E-commerce site for consumer electronics founded by Kristian Salvo, CEO.

2. Media Startup of the Year FoodAdvisor.my (Malaysia)

● Food review and recommendation site founded and curated by Kenny Hew, CEO and Kay Stanford Jr. Kastum, Digital Producer.

3. Digital/Online Startup of the Year Eatigo (Thailand)

● Online restaurant reservations with time-based discounts. Cofounded by Michael Cluzel, CEO and Siddhanta Kothari, COO.

4. Tech Startup of the Year Star Ticket (Myanmar)

● The first bus ticketing solution in Myanmar. Co-founded by Thet Mon Aye and Zarni Nway Oo. CROSS-SECTOR AWARD CATEGORY

5. Product Startup of the Year QLIPP (Singapore)

● Lightweight sensor that helps improve tennis game. Co-founded by Donny Soh, CEO and Lee Chee How, COO.

6. Service Startup of the Year a. NeonRunner (Malaysia)

● On demand, same day delivery service enabler co-founded by M. Kanashan, CEO and Arvind Patmarajah, CFO.

7. Innovative Go-To-Market Startup of the Year GetLinks (Thailand)

● Connects companies with the next generation of passionate digital talent and innovators. Co-founded by Djoann Fal and Polpat Songthamjitti. SPECIAL AWARD CATEGORY

8. FinTech Business Startup of the Year (category sponsored by Maybank) Qwikwire (Phillipines)

● Pay bills from anywhere in the world brought by Bing Bryan Tan, CTO and Zairo Hererro Ko, Head Of Business Development.

9. University Startup of the Year (category sponsored by University Malaya) Flexilicate (Malaysia)

● Custom designed optical fibers for telecommunications applications, sensing & non-linear effects spearheaded by Prof. Dr. Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan, Director and Dr. Ghafour Amouzad Mahdiraji, Managing Director.

STAR AWARD CATEGORY

10. Social Enterprise Startup of the Year Kapital Boost (Singapore)

● Islamic crowdfunding platform that helps small businesses pay for goods and capital purchases. Co-founded by Erly Witoyo, Managing Partner and Umar Munshi, Partner.

11. Woman in Business Startup of the Year Silvia Wetherell, MumRadar (Singapore)

● Helping mums find nursing rooms, baby friendly cafes, playgrounds and more on the go. Co-founded by mums Silvia Wetherell and Rita Bishop.

The awards were held as a closing ceremony for the 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit (1AES 2015). 1 AES 2015 aims to inspire and promote ideas by sharing the learnings of successful entrepreneurs and industry experts with young entrepreneurs. At the same time, motivating youth to think big and leverage on the ASEAN community to capture the global market.

According to YBhg. Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Bin Abdullah, the Secretary General of Treasury, “We have been receiving an overwhelming response from both local and ASEAN entrepreneurs since the 1AES kicked off in March, early this year. We, here at 1AES strive to provide knowledge, inspiration, motivation and ideas as well as networking platform within this 1 week period.”

The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MAGiC) is the awards’ strategic partner, and the event is sponsored by Maybank, Microsoft and UStart. Trophy design is by Melinda Looi International, and was 3D printed by UTC Additive Manufacturing Pte Ltd. Infinite Ventures matched the finalists with investors around the region, and the awards were audited by Adib Azhar & Co. Ammanz, Aquila, Thailand Startup Review and the Malaysian Reserve are all supporters of this year’s awards. The awards’ community partners include: Bangkok Entrepreneurs, Brand Geeks, Cradle, Cyberview, Digital Kaway, Geeks in Cambodia, Hubba, IdeaSpace, Iglu, Lithan, Mad Inc, MDEC, My Harapan, MyIPO, My Performing Arts, NEF, Startup Jobs Asia, Startup Malaysia, Startup Myanmar, Startup Thailand, Startup Vietnam, The Spark Project, UStart 2015, WatchTower & Friends, Webmob, Women Entrepreneurs Network (WENA), and World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF).

Entrepreneurship

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

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(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 (www.jupiterchain.tech), 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: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphne-ng-%E9%BB%84%E7%91%9E%E7%8E%B2/

To learn more about JEDTrade, please click here.

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Callum Connects

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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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

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