Connect with us

Callum Connects

Timothy Yee, Director of Ta Square

Published

on

Timothy Yee has several enterprises. He is a F&B and hospitality consultant and he has his own interior design agency.

What’s your story?
During my childhood years I always loved to draw and I have always wanted to do something creative. I used to see my dad produce beautiful manual drawings as a draughtsman which sparked my interest in architecture. I would take my pencil and pen and draw on the piles of recycled papers next to him as he worked late nights to meet deadlines. It was only natural for me to pick architecture and design as a chosen field. There are so many ideas that I would love to create and work on.
After spending a few years honing my skills and craft with different reputable firms, working on residential, commercial and aged care living projects, I decided to fulfill my university dream of starting my own design studio. Along the challenging journey of establishing a young design studio in Melbourne I managed to co-found Seoul Soul, a small and quaint Korean restaurant in Richmond and Northcote as well as Breakfast Thieves, a popular local breakfast joint in Fitzroy. This opened up the door of opportunity for me to venture into interior design and grew our services as a F&B and hospitality consultant. From a one man practice in 2011 we are currently a team of 20 people including architects and interior designers for our Melbourne studio.

What excites you most about your industry?
To be given the opportunity to realise our client’s vision into built reality, is always exciting for me!
Be it a new building or a new restaurant concept we are always striving to do it better. Being located in Melbourne, the works created by our peers are amazing and we want to be the best at our craft. The design scene in Melbourne is very active and this keeps us on our toes.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Malaysia. While pursuing my architectural degree I also worked on projects with a local firm to gain practical experience and an understanding of the local market. We are setting up an office in Malaysia to expand our presence and we are currently looking into collaborating with a local Malaysian manufacturer to create furniture pieces for our clients’ projects.

belsize_exterior_dusk_A TAS_AndrewsHamburgers_20160730_066

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I would say it has to be Malaysia as my network is based there. Because of our experience and skills, we are finding that local developers or investors wanting to expand their presence or experience in Melbourne will look to us, to provide them with advice prior to starting on a development project in Australia. We have also worked with clients from China, Singapore and Indonesia and have started expanding our presence in Sydney and Perth.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
What won’t kill you will make you stronger and if you don’t succeed first, keep trying! I’ve learned that if you put your heart and mind to it, with determination, patience and passion, the end result is always rewarding. Also important is to remain humble and honest and our clients always end up as friends in the process.

Who inspires you?
My mum has been a great inspiration to me. There was a time during my year as an architectural student I almost gave up as it was so challenging and exhausting. She however, encouraged me not to give up and don’t be too focused on achieving good grades but to enjoy the journey and process by simply giving my best. Needless to say I went on to achieve a position on the Dean’s list at Melbourne University for my final year studies. I owe my determination and success to her to this day.
My ex tutors and boss Mr. Arnold Lim, Mr. Azroei Ahmad and Mr. Paolo Tombesi. Without their guidance and insights I would not have the courage and determination to take on the challenging role of delicately balancing architecture as a design and business model in Australia. You can still achieve great results if you do your best for your clients and sincerely look after their needs.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
To ensure a project is delivered successfully you need to align yourself with a good team and most importantly a skilled and honest builder. Working with different builders on a variety of projects on different scales has allowed us to constantly hone our design skills to ensure we can deliver a beautiful outcome with modest budgets from the clients. You’ll be amazed how skilled and creative the local tradesman can be if you work closely with them to come out with great solutions for the client’s projects!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I don’t think I would do things any differently as every step and decision made from my journey has been integral to where I am today. Perhaps the only regret I have was not spending enough time to invest and work on my personal projects and ideas. However better late than never!

How do you unwind?
I love to travel and explore different places to broaden my mind and experience. For any other usual days that would be trying new food at new establishments with friends as Melbourne always has something new to offer. Other times if possible that would be reading the news or catching a movie. Taking brief short breaks from work allows me to look at the project again with a fresh approach and new perspective to ensure we can deliver good results for our clients.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
That would be Japan. Every visit is always an exploration process for me. The architecture, the food, the people and the culture are fascinating!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I’m actually quite a visual person. However if given the time I would try and read books. The last book I read was Hannibal and Me by Andreas Kluth. I find Hannibal quite fascinating and his greatest successes and failures somehow, can be applied to what I am trying to achieve with my life.

Shameless plug for your business:
Ta square is a full service architectural, interior and project management studio based in Melbourne, Australia. We are able to assist our clients to source for development sites and ensure their vision and aspiration is achieved through collaboration with relevant parties and consultants to achieve a successful outcome. We are pragmatic and we focus on delivering real projects for our clients by balancing the needs of creating an outstanding product without sacrificing the bottom line results. No project is too small or too big for us as we enjoy collaborating with talented individuals to deliver bespoke design solutions for our clients.

How can people connect with you?
Over a cup of coffee at Breakfast Thieves!
You can also reach out to us at [email protected] or visit us at www.tasquare.com or our instagram @t_a_square

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

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