Category Archives: Entrepreneurs in Action

EIA 037 Entrepreneur Events: The Organiser, The Experienced and The Newbie

Gunes Altungunes, Chris Dawson and Norrapat Shih
Güneş AltunGüneş, Chris Dawson and Norrapat Shih (L-R top to bottom)

 Güneş AltunGüneş, Chris Dawson and Norrapat Shih are three attendees that attended a recent event in Singapore. Güneş AltunGüneş is a Director of Marketing, Chris Dawson is a Director of Business Development and Norrapat Shih is a Research Fellow at National University of Singapore. The event was organised by the Business Development Society of Singapore.

The first conversation is with Güneş AltunGüneş, who is a cofounder and organising member of the Business Development Society of Singapore reveals about herself and some of the background and motivations behind the Business Development Society organising an event called OTOT.

“So whatever comes in its goes back to the marketing, operations and so it’s like a circle we’re trying to build like a self-sustaining community.”

In the second conversation Chris Dawson reveals something typical of many entrepreneurs that they work with multiple organisation. In his case Bam, who he represented at the event and Nimbus Design Consultants, a company he works with run by wife.

“She’s the brains, she’s the designer, she knows where she wants the company to go.”

Third and final conversation Norrapat Shih reveals his background as a research scientist at the National University of Singapore and the route he is taking to become an entrepreneur in the field of medical science

“So basically a lot of people in my lab we catch snakes different venomous animals, ticks leeches”

This entrepreneur event like many is attended by individuals with varied backgrounds and experiences. So now without further delay let’s begin.

As well as:


  • Why the business development society call the events OTOT.
  • Other entrepreneur events such as connections of coffee, COC.
  • Reasons for choosing Singapore.
  • Organisation structure of the business development society.
  • Profit or non-profit organisation.
  • The reason for creating the business development society.
  • Why the founder whose idea what’s to create the business development society, isn’t present.


  • The reason why Chris left his native USA for Singapore.
  • His role in the company and the service it provides.
  • Reasons for attending the event.
  • His office location in a co-working space.
  • Platforms and different types of events organisers


  • Commercial drug research from venomous animals in Singapore.
  • Moving from research to a start-up in the pharmaceutical Industry.
  • How his research could help heart-attack patients going through percutaneous coronary intervention.
  • The cost of creating a new pharmaceutical drug.
  • Venture capitalists fears.
  • Patent ownerships and licenses
  • The hope of grants from the Singapore government to create a start up.
  • Taking your specialist knowledge and finding app and software developers
  • The road from Thailand, Canada, a failed start-up and finally to Singapore.
  • The attitude of scientists to research and commercial Products.
  • How to teach yourself Chinese.

Podcast Updated 2018 01 26


Güneş AltunGüneş on Linkedin

Chris Dawson on Linkedin

Norrapat Shih on Linkedin

Business Development Society Website

Bam Website

Nimbus Website


EIA 036 Supplier and Client Fighting for the Seller Part II

FocusDigit Team
FocusDigit Team

Shubham Barat, Anushka Singh, Anchal Gupta and Vipul Srivastava are four of the staff members that work with Abhinav Sharma the CEO and Tanisha Chawla the COO, of the startup FocusDigit. An eCommerce platform that provides sellers with end-to-end solution to reach their customers online across multiple channels. In the previous podcast “Supplier and Client Fighting for the Seller” (EIA 035) Abhinav and Tanisha discussed FocusDigit and if you haven’t listed we suggest you do. All six live and work in Dehli, India and represent the growing number of entrepreneurs that are building companies successfully out of India to challenge on the world stage.

During the first part of this podcast we get insights from Shubham, Anoshka, Anchal and Vipul four members of the execution team. In the second part we continue where we left off in EIA 035 with Abhinav and Tanisha revealing more of what is driving their success. Following on from Tannish’s the revelation that Abhinav’s kept and from who in the first 6 months, in EIA 035, Abhinav reveals Tanisha’s secret passion, which she is finding difficult to indulge in due to her commitment to the startup.

“Adding to her persona she plays…”

The dynamic and humorous relationship between Abhinav and Tanisha is still apparent.

As well as:

  • Shubham Barat, Anushka Singh, Anchal Gupta and Vipul Srivastava describe their roles and some of the task required in FocusDigit.
  • What employees look for in a company
  • Abhinav reveals another source of income.
  • International and local coworking spaces in Delhi.
  • Abhinav and Tanisha reveal weaknesses and what they do or plan to do about them.
  • Employee expectations from management
  • The competition, execution and the business environment and Blue Ocean.
  • FocusDigit’s approach to meetings with customers.
  • Advice to those following in the Startup arena.


 Focus Digit Logo Website

Abhinav Sharma on Linkedin

Tanisha Chawla  on Linkedin

EIA 035 Supplier and Client Fighting for the Seller

Abhinav Sharma & Tanisha Chawla


Abhinav Sharma is the CEO and Tanisha Chawla is the COO, entrepreneurs of the startup FocusDigit. An eCommerce platform that provides sellers with end-to-end solution to reach their customers online across multiple channels. Abhinav and Tanisha live and work in Delhi, India and represent the growing number of entrepreneurs that are building companies successfully out of India to challenge on the world stage.

During the conversation Abhinav and Tanisha reveal what makes them a successful team, based on their knowledge and experience with a touch of humour. Tannish also reveals the secret that Abhinav’s kept and to who in the first 6 months of the company,

“Six months later he actually broke the news to her.”

In the podcast Abhinav reveals Tanisha’s secret passion, which she is finding difficult to indulge in due to her commitment to the startup. Abhinav and Tanisha also kindly allowed me to talk briefly to other members of the company, which is why the podcast is over two episodes (EIA 035 and EIA 036).

As well as:

  • Abhinav Describes his entrepreneurial journey that started when he was still a student to earn money.
  • His early failure because of his lack of maturity.
  • The start of his passion for retail industry.
  • Tanisha’s conventional educational path before breaking away and turning a hobby into a business and realising it was not what she wanted to do.
  • Her father’s entrepreneurial influence and working in the family business.
  • How supplier and client came together to help build the business.
  • What occurs on the bad days.
  • The source of the difficulties they face.
  • Spending zero on marketing and still grow the business.
  • Being operationally profitable in a year and a half.
  • Starting in a basement.
  • Where to recruit and what to look for and the key qualities in a startup employee.
  • An Indian’s approach to working internationally with colleagues.
  • The problems faced and working to the rules of my company.
  • The support of family, single mother’s influence, secrets, and an entrepreneur as a father role model.
  • The madness of being an entrepreneur and the shift from the old rat-race to the new.
  • As we are in India we have a cricket anecdote to discuss failure along with a Hindi saying for the road to profitability.
  • The entrepreneurial game of short-term gain vs sustainable long-term business.


Focus Digit Logo Website

Abhinav Sharma on Linkedin

Tanisha Chawla  on Linkedin

EIA 034 Experience and Opportunity Creates the Training Solution

JC Sekar
JC Sekar

JC Sekar is a cofounder of the startup AcuiZen. A startup that is looking at simplifying training and empower a dynamic and dispersed workforce. JC as he is know has after a career that spans 3 decades in the corporate world decided to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur. This is based on the belief that a career interacting and working closely with customers across different sectors and geographies has enabled him develop the skills to uncover unstated pain points. To then create and conceptualise solutions and produce new service offerings.

During the conversation JC revels his thoughts and experiences as one member of a team of cofounders in a thoughtful and controlled manner. Find out in this episode some of what it takes to make the jump after thirty years from the corporate world to entrepreneur.

“I keep telling people that this is probably a startup which somebody out of college would not have come up with because it’s really a distillation of my experiences together with that of my cofounders”

“my company believed that it was pointless to go and waste your effort with so many small companies”.

As well as:

  • A career that spans several continents, industries, public and private sectors.
  • Gaining experience through changing rolls within a company and between companies
  • The conversation with a senior parliamentary secretary at the World Safety Congress in Germany that was the genesis for the startup
  • The different decisions that small and medium local businesses compared to large multinational businesses have to make when deciding who to serve.
  • Singapore’s businesses need to look to the world for their market after starting with the home market.
  • The relationship between protection, comfort; the talent from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and going international.
  • Where the opportunity lies for his startup with “Point of Need Learning”.
  • The cofounder structure and how developers are selected
  • Deciding the focus now is Singapore but what about India, the Middle East, China the USA and Europe?
  • Dealing with the cultural diversity of Singapore.
  • The weekend sacrifice his family has made.
  • The advantages of becoming an entrepreneur when he did.
  • Making money and when to look for outside money.
  • The process of the startup refining the product.



AcuiZen website

JC Sekar on Linkedin

EIA 033 We Launch in Three Hours!!!

Adeesh Agarwal

Adeesh Agarwal, is the founder of the startup dKreator, a furniture marketplace personalised to a buyers preferences. It applies data science to connect buyers ‘likes’ to a sellers products. Its aim is to get buyers to collaborate, discover products and social proofs, manage their budget and buy the product using its online platform. Adeesh has diverse experience in many roles and by following his path you can see how the dots connect architecture, real estate and healthcare, which lead to him becoming a consultant and then a Business Development Advisor, the final stepping stone into the perilous world of his own startup.

During the conversation Adeesh revels quite unexpectedly that things are not going to plan as a major disaster is taking place. His manner shows that the experience he has gained allows him to take it in his stride as he looks into the future to find solutions with a positive frame of mind. Find out in this episode how when bad things happen you should behave.

“All of that to get to where we were three hours prior to launch. To give it all away just because one person is off the grid. Doesn’t make sense to me. And honestly, I don’t have a Plan B.”

As well as:

  • The links between Architecture, Real estate, medical devices and finance come together to make and entrepreneur.
  • Looking back with fond memories at the secure company job with Medtronic.
  • The founder is full-time and everyone else is part-time.
  • Disaster strikes when you least expect.
  • Ask yourself, how would you handle the situation?
  • Challenges and building things makes you look past the temporary disaster with a positive look to the future.
  • Family support and where it leads
  • Insights into an online startup: how to measure success, knowing what you want to achieve and how to test the market.
  • Finally a mention that bigger startups have fallen.


dKreator website

Adeesh Agarwal on Linkedin

EIA 032 The Challenge: the Entrepreneur Who Makes the Hotel Industry’s Environmental Sustainability Real

Muriel Boutin-Becuwe

Muriel Boutin-Becuwe, is a Co-founder of PAPAYAPATHS and Originator of the H3Rs Giveaways Program, a business focused on environmental sustainability and social impact. Muriel previously worked for Schlumberger in North and South America, Europe and Asia, learning a great deal in her various roles. Now an entrepreneur based in Singapore we spoke together a few weeks before the official launch of the PAPAYAPATHS web platform. During the conversation Muriel reveals part of her journey and what it takes to bring her vision to reality covering many aspects of the entrepreneurial journey, and to bring the vision into reality of enabling the Hotel industry meet the growing demand for sustainability by facilitating access to best in class pre-validated green solutions that can demonstrate positive returns to all stakeholders.

In this conversation Muriel reveals the determination and some of what has been overcome to make her vision a reality.

Muriel talks about the decisions she made to leave her native France for the US, being employed by a major MNC. How the dream to challenge herself to create a Business focused on environmental sustainability and social impact grew to the point in her life when she made it happen.

“If you work alone you’re doomed. You have to surround yourself. So surround yourself with the right people. Filter out the toxic people. Be patient and have faith, don’t give up.”

As well as

  • Graduating then looking forward and choosing to leave for the USA to be employed by Schlumberger
  • The mayhem of divorce, moving, death in the family and leaving your job for a startup occur at the same time
  • Beginning the dream with a cofounder with the same ideals
  • Carrying on when her cofounder had to step down
  • Making the decision to sell up, move house in order to save the business
  • How to include children in the important decisions that need to be made and spending time with them.
  • What the Angle that believes in you is willing to do to help you establish the business dream
  • What she learned from applying for government grants in Singapore compared to other countries
  • The role of interns partners and sweat equity
  • How to select and reject Hotels, NGOs and Do Good Organisations to join the H3R platform
  • Controlled grow and a hint of the future objectives
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people and removing toxic people from your life
  • What was learned working in the different cultural environments of North, South America, France and Asia and getting results
  • Who, where and how to spend time with do deal with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship
  • Reveal a possible cure for insomnia
  • Who and where inspiration comes and the result of coaching
  • How to get over screw-ups and the difference between a community and a network
  • Wishing and knowing that the clock can’t be wound back and what to do about wasted time in the future
  • Setting goals and measuring progress
  • Advice if anyone is thinking of creating a startup business




EIA 031 WordPress to Improve Business; Basic Website Security

Mark Linkedin
Mark Kay

Mark Kay is the CEO and Founder of MJ Creative Ventures; a company that specialises in providing mobile friendly, SEO optimised websites for Small Business owners and non-profits.

This is a follow on from the previous podcasts where we discuss how small business owners can develop their websites in order to improve their business. In this episode Mark takes a look at the making a website mobile friendly and helps us to understand better some of key features and terms that newbies should be aware of.

  • The basic security issues that a business should be aware of
  • How a business owner can protect and reduce the chance of an attack
  • Preparation for the attack so what preparation should an
  • What to do after the attack
  • A recent case of an attack and what happened
  • How an attack slows down a website
  • Are there any other examples of that you can give us
  • How latest software and plugin versions affect an attack
  • Once someone has got in what to do?

EIA 030 Design Passion Leads to Creative Business

Amy Picanco Episode 030
Amy Picanço

Amy Picanço, Is the Managing Director and Founder of Aym Designs. An interior design startup based in Singapore. At heart Amy is a creative but is just as passionate about the business aspects of running a startup. This insightful and balanced approach is the key to why Aym Designs is making steady consistent progress in the Interior Design Industry and after only three years has already started expanding into other Asian markets.

“If you are going to start your own business you have to realise that you are starting a business, and no matter what I think the business that you are in, and no matter what industry you still have all those BUSINESS things that you as the founder need to be able to do.”

During the conversation Amy describes being a Managing director and founder and touches on the following:

  • The lead up, suitability and key moments to becoming an Interior Designer
  • How old buildings and Battersea Power Station triggered her interest
  • The cultural diversity of Singapore presenting opportunities
  • The service and how it is provided to commercial clients that enhances productivity, reflects brand identity
  • Finding the ideal client is
  • Incorporating Singapore’s Paranakan Heritage into her favourite project and overcoming the challenges
  • The process of interior design, and doing the extra to help the client
  • The limitations and benefits of open plan vs. the cubicle space
  • The four elements required for a co-working space
  • Creative benefits of working in Singapore vs. the UK
  • The least and most enjoyable aspect of being an Interiors Designer
  • Aym Designs own office environment and it’s affect on people
  • Advice for an entrepreneur moving from home to the first office
  • Clients and their relationship to the business location
  • How to tell the customer that it’s not going to work and how to make it easy to do
  • The future direction of the company and steps to going international and being realistic with your dreams,
  • The key ingredients to running an Interior Design business and the approach taken as a founder and General Manager and the enjoyment being an entrepreneur can give
  • Finally the importance of the team and placing trust in its members and partners

EIA 029 WordPress to Improve Business; The Mobile Friendly Website

Mark Linkedin
Mark Kay

Mark Kay is the CEO and Founder of MJ Creative Ventures; a company that specialises in providing mobile friendly, SEO optimised websites for Small Business owners and non-profits.

This is a follow on from the previous podcasts where we discuss how small business owners can develop their websites in order to improve their business. In this episode Mark takes a look at the making a website mobile friendly and helps us to understand better some of key features and terms that newbies should be aware of.

  • What is a mobile friendly website
  • Does my website need to be mobile friendly
  • What are the advantages apart from the look of your website
  • Your current website and what is needed to make it mobile friendly
  • Making an old website mobile friendly using current content
  • Optimising content for a mobile friendly website
  • Popups are annoying even on a desktop
  • The hamburger or three horizontal lines stripes
  • The effect of social media and share buttons
  • The differences for mobile friendly SEO
  • Business advantages of having a mobile friendly website


google mobile friendly test

EIA 028 Pastor Trained Music Teacher Trying F&B

Daryl Saw

Daryl Saw is the CEO of the Stewords Riverboat a food and beverage facility that caters for 100 diners as well as having a bar for 150, which is located at the Marina South Pier in Singapore.


“A large portion of the young people want to start their own cafes… but they are not aware of the sustainability and the amount of hours of hard work that goes into it.”

During the conversation he touches on the following:

  • His introduction to F&B without having a formal education
  • Surprising legal requirements for boats and cooking in Singapore
  • His own personal touch for building his network
  • Social networks, Instagram vs Facebook
  • Wine tasting qualifications, corporate, birthday and running events and eating as much as you can
  • The limit reached as a young F&B CEO and the work and the sacrifice required
  • Look ahead into the future for business
  • His understanding of the pros and cons of the restaurants location and its special features
  • The gamble his father took when the family bought the business
  • Knowing his limit and a warning to others that wish to follow him