Muriel Boutin-Becuwe, was an entrepreneur I met a few months after I arrived in Singapore in October, 2016, you can listen to our conversation in episode EIA 032 where she discussed her start-up, which was focused on environmental sustainability and social impact.
Recently Muriel has become involved with a not-for-profit organisation The Young Professionals’ Group (YPG). In this episode Muriel will describe what YPG offers young people. You will also hear from six participants just starting out on the YPG mentorship programme. So now without further delay let’s begin.
Craig DeLarge is a digital healthcare executive in the Pharma Industry. In a career that spans over thirty years. His focus has developed into challenging leadership roles that have advanced digital health outcomes globally. From his base in the USA specific projects included digital mental health, digital healthcare strategy development education & advisory and change leadership strategy consulting & coaching. He knows what it takes to make an organisation change when it faces a crises.
“It’s Just that in my experience what I found generally people will agree with you about an opportunity but they will act on a crisis.”
Three years ago he moved to Singapore to support clients & stakeholders navigate the emerging digital healthcare ecosystem and develop the capacity to lead in ambiguous change scenarios. He describes himself as an intrepreneur.
This is our first meeting. Our conversation takes place just a few days before his return to the USA, in his bare bones apartment. A reflection on move which is about to see him start a Master of Public Health in Global Mental Health, a family reunion, and the next phase of Craigs passion project and the change from Intrepreneur to Entrepreneur “The Digital Mental Health Project”.
“…the point in life where your most susceptible to becoming mentally unwell, between about 18 and 25, I hope the university that he goes to, has a whole suite of support systems, technologies, data algorithms, notifications to the family, and an absence of stigma.”
During our conversation Craig reveals the motivations behind his career choices and how he sees the potential benefits that digital technology can bring to the field of mental health.
As well as:
His origins as a regional hybrid from the southern United States before moving to north-east and Philadelphia.
His initial career choice and the reason for switch to the Pharma industry.
His memory of going to his VP who advised him that his career choice was going to ruin his career.
The role love and novelty in his career replaced burning out.
The nature of the digital cycle of adoption in the Pharma industry and how this led to him become a serial intrapreneur.
The last three years in Singapore working as the head of the digital accelerator for for Takeda Pharmaceutical.
Similarities and differences between the roles of intrapreneur and entrepreneur.
The forces working against the intrapreneur in an organisation and the reasons.
Well know failures that did not capitalise on their own R&D innovations.
The point when an organisation recognises a crises, before during and after.
The thing that makes an organisation successful is also the thing that can make it fail.
Solutions that reduce the possibility of organisations from failing.
So why don’t most companies do that. The 3M model is well known. I know about it.
Why organisations conserve of energy. and the connection to complacency and then crises
Employees that see a crisis coming and what should you do.
The Fortune 500 today is not the same as a decade ago.
How the switch to a career based on love of being a designer.began with an MBA at University of Westminister to connect the intrapreneur, and innovator within to design management.
How “nudge” is helping healthcare is get human beings to take better care of their health.
The sabbatical that led to linking being an entrepreneur in the pharma industry to his mental health advocacy for the creation of the Digital Mental Health Project.
Future benefits that digital technology will bring to improve mental health.
How in the future mobile digital devices can move from damaging mental health to improving it.
The move from intrapreneur to entrepreneur, the nervousness, the advantages and disadvantages of each
The loneliness of being an entrepreneur and advice on how to maintain mental health
How Silicon Valley is recognising the negative mental toll that the pressure, and the loneliness and the drivenness of tech entrepreneurship is having on its workers.
The symptoms to look out for with your own mental health and what mistaken beliefs exist when the psyche breaks and the stigma surrounding it.
Strategies on improving and protecting mental health
How to overcome the stigma surrounding mental health issues and
Craigs hope for the support, in the future, that will be available at university and for 18 and 25 year olds, which is the point in life.
When to start taking care of your mental health and who to start with and the challenge.
The importance to remember, the advantages we have today in society are because somebody in the past stepped out of line and began to challenge the status quo and how we can create the same for someone in the future.
Finally he tells us about his family and the number one motivation for leaving Singapore and how it fits into the plan.
Chris Morris is a Relationship manager & Entrepreneur his previous career roles have been with NHS Trusts and Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs in the UK. This was before setting up a new life in Singapore where he initially supported his wife’s career before finding a role in Change Management and then as an independent consultant. Now, he splits his time between being a Regional Relationship manager and his real passion as an Entrepreneur with his restaurant the Lime House in the heart of Singapore.
“I took on the lease for Lime House I didn’t have a chef. So I actually took on the lease, because a lot of people think I am a restaurateur and I am not. I don’t cook at all. My wife is a very good cook not me. But I like to entertain and so I see myself very much as a founder anyway, so I took the lease on and I thought oh shit you know we’ve got to find a, we need to find a chef from somewhere. So actually got a plane flew to London, on the way to London I googled top Caribbean chefs in the UK. I landed I interviewed three of them, two of them thought I was just crazy Caribbean guy from Singapore and didn’t want to engage.”
During our conversation Chris reveals the motivations behind his founding of the Lime House, difficulties, career changes, family and his positive purposeful attitude he creates for the future.
As well as:
The only Caribbean establishment in Singapore
Arrived in Singapore as a trailing spouse in 2008
Background as Management consultant
Start of the job business transformation practice as a consultant for five years
The reason for the row
Then became a entrepreneur
Passion of the Caribbean led to him creating a Caribbean footprint in Singapore f or his children and the Caribbean diaspora
The opportunity for a positive Caribbean experience in Singapore
Its all about the food and ambience
The size of the ground floor restaurant, second floor bar and third floor event space.
The Trinidadian and Tobago meaning for the word “Lime” and its origins
A history and cultural lesson of rum and the largest rum collection in Singapore at 168
The journey of growing up in the Caribbean, moving to London and then to Singapore, Corporate to Cultural Entrepreneur
Specialism from IT to change programs in organisational culture in government agencies.
However mentor and locked his passion to mix food culture.
Overcoming opening a restaurant with no cooking skills.
The top Caribbean restaurant chef in London solving the cooking issue for a crazy Caribbean Guy
Using passion, belief and culture to achieve success
The years of pain to produce success
The dark lonely moments of being an entrepreneur and the don’t do it message from the naysayers,
Singaporean success Fridays and Saturdays full
Singaporeans creating authentic Caribbean food
Localised in the food.
The connection between the food in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia
The competitiveness of the Singaporean restaurant market, fine dining the failure then the chance meeting
Creating a grab and go experience in Singapore that failed and then moving it halfway around the world to London using the lessons learned in Singapore
Three minutes to walk out with a meal learned in Singapore.
A new fusion food experience.
The entrepreneurs need for the support of family but it helps when they eat the food
Creativity is in the family fashion design father, set designer sister, artist brother and the link to Central St. Martins
Chris’ excitement of changing perceptions of the Caribbean diaspora
The most difficult task for the entrepreneur is always dealing with failure
The painful road of luck
When did you realise you have to close
How an entrepreneur knows when to stop
Being comfortable talking about failure and playing it safe and the role exposure plays to opportunity, capital and expertise through mentors
Caribbean business groups in the UK and the importance of mentorship both Singapore and London.
Wilson Chew is a User Experience designer with a varied background that revolves around the power of the story. He is also a Co-Founder and Content Strategist of REASSEMBLE, a start-up, which came into existence in March 2018. In previous roles Wilson has worked as a digital marketer and charity fundraising coordinator, Where he made use of stories to influence and change behaviours of the target audience.
Now he approaches stories from a different angle when helping entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop their user application interfaces. He believes every user has a story, built from their needs, frustrations, behaviours and ways of thinking. His job is to create digital designs that cater to users’ stories and resonate with them.
“I think that when people hear that we’re a user experience design agency They think we’re just there to, again we’re just there to make things look really nice. Which we can do, but then we tell them that we’re not hear to make things look nice…”
During our conversation Wilson reveals the fundamentals of User Experience Design, its purpose and the benefits it brings when carried out correctly.
So now without further delay
As well as:
Explaining the role a user experience designer plays is the development of a product
The architects of the computer interface
From nice to
The role Don Norman plays in the UX design world
The movie app as a case study, film and snacks
The role that “User Needs” play in the design
Don Norman and the door knob, link to the digital and physical world and the Hawaiian missile alert
Where UX Design is managed well and considered normal and where knowledge and enthusiasm fail due to the drive to make things pretty and nice.
The difficulties to be overcome to get UX Design to be accepted by entrepreneurs.
The percentage of work that can be saved by coders
The difference is rising costs to errors in the design, coding and post launch phases
How to reduce 75% disappointment for app purchasers
Should you release a minimum viable product and the pushback it is receiving?
Degree in international relations to Digital marketing in London to an Anti-slavery charity then back to singapore with a Children’s Charity.
From marketing to user research and finally UX Design
Is coding ability necessary and is it an advantage or disadvantage in UX design
The biggest challenge in UX design and persuasion
The research that goes into the construction of the wire frame.
The role that Contextual Enquire, User Interviews, Usability Testing play
Off the peg apps and solutions leading to how do we know that it is good
The benefits of Quantitive data and UX Design which is looking at the Why.
How to UX design can help reduce the bounce rate for peg apps and Template Shops such as Shopify
Christie Fernandez is an Entrepreneur on a mission to create a positive impact in clean transportation & energy in the emerging markets of the ASEAN region, Indian subcontinent, Africa & South America. Christie is the Founder ofSooorya EV, which is headquartered in Singapore and is focused on providing affordable, comfortable & eco-friendly transportation. What’s unique is that Sooorya is redefining how automobiles are designed, manufactured and sold, with a strong focus on sustainability, profitability and societal impact.
At first Christie tried this with his idea.
“It’s kind of stuck with me. I tried giving it away but it didn’t happen”
During our conversation, Christie reveals his motivations behind the idea of creating his startup, his vision of how it can help farmers in rural communities by harvesting solar energy, and how he tried to give it away.
As well as:
The goal of last mile connectivity
Affordable, comfortable and eco friendly transportation
The regions of the world where this technology is needed.
How the countryside can produce a sustainable source of electrical energy using swappable batteries
Energy production as a handicraft opportunity for farmers to earn additional income.
The contrast with the big automobile manufactures that focus on speed, range and fast charging and the need in rural communities for low cost affordable transportation
The business model mix of large and small.
The uniqueness of his idea and what is required for the cost to come down.
Incorporating the IKEA business model
Frugal Engineering and how the
Incorporating the Apple manufacturing business model and transferring ideas from the mobile phone industry
Changing the car industry
Moving around the Asian Region and the reason for choosing Singapore a a base for operation and HQ
Legal protection and holding on to your IP.
personal impression of Singapore
The timetable to production of an affordable car launch and location
His background in IT, Marketing and the factors that encouraged the switch to the auto industry
The influence conversations with colleagues from the farming communities of India and he can help to expand the take-up of electric cars and his vision of the future.
His reluctance to be seen as the Elon Musk of the affordable electric car
Gary Guwe is one of the cofounders of the Business Development Society of Singapore. In the previous podcast, EIA 037, I had conversations his fellow cofounder Gunes Altungunes, and a couple of attendees. At the time Gary Guwe was out of the country and Gunes suggested that I return at a later event and speak with Gary.
However, in this cast Gary and I don’t actually converse but we have a brief Fly-on-wall experience of the event organised by Gary and Gunes and titled Connections Over Coffee – Monthly Casual Networking, which is held on the 3rd Wednesday of every month .
Gary plays a key role by running the event in a relaxed manner, encourages entrepreneurs to give a two minute introduction of themselves and the company they represent and gives his own advice.
After Gary opens we move on to Joshua Chua (an experienced Sales Excellence Coach), Hussain Sayeed (In the third week of his startup), Arthi Ramakrishnan, (a recent arrival to Singapore from India) and finally, he ropes me in unexpectedly to present myself and the fact that I’m volunteering my services by recording the event.
The Chinese New Year celebration
The mission of BDS and its role in building business relationships.
The BDS origins in 2015 and its current number of members
The reasons behind the sharing sessions and the link to Free Publicity
How Gary Guwe turned himself from an introverted and shy business person to a headhunted target and the co-founder of the BDS.
What’s on offer from the BDS to SME’s
His promise for your jump in sales
The free 90 minute consultation with tweaks
Back to Gary and advice for speakers to share their origin stories
His origin story with BT and HP
Reasons for attending the BDS meetup
The promise of a safe pair of technology hands in his third week as an entrepreneur
Cisco, the Cloud are not always the answer for SMEs
Back to Gary and more advice
An Indian Corporate Solution provider
Skills Development in Information Technology, Telecommunication and Soft-Skills
The company origin story
Arthi’s time in Singapore
Back to Gary and more advice
Neville J. McKenzie
The importance of getting your message across
How can AsiaBizStories help you
Self help advice with public speaking with everyone has one of these
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.
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.
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.
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.