TeAM Women Book snapshot


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TeAM Women Book snapshot

  1. 1. WOMEN ON TOP The Stories of 15 Women Who Blazed the Trail of Technopreneurship
  2. 2. Foreword by MDeC CEO Datuk Badlisham Ghazali A Note From Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad A Note from Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd A Note from TeAM President Koh Lee Ching Editor’s Note I III V VIII XII contents Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Koh Lee Ching Dato’ Wenddi-Anne Chong Maznida Mokhtar Rani Wemel Fu Ching Yee Renuka Sena Hajjah Ainon Maggie Tham Evelyn Samuel Shahnas Oli Heng Ling Jy Jacqueline Ann Surin Hayati Taib Chong Sheau Ching Nurshafieda Abdul Khalil 1 11 21 31 41 51 61 71 79 89 99 109 119 129 139 Published by TeAM Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) Unit 204 Plug & Play Technology Garden C/O Kumpulan Modal Perdana Sdn Bhd Level 7 The Gardens South Tower Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Design and Layout by LOKIMEDIA SDN BHD COPYRIGHT © Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) 2010 First Edition October 2010 Edited by Bernice Low ISBN 978-967-10122-0-8 All Rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission from the publisher. Printed by First Enterprise 16, Jalan Tuanku 4, Salak South Garden 57100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  3. 3. MDeC and TeAM have a long history of cooperation, given our common interest in providing support, assistance and encouragement to technopreneurs, as well as fostering technopreneurship in Malaysia. TeAM’s endeavours when it comes to encouraging FOREWORD BY MDeC CEO DATUK BADLISHAM GHAZALI Malaysians to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship have always been inspirational and original but more importantly, distinctively complimentary to MDeC’s own efforts to grow technopreneurship and the field of ICT in Malaysia. Our support of TeAM’s efforts to inspire ordinary Malaysians through success stories to embrace technopreneurship began with the Go For Broke series, and we are pleased to continue this tradition with Woman on Top, which seeks to inspire and encourage women to boldly stride into a field that to some, is seen to be dominated by men. One of the great advantages afforded by technology is that it is gender-neutral. From writing software and manipulating bio-organisms to creating content and finding ways in which to make life easier and better through technology, neither gender can claim a unique advantage. In the field of technology, advantage comes not from size, or strength, or physical abilities, but from the mind and the power of an idea taken to its limits. Malaysian women are already recognised as important contributors to the country’s economic and social development. With technology, Malaysian women will play an increasingly important role in the national development of the country, allowing greater participation in the economy. The future of Malaysia is already partly in the hands of women and I hope that this book will help inspire some of them to believe in the power of their ideas, and to dream the technopreneur dream. Chairman Mao once said, ‘Women hold up half the sky’. In the foreseeable future in Malaysia, it is my sincere hope that we will see more women technopreneurs at the helm of MSC Malaysia Status Companies playing a greater role in shaping Malaysia’s ICT industry, and together with their male brethren, propel Malaysia and her economy towards the goal of a high-income, high value society. Datuk Badlisham Ghazali Chief Executive Officer I II
  4. 4. Iwishtocongratulateandcommend Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) for their initiative in coming up with Women on Top, a book that will be a source of encouragement and motivation for technopreneurs both male and female in Malaysia. Malaysian Venture Capital Management A NOTE FROM MALAYSIA VENTURE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT BERHAD Bhd. (MAVCAP) is particularly delighted with this effort on the part of TeAM as MAVCAP has been mandated by the Government to assist technopreneurs in their growth and success. The narratives by various authors in this book are real life stories that I have no doubt will serve as valuable lessons and references for all technopreneurs. MAVCAP, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated, was established expressly to develop the venture capital (VC) industry in Malaysia. Our mission is to lead in VC investments and to act as a catalyst in the development of the venture capital industry. We offer entrepreneurs not only financial assistance but also technical expertise in developing business plans and strategies, III corporate governance and extensive network access. Working in close partnership with technopreneurs, we are committed to empower them to create wealth and generating superior investment returns. Towards this end, since its inception in the year 2001 MAVCAP has been operating with a fund of about RM970 million and have invested in 117 companies of which 12 are listed on various stock exchanges worldwide. I would like to assure TeAM that they can always seek the support of MAVCAP when such is needed in the domain of our operations and in line with MAVCAP’s objectives. We see an opportunity in working with TeAM in assisting small or budding ICT companies for whom it is often a challenge to compete for market presence given their limited resources and capital. Over time, it has become increasingly evident that these entrepreneurs would require support in order to give their innovative ideas and sound business plans a chance at success. Once again congratulations to TeAM for this excellent book which should enjoy a very good readership. Husni Salleh Chief Executive Officer IV
  5. 5. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) on the successful publication of Women on Top, an inspiring book that has a highly informed pulse on the challenges of our women technopreneurs, allowing us a look into the true value of A NOTE FROM CRADLE FUND SDN BHD their achievements. It truly inspires me to salute them for their numerous milestones on their individual technopreneurship journeys. It is my sincere belief that the stories shared by the 15 women in this book will serve as important inspiration points and guiding lights to current and budding technopreneurs, in their search for success. Regardless of the additional demands on time, energy and resources, these women show that the path to success requires technopreneurs to be determined, persistent and unwilling to allow themselves to be defeated by adversity. V Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle), an agency under the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia, is once again proud to be a strong supporter of TeAM’s efforts within the industry and to co- sponsor the first edition of this illuminating book for we recognise the importance of emerging women technopreneurs in creating a vibrant and dynamic economy for the nation. As is well known, Cradle manages the Cradle Investment Programme (CIP), which is Malaysia’s first development and commercialisation funding programme intended to seed innovative technology ideas into businesses and to spur technology commercialisation, both within the public and private sectors. Funding alone however, is never enough. We understand the complexity of the roles that technopreneurs have, and that is why Cradle also offers an ecosystem of commercialisation support ranging from mentorship, strategic partnerships, training and competency building, networking, VC-pitching and opportunities for media publicity support – to help kick-start the budding ideas of technopreneurs, to commercialisation and further growth. Similarly, mistakes can be extremely costly for budding technopreneurs. Our role in Cradle therefore is to ensure that these technopreneurs start on the right footing, with proper planning, funding and support. VI
  6. 6. Hence, a partnership with Cradle does not just begin and end with the funding provided – it is a lasting membership of the Cradle business-building ecosystem for technopreneurs, which has been built to ensure that more CIP-funded technopreneurs will succeed. It is the business-building environment that makes up half the stimulus for growth and success – and Cradle is there to provide it, for technopreneurs, such as in the case of Chong Sheau Shing, who was one of Cradle’s early recipients. Cradle is honoured to play a part in the success stories of such women, and in fortifying the future of our nation. Once again, congratulations to TeAM on the launching of Women on Top. It is a significant landmark – one that will be the catalyst to growing the number of successful women technopreneurs in Malaysia. Nazrin Hassan Chief Executive Officer One of the earliest games I remember playing as a child was masak-masak or ‘cooking’. Masak-masakinvolvespretending to cook - all the rituals of the cooking process, from going to the market and shopping for the A NOTE FROM TeAM PRESIDENT KOH LEE CHING ingredients, to finally cooking them up on a stove in a wok, were part of the game. I remember making paper money to buy my ingredients, collecting leaves and flowers to barter with other players. A significant part of the game involved role-play and we took turns being the buyers of goods, and sellers of goods.  Today of course, you don’t really need to do any of this at all – Facebook’s ‘Café World’ now offers everyone a digital masak-masak experience. Looking back, I have come to realise that masak-masak, aside from being an innocent, fun game at the time, contains within it the seeds of entrepreneurial spirit and passion. I like to think that there are many women out there who segued from playing masak-masak to becoming owners of high-value businesses that utilise the power of technology to generate value, be it in the form of innovation, products or services. VII VIII
  7. 7. Indeed, a fair number of the entrepreneurs that are featured in this book express a great love and passion for cooking. Of course, they are equally matched by those who have very little interest in cooking. Thus, masak-masak may have been the inspiration to start a business for some of our female entrepreneurs but for a number of them, it may have served as a reminder to aspire to a life beyond masak-masak. Many studies have shown that entrepreneurship is just like any other potential career option. It is just like becoming a doctor, an engineer or an accountant in that it can be learnt. Technopreneurship is merely a natural extension of conventional entrepreneurship, except that it demands a technology component. The 15 technopreneurs who have generously shared their stories in this book will affirm that entrepreneurship can be learnt. And as their personal stories will show, not all of them have technical skills, yet the springboard of their businesses involves the use of technology to create a business, a service or a product to enhance, improve or create value. Starting one’s own business may not necessarily be something that is suitable for everyone. One must first have a deep interest and passion, and in a sense, the daring-do to venture forth and build something from nothing. Then there is the continuous effort of acquiring the necessary skillsets needed to become an effective and successful entrepreneur, and by extension in the technology space, technopreneur. It is not just one skill that is required: a successful technopreneur must be a leader, a strategist, a problem solver, an opportunist and wear many other hats as the business evolves through its life cycle. It is my hope that this book will serve as both an inspiration, and an educational reference for all aspiring technopreneurs, but especially women. I hope from this book that they will realise anything is possible and anyone can make it if they have set their mind and heart to it. Despite all the talk of glass ceilings and chauvinism, gender plays no role in determining the success of a venture. In reality, it is going to be about the business, the product or services, the positioning, the competition, the sales and marketing and cash flow. All of which have absolutely nothing to do with biology. As a member of the fairer sex myself and the first female TeAM President, I hope that through this book, I can make my own little contribution towards encouraging, empowering and emboldening more women to make the leap, and enter the world of technopreneurship. If the 15 women in this book are anything to go by, we aren’t just good at it, but we are much better at figuring out how to have our cake and eat it too. For those who have already started the journey, I believe this book will be a very useful opportunity to reflect back upon your own journey and recognise that you are not alone IX X
  8. 8. in the path that you have chosen. I also hope you will be motivated and inspired to reach greater heights by some of the tremendously successful women featured here, which include two owners of listed companies. To all of you out there for whom masak-masak was once a favourite pastime, perhaps it’s time to awake that dormant entrepreneurial spirit that lurks within you. It is time to come out into the real world, and cook up something real. It is time to live your dream. Take that first step, whatever it is that will move you forward, then the next and the next. And who knows - it may be you gracing the pages of the next edition of Women on Top. Koh Lee Ching President Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia Finding candidates who were willing to appear in the inaugural Women On Top book was not easy. TeAM President Koh Lee Ching, the TeAM Council and Secretariat had to put a great deal of time and effort into securing the 15 candidates whose stories are shared in this book. This was in marked contrast to the speed and eagerness in which the mostly male candidates featured in TeAM’s Go For Broke book stepped forward. This creates the illusion that there is a shortage of female technopreneurs when the reality is very different. Suitable candidates were aplenty, but candidates willing to grace the pages of the book and share their stories seemed few and far between. Why the disparity in reactions? Perhaps we women are a little more guarded, and cautious, about marketing, branding and public relations than men. Perhaps we don’t have that gung-ho ego that male entrepreneurs have, and are not interested in preening for the public. Or perhaps we simply prefer to beaver away at our businesses, focusing on being highly profitable rather than highly visible. Maybe the title ‘Go for Broke’ (which we later changed to Women on Top) was an anathema to female entrepreneurs, who as you will see from the stories here, are much more judicious about taking risks. EDITOR’S NOTE XI XII
  9. 9. Or perhaps it is simply because women entrepreneurs have had a hard time being taken seriously by proper trade publications in the past, and thus, assume that any feature about them involves being dolled-up, glammed up and answering questions about their fashion preferences, rather than their business achievements. Whatever the reason, I hope that this book will address those concerns, and motivate more women to participate in similar future endeavours. Highlighting the achievements, struggles, challenges and yes, failures, of women entrepreneurs in the technology space is an important endeavour, and serves an important aim. It is only by sharing the stories, recounting the trials and tribulations, and reflecting on the challenges of those who came before, can those who come after be inspired to reach for the stars. Bernice Low XIII
  10. 10. WOMEN ON TOP DATO’ WENDDIANNE CHONG Adores her five dogs. Confesses she can’t live without her Blackberry Storm. Supports women who dare to be at the forefront of medical technologies. Her favourite golfer is KJ Choi. Is a tireless campaigner and supporter of a large number of charities including but not limited to the Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahira Foundation, Tengku Azizah Fertility Foundation, Rumah Hope and Ipoh Children’s Home. 12 5 THINGS ABOUT DATO’ WENDDI-ANNE CHONG “Passion, passion, passion… With passion in what you do, you can overcome any challenges that come your way” DATO’ WENDDI- ANNE CHONG
  11. 11. WOMEN ON TOP DATO’ WENDDIANNE CHONG Dato’ Wenddi-Anne is a co-founder and Executive Director of TMC Life Sciences Berhad (‘TMC Group’), a healthcare services provider listed on the Main Board of the Bursa Malaysia. TMC Group’s flagship hospital, Tropicana Medical Centre, is a multi-disciplinary tertiary hospital located in Kota Damansara, Selangor, with Centres of Excellence in Heart & Vascular, Fertility, Women & Children, Diabetes & Kidney, Aesthetics & Cosmetics, Orthopaedics, ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) and Stem Cell Banking and Medical Therapies. The TMC Group also runs the Tropicana Medical Centre in Penang which specialises in Fertility, Women and Children. TMC Group’s Stem Cell Banking and Medical Therapies arm is under StemTECH International, a BioNexus-status company fully licensed under the Ministry of Health. StemTECH is dedicated to providing cord blood stem cell banking and adult stem cell banking as well as stem cells medical therapy, stem cell clinical trials and stem cell research and development. Her journey into entrepreneurship began way before TMC Life Sciences Bhd. Dato’ Wenddi-Anne had been involved in her family‘s timber business and even dabbled in running a florist shop! In 1995, she co-founded the TMC Fertility Centre, then known as Damansara Fertility Centre, fulfilling a desire to get involved in a business 14 HER JOURNEY In many respects, Dato’ Wenddi-Anne Chong has always been something of a pioneer. Her life is filled with a number of firsts: she was the first group of women DJs at a Singapore club, and during a stint in modelling, she was the first Yaohan girl for the departmental store. She was also the first female drum majorette of Singapore’s biggest band – the renowned Tanjung Katong Band. So it’s not surprising that she’s amongst the pioneering management team in a number of leading and cutting- edge healthcare service providers. 13
  12. 12. WOMEN ON TOP MAZNIDA MOKHTAR 5 THINGS ABOUT MAZNIDA MOKHTAR Cites the Prophet Mohammad as the towering figure she most admires. The best advice she ever received as an entrepreneur: “Cash is King - You may have a contract or make a sale, but until you collect on the services rendered, unless you have deep pockets, you will still be stuck”. Her favourite movies are ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Gone with the Wind’, which she cites for its strong-willed heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. Has four children and is married to a cardiothoracic surgeon who also is a fabulous cook. Cites the Blackberry as the technological invention with the greatest impact on the life of women today, as it enables “more efficient management of work and home”. 22 MAZNIDA MOKHTAR: “The best part of being an entrepreneur: you have some control, some say. You don’t just sit back and wait for your boss to do something”
  13. 13. WOMEN ON TOP ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP: NATURE VS NURTURE For Maznida, whether or not a person takes a step towards entrepreneurship is a matter of exposure and experience. “ I think it helps if you are born with it, i.e. your family’s been in business as your exposure gives you “experience” that others not in the same situation will not have. However, with much actual experience gained, the skills would naturally be nurtured”. Like many entrepreneurs, she is of the view that above all, passion for entrepreneurship is what matters. Passion was what kept Maznida and her fellow co-founders committed to their business at its lowest point. And passion for entrepreneurship is what keeps her on the look out for new opportunities, like her current venture – a bakery franchise. “I’ll always be doing business. If ever I quit Skali as a full-time staff, I’ll still be doing a business!” she says with confident certainty. Maznida Mokhtar is the Chief Financial Officer and Co-Founder of Skali. When she’s not crunching numbers for Skali, she’s the proud co-owner of a bakery that produces Norwegian bread. 29
  14. 14. WOMEN ON TOP HAJJAH AINON 5 THINGS ABOUT HAJJAH AINON Her favourite inspirational song is ‘I have a dream’ by Swedish pop sensation ABBA. Has five children. Cites the wife of the Prophet Mohammad, Khatijah as a towering figure that she admires and whom she is inspired by. An avid reader, her choice of the most significant books she has read in the past year is eclectic indeed. On her list were ‘A New Earth: Create A Better Life’ by Ekhart Tolle, ‘Secrets of Chinese Business’ by Ann Wan Seng and ‘The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader’ by John C Maxwell. Picked broadband as the technological invention with the greatest impact on the lives of women:“The introduction of broadband changes a woman’s life tremendously - information is at your doorstep. It’s a library at home. Now a woman can juggle being a mother, wife and career woman from the home”. 62 HAJJAH AINON: “In business, look beyond the box and circle”
  15. 15. WOMEN ON TOP EVELYN SAMUEL 5 THINGS ABOUT EVELYN SAMUEL Her favourite part about her job - the surprises. “I never really know what to expect from the day’s experiences even within a pre-set schedule”. She listens to Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ when she’s anxious, Deep Purple when she’s angry. Has two daughters who are her best critics. Her hobbies include listening to music and culinary experimentation. Amongst her more colourful kitchen experiments: sambal belacan with redcurrants in place of limau kasturi. Cites networking guru Dr. Ivan Misner as her inspiration and Carl Sagan’s ‘Contact’ as her favourite movie. 80 EVELYN SAMUEL: “If I deliver the value, the profits will come”
  16. 16. WOMEN ON TOP SHAHNAS OLI 5 THINGS ABOUT SHAHNAS OLI She’s a former a competitive swimmer, a pianist who has completed Grade 8 examinations in the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, a blue belt taekwondo exponent, and a scuba diver who enjoys diving in the Maldive Islands. Sees herself as very much a citizen of the world: she was ‘made’ in Wales, spent part of her formative years in the United States, had her initial education in Malaysia, possesses post graduate Australian degrees, and has international working experience. Cites Khadijah Al Khubra, the wife of the beloved Prophet Muhammad as the person whom she most admires and looks upon as her inspiration. She loves Disney and “Everything Mickey Mouse. Disney has certainly achieved the purpose it was intended for – advocating happiness and having established the happiest place on earth!” Cites Stephen MR Covey’s ‘The Speed of Trust’ as the most significant business book she has read in the last year. 90 SHAHNAS OLI: “The opportunity to dream and the continuous striving to make dreams a reality – that’s what I love the most about my job”
  17. 17. WOMEN ON TOP JACQUELINE ANN SURIN 5 THINGS ABOUT JACQUELINE ANN SURIN When asked to describe herself in one word, she chose ‘Type-A’. She believes that every person in Malaysia should be identified as Malaysian. Her favourite foods are sambal udang and assam pedas. Her favourite movie is Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. Admires American historian Howard Zinn “for giving me perspective about social change and our agency as citizens”. Regards the washing machine as the technological invention that has had the greatest impact on the lives of women. 110 JACQUELINE ANN SURIN: “Always leave people in a better state”
  18. 18. WOMEN ON TOP NURSHAFIEDA ABDUL KHALID 5 THINGS ABOUT NURSHAFIEDA ABDUL KHALID Cites her inspirational figures as Tun Mahathir Mohamed, Oprah Winfrey and her mother, Che Noorma Md Taib. Comes from a family of 7 siblings. Her favourite movie is ‘The Click’ starring Adam Sandler. Her hobbies are swimming and cooking. ‘The 360 Degree Leader’ by John C Maxwell is the most significant business book she has read this year. Views e-commerce as the most significant technological development to have a positive impact on the lives of women as “it can be operated 24/7 from anywhere, at any time with the potential of recurring earnings. It allows many housewives to do business from home”. 140 NURSHAFIEDA ABDUL KHALIL: “When you are successful, every day is Hari Raya”.