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
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
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,
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.
Chief Executive Officer
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Chief Executive Officer
One of the earliest games I
remember playing as a child
was masak-masak or ‘cooking’.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
WOMEN ON TOP DATO’ WENDDIANNE CHONG
Adores her five dogs.
Confesses she can’t live without her Blackberry
Supports women who dare to be at the forefront of
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.
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”
WOMEN ON TOP DATO’ WENDDIANNE 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
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.
WOMEN ON TOP MAZNIDA MOKHTAR
5 THINGS ABOUT
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,
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
“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”
WOMEN ON TOP
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.
WOMEN ON TOP HAJJAH AINON
5 THINGS ABOUT
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
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
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”.
“In business, look beyond the
box and circle”
WOMEN ON TOP EVELYN SAMUEL
5 THINGS ABOUT
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.
“If I deliver the value, the proﬁts will come”
WOMEN ON TOP SHAHNAS OLI
5 THINGS ABOUT
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.
“The opportunity to dream and the
continuous striving to make dreams a reality –
that’s what I love the most about my job”
WOMEN ON TOP JACQUELINE ANN SURIN
5 THINGS ABOUT
JACQUELINE ANN SURIN
When asked to describe herself in one word, she
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
Regards the washing machine as the technological
invention that has had the greatest impact on the
lives of women.
“Always leave people
in a better state”
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
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”.
“When you are successful,
every day is Hari Raya”.