Womenpreneur Asia

Krista Goon

Womenpreneur Asia is a show for women entrepreneurs in Asia to share what they know with other women who aspire to be entrepreneurs.

It's about the gritty yet inspiring stories, the little-known struggles and the much-talked about sweet success of being an Asian woman in business across Asia.

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All Episodes

This episode is all about Malaysian entrepreneur, Fiona Marcus Raja who is based in Kuching, Sarawak. She started five businesses in five years since she came back to Sarawak after being away with her family and caring for her son who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that happens to young children. She is the founder and managing director of Borneo International Exhibition Sdn Bhd, an events management business that helps other businesses organise large-scale events and expos in Borneo and beyond. She is also the managing partner of Orion Social Media (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd. This is a woman who became a mum at 21 and at one point even drove a lorry while pregnant as she had to manage events for her clients!  Fiona is tough, strong-willed, pragmatic and persistent. She learnt about crisis management and decision-making from taking care of her son and the years of being in and out of hospitals.  Due to her son's condition, Fiona also started The Royce Foundation (named after her son) as a primary source for cancer information and resources in Sarawak. She also started and founded 11Ridgeway Kuching, a community-driven event venue in Kuching designed for people to meet, greet, work and network. 11Ridgeway is also the birthplace of The Royce Foundation.   For more information, check out womenpreneurasia.com

Dec 2

1 hr 4 min

Penny Choong of Malaysia is this week's guest. She is the founder of Penny Essentials, a business that helps people enjoy being healthy. Yet years ago, she was suffering from such severe migraine attacks that she couldn’t even get out of bed!  Her story is quite unique in that she was focused on teaching financial education when she came back from the Middle East. Yet life sometimes throws us curve balls and she came to a realization that she herself needed to be well first. She couldn’t help others if she herself wasn’t feeling absolutely her best.  Thanks to solving her own migraine attacks, she has improved her health to the extent that “my health is better now in my 40s compared to my 20s”. Penny is proud of her bounce back to wellness and now endeavours to share what she knows with her customers and her community of 40,000 people.  For show notes and more, visit womenpreneurasia.com

Nov 25

1 hr 10 min

This episode is about Padmaja Vaswani from India who manages 3 businesses focusing on learning and development, organisational development in addition to diversity and inclusion.  Padmaja is the Founder & CEO of Siksha Group, which offers learning and development for companies across India. She is also the CEO of NEWS Navigation that specializes in executive coaching and organizational transformation solutions. She is also the co-founder of WeMantra which enables individuals and organizations to create a diverse and inclusive ecosystem and unleash growth.  Padmaja also established the Siksha Mehak Foundation in 2006, a trust that supports children with cancer, orphaned autistic children and children from the lower economic strata. She didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur - she was an athlete since young and she thought she had her life mapped out until a sports injury forced her to rethink what she wanted to do with her life.  For show notes and more details, visit womenpreneurasia.com

Nov 18

1 hr 7 min

This episode is about Thai entrepreneur, Chalita Hongsakul. Chalita is the Managing Director of Wakingbee Corporation based in Bangkok, Thailand.  She doesn’t call herself a fitness freak but came to start a fitness and activewear clothing brand after quitting as a management consultant. It was a desire to get healthy that put her on the entrepreneurial track. While trying to get to the gym, she realised all the available brands she looked at didn’t quite fit her need for something fun, feminine and active. That's how Wakingbee was born! In this episode: What she was more concerned about and it wasn’t failureWhat surprised her the most about approaching manufacturers for her line of activewear How she went from consultant to an entrepreneur all because she couldn’t find the right activewear for herself What she does to keep her brand fresh and exciting even after 6 years in the Thai market What she found most intriguing when she started her business and it had nothing to do with numbers or KPIs How she convinced manufacturers to work with them despite having no track record in the clothing industry For more show notes and information, visit womenpreneurasia.com If you've been listening to Womenpreneur Asia for a while, do help me out by taking a quick and easy survey.

Nov 11

1 hr 9 min

This episode of Season 3 is with Saliza Abdullah, the Managing Director & CEO, BG Capital Holdings Group of Companies in Malaysia.  Saliza manages a 100% woman-owned security services business - one which belonged to her late mother. The original business offered physical guarding and security services. Since taking over, Saliza has expanded the scope of business to include training and surveillance. In this episode, we talk about: What it's like running a fully woman-owned business with her late mother when she got back from the USWhat it's like now with her niece as the upcoming third generation Restructuring the business into what it is today - revenues are now in the 8 figuresOther businesses and diversification strategies that she embarked uponThe real success markers in businessPushing the women’s agenda through her business and how she does itThe creation of a family constitution as the basis of the business moving forwardWhy women must never be shy about talking about their businessesWhy women are her best allies in business and the importance of the right networks How the pandemic helped her get better For show notes and more, visit womenpreneurasia.com

Nov 4

1 hr 9 min

Titaporn Tuchinda is this week's guest and she is an executive coach, entrepreneur and investor in Thailand with more than one business! She is the Managing Director of The Growth and Change Co., Ltd, Thailand and founder and board member of Brighton College International School just outside of Bangkok. She has also conceptualised and set up two boutique hotels in Chiangmai from scratch! Titaporn is also an executive coach with Aberkyn. These businesses seem unrelated on the surface but as we went deeper into the conversation, we realized that each of these businesses taps into Titaporn’s love for learning and education. A mother of three teenagers, Titaporn came into the business after 12 years in the corporate world of McKinsey. As a management consultant, she had no idea what she was going to do when she quit her job except that she wanted to go into business.  In this episode, she spoke about: Why having 3 scenarios for a business is crucial What she is no longer afraid of, having learnt this lesson during this covid pandemicA pivotal time of her life - one that changed her life completelyHer big regret until today (and it has nothing to do with her businesses) The crucial 24 months in the startup phase of any business How decisions are no longer escalated up to her Where she intends to go into the next phase of her entrepreneurial life Setting herself a crazy goal each year The secret sauce enabling her to manage all her businesses as well as her family without losing her head Why you don’t need to go to university to learn about business  For other interesting nuggets about Titaporn, visit womenpreneurasia.com  

Oct 28

59 min 11 sec

Jayce Tham co-founded CreativesAtWork with her sister, Fanny, in 2012 and the two sisters couldn’t be more different! Jayce spent years in the corporate world while Fanny was in the creative industry.  The two Singaporean sisters created a pool and network of freelancers in Singapore and across the region to help corporate companies with everything media-related and creative-related such as photography to graphic design, from advertisements to short films. Unlike other platforms which offer freelancer matchmaking, CreativesAtWork's value is in the project management so that the creatives can be at their creative best! Jayce and Fanny saw that the market was ripe for a new generation of freelancers. Freelancing was becoming a more viable option for many especially the millennials. In this episode, Jayce and I speak about how she started and the challenges of running a media agency. She spoke about growing beyond offering project management as their business matures. We spoke about: What she wished she had known 9 years ago when she first started her media agency How she and her sister navigate that tricky, slippery slope of being siblings who are in business together The importance of working for others if your dream is to become your own boss eventually How she looked at clients’ work in the early years versus how she looks at the work nowHer most important piece of advice for herself (and for you) and she said she wished she learnt this sooner and saved herself all the pain and frustration The unpopular, contrarian opinion of dealing with difficult clients  For show notes and more, visit womenpreneurasia.com

Oct 21

1 hr 4 min

This week I speak to Vietnamese startup founder, Laura Phan, the founder & CEO of iZi Community. iZi Community is an online gamification and AI-based education platform made for learners who need snack-sized learning. Interestingly, Laura is a non-tech founder where she leads her team of programmers in connecting learners and content creators in Vietnam.  But this is not her first business. She started her first business at 21 with a team of 30 people because she wanted to prove a point. In this episode, Laura talks about: How she defines success and its counterpart, failure How she started her business at 21 and what she learned from that first venture of hers What she learnt from her failure in the early days of her businessHow she decided to get back into the business when she saw an opportunity open up during the pandemic lockdownHer own feelings about education prompted her to rethink education How she didn’t focus on the money when she started and why this is importantWhat’s important to know for non-tech women startup founders like her How she validated her edu-tech idea (and what we can learn from this process)The habits that she practices daily to ensure she is always on the path she wants for herself  More details and show notes at womenpreneurasia.com

Oct 14

1 hr 1 min

Following your dream. After working for a few years in London, Helen came home to Penang, Malaysia to work in the family business. Yet, her heart was always in the arts. She described how she would visit museums and art galleries in London and found that she was always joyful in these places. And that was how she realised she had to pursue her love for the arts and started her design firm, Blanc Designs. Helen loves to incorporate art as 3D forms for homes and offices rather than have art within a frame and within the confines of the museum or gallery. She tests and tries unconventional ways of displaying and appreciating art while creating pieces that are functional. To her, art is life and life is art.  For more information about Helen, visit womenpreneurasia.com

Oct 7

1 hr 5 min

Welcome to Season 3! We kick off our third season with Yuka Imanishi who is the founder and CEO of CURIO Japan Inc.  Yuka's business started as a B2C business and soon after, became also a B2B business and now she even has a third business due to the pandemic! Due to her innate curiosity for the world at large, her business is all about fostering intercultural relations between international students with the local Japanese. It started with a simple premise - tutoring services. Later, she also saw a need to help international students who graduated and wanted to stay in Japan to look for work. This became another business. Because of the pandemic, her first two businesses almost came to a standstill and she had to quickly find a way to still keep her Japanese customers connected to her international students. Thus began the online intercultural sessions, tapping again into the resources she had built up over the years! For more about Yuka (and her background before she became an entrepreneur), get the full article at womenpreneurasia.com If you've enjoyed this episode, please leave me a rating and review!

Oct 1

1 hr 3 min

For the final episode of Season 2, I spoke to Amita Nandy, CEO and Founder of Tact World, Malaysia. Her story has a twist at the end. TACT World began in 1991 when she had to leave full-time work to take care of her family and for 31 years, Amita has been training, coaching and facilitating. She still works with corporate clients but she also now focuses her energy on women. Amita has a passion for working with women using women circles and retreats, incorporating storytelling and coaching and group therapy to help women overcome self-limiting beliefs. In this episode, Amita talks about: The first book she authored had nothing to do with training or development surprisingly Why Mrs Gandhi’s assassination in India also affected her and changed her path in life Why she is more willing to embrace that which is uncommon right now in her lifeBeing a one-woman business when she started although her passion was only in designing training curriculumWhy she checked herself when her son said that he didn’t want to go to college and more I hope you have enjoyed Season 2. I will be back with an even more stellar line-up of women CEOs and women founders in Season 3. Catch my personal message at the end of this episode. I'll see you in Season 3 which launches on 1 October. More details: womenpreneurasia.com

Jul 8

1 hr 2 min

This episode is about a Singaporean mumpreneur, Eve Phua who is the founder of Believe Beauty Academy, a beauty and wellness business where she helps women look their best - using products by Mary Kay.  She was top in her personal sales for the Mary Kay Singapore Sales Director Category last year despite it being a challenging year due to the pandemic. She also leads her own team of beauty consultants.  But more than that, she spoke about how she saw herself transforming from a timid person to someone who now uses live videos to educate her customers. She also talks about using personality tests and tools to help her manage her team of beauty consultants and she also debunks some of the myths associated with direct selling.  She also admitted that running a business helped her become a better mother instead of always hovering around her children like a helicopter mum. She has given them the space to be themselves and to be independent.  More at womenpreneurasia.com

Jul 1

1 hr 3 min

In this episode, I spoke to Michelle Yeo who is the Co-Founder and General Manager of Dandy Modern Food in Penang, Malaysia. She has two outlets in Penang with a third planned for Kuala Lumpur. Dandy is an all-day casual eatery, bakery and café serving a massive 150 items on their menu. These contemporary Mediterranean dishes include pastries and desserts.  Michelle who is from Kuching, Sarawak and her husband Jamal who is from Lebanon were already running a security systems business when they had the idea to start a food business despite no experience in F&B. Michelle says it was her late father, who ran a textile business in Kuching, that encouraged her in business. Her mum was worried though. From learning how to make the perfect cup of caramel macchiato to ensuring customers keep coming back, Michelle has never stopped learning about becoming a better restauranteur. She shares a lot more gems in this episode so listen to find out more. For more, visit womenpreneurasia.com

Jun 25

1 hr 5 min

In today’s episode, I spoke to Boonsiri Somchit Ong who is the co-founder and chief conceptualist of Xtrategize Technologies Sdn Bhd based in Penang, Malaysia.  Boonsiri is of Malaysian Thai-Chinese descent and is well known in the multinational corporation circle where she had spent more than 30 years before she left to join her husband, Tony, in the business.  In her previous corporate role, Boonsiri was a finance and operations professional leading a global team that delivered business accounting services that supported a multinational’s entire global entities. Her turning point was a TEDx Talk that she gave in 2015 that spoke about failure for the first time ever in front of her family and people who knew her as a successful corporate high flyer. In this interview, you will hear Boonsiri’s enthusiasm for life, work and family. She is determined, strong and capable and yet isn’t afraid to reveal that she too is human with her own shortcomings. Find out more about Boonsiri at womenpreneurasia.com

Jun 17

1 hr 5 min

This week, I spoke to Radha Mohan Durbha who is the co-founder and director of Kereses Consulting India Private Ltd, India. She started her business when she was 41 and in looking back, she wished she had started much earlier! Kereses Consulting India Private Ltd is a HR consulting business based in Bangalore, India that Radha started with her friend. As a HR recruiter, Radha is responsible for the planning, budgeting and operations of recruitment and training, and engages with organizations to facilitate a connection between potential employers and employees. While she helps employers in Bangalore find the right talents to power and run their businesses, she is also in her own way pushing the women’s agenda. Radha who considers herself a tough cookie and a feminist said she would try to inject a gender perspective into the hiring process and open more doors for women in the labour force in Bangalore.  Some factories, she said, never even had a women’s bathroom on their premises because hiring women was simply not in the equation! These were some of the HR-related yet women-related matters that Radha is trying to push for in her business. She may not run a social enterprise but it shows that a woman in business can influence how other women are hired and employed.  In this episode, she talks about: The differences between running one’s own business versus working in the corporate worldWhat she says to employers who insist that the jobs are meant for men Her zero billings when the pandemic hit India and the world and hiring wasn’t even possible That one single quality that differentiates a great recruiter from a good oneHow she has to chase after candidates and ensure they get to the interviews and the prep work she does before they even get to the interview Why LinkedIn is a great place for people like her What she does when she’s faced with a difficult decision Find additional information on womenpreneurasia.com

Jun 10

1 hr 1 min

Jaklin Juanis is the founder of Professional Advancements Resources based in Malaysia. Jaklin was born and bred in Kota Belud in rural Sabah, East Malaysia. Her village didn’t have electricity and as a child she studied by candlelight. In this interview, she spoke about how she kept on moving and having the momentum to get out of her challenging situation, and being smart about the resources she had around her.  She has certainly done well for herself. Since 2008, as a corporate trainer, Jaklin has trained more than 40 organizations, 35,000 participants and logged in 4200 hours of corporate training and 800 hours of 1-on-1 coaching and mentoring. Quite inspiring for someone who admitted that as a young graduate, she had this intense fear of public speaking! Jaklin had worked in Shell and Lafarge, two large multinational companies for years before she decided to start her own business. Based on her experience, she had a vision of what her business would be like but her business didn’t exactly turn out that way. Listen to this episode for the full story. Get more information about Jaklin at womenpreneurasia.com

Jun 3

1 hr 5 min

In this episode, I spoke to Malaysian entrepreneur Shamala Hinrichsen.  Shamala is the founder of Hanai, a social enterprise that empowers women to take charge of their health.  Her first app, Hanai Jiwa Ibu, targeted at rural Malaysia provides women with access to information about maternal, mental health and domestic violence in addition to a complete doctor’s directory and information on COVID-19.  Inspired by her own grandmother, Shamala who now lives in Germany with her husband and two children, calls herself an Ipoh girl at heart. She worked in three continents - North America, Asia an Europe - and trained as a scientist and in her own words, had a comfortable life and career.  Her pivotal turn came when she spent four months in India. Shamala says, “A large part of the world is actually still rural and women never know what to do in an emergency, never know that it is an emergency and that they need to do something right there.”  She adds, “We want to be in that position to give every woman the ability to make decisions on her own and get help.” In this episode, Shamala talks about: Her time crossing north and south India, opening up her eyes to the issues plaguing rural womenHow she was moved by a death of a woman which pushed her to start with BorneoWhy starting a health tech company wasn’t just about coding the apps and lots more. For more information about her, visit WomenpreneurAsia.com

May 27

1 hr 2 min

In this episode, I spoke to Cha-Ly Koh who is the CEO & founder of Urbanmetry Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Urbanmetry is a data company that cleans and analyses large amounts of city data, through its proprietary algorithms with the purpose of using data to better inform, plan and develop sustainable urban dwellings.  With offices in Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi, Urbanmetry collaborated with ThinkCity to publish a book in 2016 titled The Secret Atlas of Greater Kuala Lumpur which offers insights to various industries through the lens of big data.  For a woman in a largely male-dominated industry, Cha-Ly takes it in her stride, citing, “It’s not a bed of roses and not impossible either.”  In this episode, you will hear some fascinating yet honest truths from Cha-Ly such as: What happened when she started with her “naive” idea and that didn’t stick even after she threw so much money at it! How she decided to transform her business from a B2C to a B2B business (and how the realization came to her and surprisingly, it didn’t involve asking for feedback) How she stopped “marketing” and where all if not most of her clients come from now How her business started to grow after she did one thing that she should’ve done from the beginningThe real truth about listening to the market Her toughest challenges as a woman CEO who is also the single founder of her company  For more information about Cha-Ly and some quotable quotes that you will love, visit WomenpreneurAsia.com

May 20

55 min 27 sec

In this episode, I spoke to Shadaitul Intan, the director of Profound Learning Solutions Sdn Bhd, a training consultancy based in Malaysia.  Intan, as she is fondly known, grew up in a small town of Batu Gajah, Perak but was encouraged by her father to be who she wanted to be. She admitted she once drove a Ferrari that wasn't hers and she even set up a daycare centre prior to setting up this training consultancy business. She was 33 and a single mother of 2 daughters when she started her business.  She went from being a bank executive to a unit trust consultant and finally found her calling in being an entrepreneur and trusted trainer for corporations and companies. What’s in this episode: What this single mother of two did to plan her exit from the corporate world after realizing finance wasn’t her cup of tea How she learnt business skills she knew she needed but didn’t yet have What she realised about the world when she became an entrepreneur (and how she learnt through heartbreaking mistakes how to separate business from friendship)The two factors that helped her succeed in the training consultancy business and much more Find out more about her at WomenpreneurAsia.com

May 13

55 min 37 sec

In this episode, I am speaking to Sophie Ha Tu Nguyen from Vietnam who is the co-founder and CEO of Skabella, a children's clothing business. Sophie's business was hit particularly hard by the pandemic as hers was a retail business, dependent on foot traffic in the mall. What was supposed to be the worst possible year for her turned out to be a year of possibilities and renewed hope. She had to make some decisions but by making these decisions, she grew a new business that was particularly suited to her experience and expertise in the fashion industry. She combined what she knew with what she could do for women who were looking for help. She also chose the route of collaboration, partnering with a friend by sharing resources which in turn allowed her more freedom of time! Sophie's entrepreneurial pivoting is truly an insightful story of resilience, of never giving up and of making the most of what one has. For links and show notes, visit womenpreneurasia.com

May 6

1 hr 8 min

Episode 3 is where I speak to Susan Chee who is the founder and director of Criteria & Connections in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her business helps companies create memorable events, launches and conferences. Some of her noteworthy events include: Managing the itinerary of the richest man in the world who was visiting Malaysia but she didn't even have time to gawk at him or request a photograph! (In case you didn't know, the man in question was Bill Gates.)Organising a 600-delegate conference in Macao and much of the stress made her sleep the entire day once the event was over. It was so significant that Hong Kong's TVB did a reality TV type of show having their TV crew trail Susan when she was organising this massive event. in Macao.Managing 80s pop icon Rick Astley when he arrived in Malaysia and she suddenly realised he wasn't very tall at all. (She was literally staring down at him.) The business sounds glamorous when you're in front as a spectator. But when you're behind-the-scenes, managing multiple schedules, clients, sub-contractors, vendors and teams, it is complex artistry at its best. It was a delight talking to Susan despite the fact that the pandemic had hit the events management business hard. In this episode, Susan talks about: How she managed and "processed" 1000+ participants for the biggest Windows 2000 launch in Malaysia back thenWhat happened when she got tired of everythingHow her growing billings changed her thinking from being a freelancer to being a bossHow she handled prospectingHow she became smart about her pitches and proposalsHer "eye roll" list and the occupational hazards and the "sickness" that plagues most event planners and conference organisers Find out more about Susan at womenpreneurasia.com

Apr 29

1 hr 26 min

Episode 2 of Season 2 features Rowena Morais who is a Malaysian entrepreneur with a strong communication slant to her work. Rowena is the editor, writer, publisher and programme director at Vertical Distinct with offices in Malaysia and Australia. She started her entrepreneurial journey in the most unusual way - she got herself a working visa to New Zealand which later landed her in Australia which turned into work for a startup! That startup experience during the heady days of the dotcom boom eventually turned into the dot-com bust but that didn't stop Rowena from coming back to Malaysia to launch her business, armed with what she had seen and done in Australia.  In this episode, Rowena talks about:  How she took her startup experience to help her start her conference business in Malaysia for HR professionalsHow that led her to her publishing business even though she had no magazine publishing experience! How her business evolved into more private executive briefings and exclusive HR breakfast roundtables that were the talk of the town (which was creative but terrifying as she was the pioneer of such a concept)How she made safe spaces for authentic HR discussions with senior HR professionalsHow her internal marker shifted each time she undertakes a role she'd rather not take as she admits she is more of a behind-the-scenes person  Find out more about her favourite books and more in our show notes at womenpreneurasia.com

Apr 22

1 hr 2 min

Welcome to Season 2 of Womenpreneur Asia! For the next 13 weeks, we will feature 13 incredibly inspiring yet down-to-earth women in business across Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India. A new episode airs every Friday. In this first episode of Season 2, I am excited to present to you a smart and successful Malaysian entrepreneur, See Wai Hun.  Wai Hun is the CEO and co-founder of Juristech, a Malaysian fintech company that provides banking solutions. Since acquiring iMoney in 2020, she is also the CEO of iMoney, a personal finance company that empowers consumers so that they can make intelligent money decisions.  She was amazing to talk to as she is down-to-earth with a curious yet sharp mind, possessing a practical humility about herself, her background and the businesses that she is running.  Despite her fame and success in the fintech world, Wai Hun happily considers motherhood as her biggest accomplishment and milestone. In this interview, Wai Hun openly shared her heartfelt thoughts and experiences that were fascinating as well as thoroughly inspiring from the challenges of growing a business to how she started her business during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 (the reason was totally surprising!).

Apr 15

1 hr 2 min

This is a bonus episode where Anushia Kandasamy (of Episode 4) decides to reverse the roles and ask me questions! She did a brilliant job as she made me talk about what mattered to me the most and how I ended up doing what I do now. I also had many a-ha moments during the course of our interview as I realised how stories have been a major influence in my life even from a young age. I spoke about being uncomfortable, bored, angry and curious and these emotions catapulted me into starting life-changing projects that impact the community and solve problems. In this episode, I also spoke about the importance of raising leaders while being fulfilled and happy at what I do. Season 2 launches on 16 April so stay tuned!

Apr 8

1 hr 4 min

This is the episode where I will tell you more about who I am and why I am doing what I am doing right now. I never wanted to be an entrepreneur; all I wanted to do was to do well in my career. I never thought I was a risk-taker. I've been truly blessed and grateful for the amazing opportunities that have come my way. I've co-founded the business I am and I really enjoy helping our clients. I've also co-founded a women entrepreneur organisation in Penang, Malaysia where we grow and nurture women in businesses and provide a network of support and resources. And then I started this podcast. Not on a whim but something I had wanted to do for a long time. Enjoy this story of mine!

Jan 15

1 hr 11 min

Anja Juliah Abu Bakar is the founder of Athena Holdings Sdn Bhd (formerly Blubear Holdings Sdn Bhd), a Malaysian social enterprise that sells washable cloth pads and other earth-friendly products.  Her journey as an entrepreneur has many twists and turns, some hilarious and others quite heartbreaking. But Anja never gives up. She is one determined woman. She was so determined that she decided to go to Paris to pitch someone she didn't even know. In this interview, she also talks about what it means to be a social enterprise and what shifted the balance for her in her entrepreneurial life.  The idea behind Anja's business is about reducing period poverty issues while educating women and girls on safe and earth-friendly menstrual hygiene practices. Having one's period shouldn't be the reason why rural girls drop out of school and lose out on education. This is where Anja's products come in to enable girls to reach their full potential.  Initially, her business arose out of a curiosity to earn an income but eventually, she made a mission out of the business although she could not sew!

Jan 8

1 hr 6 min

Rina is a Malaysian entrepreneur who started out as a computer scientist and the classic example of a woman who is able to spot opportunities and turn them into success.  Presently, she is an angel investor with investments in businesses across Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. She also serves on several business advisory boards, NGOs & universities. She is also on the board of MATRADE.  In this episode, she talks about how she grew up in Rifle Range, Penang and learnt entrepreneurship when she sold nasi lemak around the neighbourhood. She also helped with her mother's hairdressing business in their home which doubled up as a hair salon! She has come a long way since then and her story is truly one of grit and hard work. Enjoy this episode!

Jan 1

1 hr 9 min

Ooi Lay Pheng is the CEO of Berjayapak Sdn Bhd in Penang, Malaysia. She is in the business of providing wood packaging solutions such as pallets, crates and boxes to multinational corporations that need to ship and send their precious cargo all over the world.  This is a multi-million ringgit industry but it is also a rough-and-tough business. The wood packaging industry is a challenging industry as sustainable timber resources need to be managed while competitors are aplenty. The factory is usually hot, noisy and dusty. In fact, Lay Pheng has experienced going into forests and jungles to visit timber suppliers and check on the wood supplies!  Lay Pheng returned to helm the family business not because she wanted to but because her father asked her to. She couldn’t refuse as this family business was truly built on sweat, grit and tears. She put aside her own plans which included her own business to step up and lead the manufacturing business. The business has since expanded into Vietnam with more countries to come. In the last five years that she has come onboard, the company has gone on to win multiple awards for quality and innovation with the most recent one being Asia’s Leading SME Award in 2020. 

Dec 2020

1 hr 4 min

Dr Vimaleswari Ramasamy is the CEO and founder of STRAVIK Business Consulting based in Penang, Malaysia.  STRAVIK Business Consulting offers business startup consulting to multinational companies keen to establish a strong presence and foothold in Malaysia as well as business optimisation consulting to organisations and Small Medium Enterprises looking to increase revenue. Together with her team, she provides strategic consultation with strong analytical and operational expertise, leveraging today's technology including artificial intelligence systems. But she wasn’t always an entrepreneur. In fact, she started out as an engineer who loved challenges and problem-solving. She kept climbing up the career ladder in the multinational corporation that she worked for and even chose, after a while, to change tracks and venture into human resources.  Her last role before she left to start STRAVIK was a milestone to be proud of. She was the first Malaysian female managing director for a UK-based multinational company for five years, growing the company to a 600-strong workforce.  In this interview, she talks about why she left the comfortable corporate world, a world she has known well since the day she started working more than two decades ago.

Dec 2020

1 hr 12 min

Ann Wong is the co-founder of the Penan Women Project in Sarawak, Malaysia. It is an initiative that helps the women of the Penan tribe in Sarawak to earn regular incomes and ensures the traditional art of weaving is kept alive. The Penan women are expert weavers despite having no formal education. Penan Women Project buys the handmade bags from the Penan women and markets the bags and totes at community fairs and bazaars in Miri, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang. Some volunteers also organise sale days at their homes to market these bags - bags that come with a story. Ann used to study and work in the US for more than a decade before settling back in Kuching, Sarawak.  She uses her art and design knowledge to help the Penan women through the Penan Women Project. This is her story but it is also a story of empowering the Penan women of Sarawak.

Dec 2020

1 hr 9 min

Marlienna Suwito who is based in Jakarta, Indonesia started her business of rearing swiftlets for their valuable nests in 2006. These nests are carefully harvested and made into edible health products and even skincare for the Indonesian market as well as overseas markets. It isn't just a business like any other; Marlienna is tapping into her business acumen and network as a means to help her help the community she feels strongly about - underprivileged children - while providing jobs to women in need.

Dec 2020

1 hr 4 min

Nina Othman didn’t start out wanting to found a social enterprise. Grow The Goose happened because her sons came to her one day and asked for roller shoes. She didn't give her boys the money. Nina encouraged her boys to put on their thinking caps and be creative in looking for solutions. Her one idea for her boys turned into the quirkily named Grow The Goose, a social enterprise that empowers kids to be problem-solvers and solution-finders. Her business teaches children how to be financially-savvy while nurturing their entrepreneurial skills.  Nina also openly talks about the reasons her 13 business ventures failed in the past and what she learnt from those experiences. She used her past to help her redefine her future and the future of her social enterprise!

Nov 2020

1 hr 4 min

Indonesian entrepreneur, Zhafira Loebis, started Babyloania with her husband Arlo Erdaka Temenggung in 2014 when they were pregnant with their first child. She was making a list of baby items and equipment she wanted to buy for her firstborn with her husband when they realized how expensive everything was.  This problem prompted them to look into starting Babyloania which began as a baby equipment rental business serving other parents in areas such as Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang dan Bekasi. Babyloania has been quite the success story in Indonesia; Zhafira has been featured on CNN and CNBC Indonesia for not just her inventiveness but also her openness to share what she knows with other parents and businesses. Interestingly, Zhafira and her husband have also started collaborating with their competitors - some 126 of them. She has since started two other businesses as a result of starting Babyloania and she shares some of her best marketing and hiring strategies in this power-packed episode!

Nov 2020

1 hr 22 min

Anushia Kandasamy's path to where she is now is a little unconventional. She started out as a management consultant with McKinsey and worked for 11 years before starting her own consulting business.  At every twist and turn, she has courageously taken the next step even though she didn’t really know what was in store. Anushia admits she has been very lucky throughout her career and business life. From being an exchange student in Japan to backpacking overland from Germany to Malaysia, Anushia is adventurous and optimistic and yet has her feet planted firmly on the ground! She believes that doing something for humanity and saving the world has always been on her agenda and business is one of the means to get her there.

Nov 2020

1 hr

What happens when you're a fashion retailer with 7 stores and then you're forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic? Norhani Pacasum of Ziya Inc. had to re-evaluate her options and face her deepest fears as the Philippine government ordered a lockdown in the city of Manila. She felt she was, for the first time ever, in a truly dark place. She was fearful but she decided she was going to find the silver lining in this period of uncertainty. In this episode, Norhani speaks frankly about teamwork, resilience and the need to quickly adapt even though she and her team were incredibly afraid.

Nov 2020

1 hr 7 min

Are you working so hard that you forget who you are and what you wanted? In this episode, Maresa Ng of The Spark Group Asia talks candidly about her coaching business. She began with a lot of passion and enthusiasm but she was pushing herself so hard and wanting to succeed so badly that she forgot how to live life. Insecurity, exhaustion, frustration - you name it, she had it. Maresa's business was running her to the ground and she came to a point where she had to make a huge decision about her business.

Oct 2020

1 hr 11 min

What is Womenpreneur Asia all about? Here's a quick overview of what you can expect from this brand new podcast for women entrepreneurs in Asia from Krista Goon. All episodes of Womenpreneur Asia are sponsored by Redbox Studio. Look out for new episodes every Friday for the next 13 weeks.

Oct 2020

1 min 58 sec

Hawaii is where this all happened. This is the introduction episode for Womenpreneur Asia and how I faced up to all my fears. I had wanted to start a podcast for the longest time but it was just a lot of wishing and wondering. But Hawaii and the East-West Center (and all the good folks from mentors, mentees and peers) in July 2019 changed my life. Enjoy this episode!

Oct 2020

9 min 4 sec