Entrepreneurship is one of the fields that promise a good future. But for that to be achieved, one must venture into a world of uncertainty full of puzzles and thorns, and one must have the charisma, courage, sense of adventure and motivation to endure many breakdown and failures on the way to reach success. Sounds daunting, isn’t it? Many youths wanted to break into this field but many do not have the essentials to do so hence flaunting in the middle and perhaps, gave up. Before joining this field one must know that it is more than just making money to become rich and famous but it is more of organizing one’s ideas and being creative and innovative with it. Of course, as aforementioned one should always be ready to endure failures.
In ASEAN, more and more youths are venturing into entrepreneurship. In 2016, ASEAN Youth Entrepreneurial Summit (AYES) attracted more than 600 youths from Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Singapore. The introduction of ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Network (AYEN) shows how much ASEAN is aware of the importance of youth entrepreneurship. In Malaysia, the Malaysian Association of ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs (MAAYE) was established to promote youth entrepreneurship as well as enhance business skills, regional market insight, services, and innovation.
Through all of this, Malaysians are indeed more aware of how youth entrepreneurship can be a stepping stone for the improvement of the economic and social sectors in the country as well as in ASEAN. Among the many entrepreneurs in the country, there are some that were able to make it big in other countries in ASEAN.
Quah Nian King is a co-founder, group managing director, and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country. Their company, Saltycustoms, has been empowering brands both big and small by providing them with quality, retail-worthy custom t-shirts. Through the company’s belief in innovation and its fearlessness in pushing the boundaries of the apparel industry, Saltycustoms’ business and presence grew exponentially over just a few short years. Today, Saltycustoms prides itself as the leading name in the custom apparel market, with over 40 employees in its Malaysia and Singapore offices.
So far, Saltycustoms’ expertise in producing world-class apparel designs has been tested and loved by over 1,000 brands around the world. An energetic, respected, and versatile leader, Quah Nian King constantly brings his passion and energy to work by cultivating new ideas and relentlessly focusing on being extraordinary. His persistence, ability to execute, and an unyielding belief in his own entrepreneurial spirit have brought him to the peak of success.
Shakirin and Athirah Rosik, two exhuberant sister-duo, are two entrepreneurs that are worth writing about. What is amazing about these two sisters is that they have already tasted success in this field despite being in their mid-20s. Both shoppers, they realized that some of the branded clothes that they buy are only worn once and are either left in the closet or sometimes donated. We’ve all done that, that feeling of undaunted euphoria when we buy branded clothes that we like without thinking of its sustainability that much. Keeping the idea of sustainability of branded clothes plus their aspiration to do business using a moving truck, they came up with “Thrift-On-Wheels” (now known as VOWS).
Thrift-On-Wheels sells secondhand clothes. The concept is that the clothes are sold on a fashion truck that travels to different locations each day. Syakiran claims that second-hand shops like the bundle shops are very different from their service. This is because Thrift-On-Wheels buys directly from individuals rather than in mass bundles from overseas. They also take care to curate, wash, and care for all the goods. Thrift-On-Wheels also works closely with charities and NGOs to provide skills to marginalised groups such as refugees and orphans. The two sisters who are both students are remarkably efficient in juggling both studies and managing their company, making them among the noticeable young entrepreneurs in Malaysia.
Next up is probably the most talked about entrepreneur in the country. Graduated with a law degree from London School of Economics (LSE), the 29 year-old Vivy Yusof came back to the country without any plans to practice law. Instead, she became e-commerce mogul. She co-founded FashionValet, one of Asia’s leading multi-label online sites carrying South East Asian designer labels. Following her success, she founded The dUCk Group, a lifestyle brand of headscarves and stationery. The success doesn’t stop there as more recognitions are given to here and there. As of the time of writing, Vivy Yusof is the first ever Malay to be invited to Endeavor – a global organization that selects, mentors, and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs. Not only that, she’s also listed in the Forbes 30 under 30.
In 2012, she married her co-founder of the Fashion Valet and now is the mother of two children. Being a young mother and having to manage this huge business is indeed not a piece of cake, but her success keeps on growing in the past years. She has won many entrepreneurship awards, made it into magazines, and even updated all of her social medias and blog without any difficulties. This is the quality of hers that made her one of the remarkable young entrepreneurs of the country.
The success of these youths is definitely something that we should look up to. ASEAN is a region full of wonders and opportunities that allow us to venture into so many fields including entrepreneurship. The success of the named entrepreneurs in ASEAN should be our inspiration to also be at the same level as them. We can always dream but a dream is just a dream without any foregoing effort. What separates dreamers from success is just the effort towards achieving it. Take one step and who knows, YOU might be one of the more prominent person of your country or rather ASEAN- be it in entrepreneurship or any field.
By John Anak Ramsay, ASEAN Correspondent from Malaysia