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OVER 130 participants attended The Star Outstanding Business Awards 2018 (SOBA) Lab at Mu Hotel in Ipoh.

Those present at the workshop on July 25 were inspired by talks presented by the entrepreneurs.

They also managed to get tips from professionals and experts on how to get loans as well as embrace digitalisation in their business.

Among the speakers were PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Michael Tio, RHB Group Transaction Banking head Chung Chee Kai, Digi Business Division chief business officer Eugene Teh Yee, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd (CGC) Ipoh branch manager Punitha Jeyabalan and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Transformation and Digital Trade Division senior manager Muhd Shahrulmiza Zakaria.

Unit trust consultant Chuah Suyi said she felt motivated by the rags-to-riches experience of the two young speakers at the event – Chriszen Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Mandy Leong, 27, and 33-year-old Googolplex Holdings Bhd group chief executive officer Christopher Liang.

“Young entrepreneurs need to be hardworking and daring. These are the qualities that I’ve learned from them,” said the 26-year-old.

“I feel most of the Gen-Y today lack these traits, especially those from Ipoh. Not many are interested in attending events such as SOBA Lab and motivational talks or participate in public speaking,” she added.

E-commerce manager Sam Kon, 29, said he found Soba Lab informative and insightful.

“Leong and Liang were inspiring. The message is clear that we need to be bold and confident to take that leap of faith.

“Both are classic down-to-earth examples of how entrepreneurs rise to success,” he said.

“I also find it useful that Tio spoke about using social media to retain and communicate with his staff,” he added.

Manager Ang Lae Choo, 54, said the two speakers should be role models to all young entrepreneurs.

“They learn while working. We have to encourage the younger generation to do the same. If they feel that there are still things to learn, they can continue studying,” she said.

“I always feel that adequate education is sufficient as people just need to get job experience. And if they face problems, they meet it head on,” added Ang.

In her talk, Leong said she started out selling cosmetic products at night markets and worked her way to becoming a successful entrepreneur whose business has now expanded to Indonesia.

She told the audience how she made several bold decisions to aggressively expand her business, learning as she went along.

“It’s important to have a goal, objective, strategy and measures.

“While luck may have played a role for me to meet the right person at the right time, it mostly boils down to hard work as I’ve also put a lot of effort into doing research and learning the ropes from my seniors,” she said.

In his talk, Liang spoke of how being poor pushed him to work hard to succeed. He took on various jobs to gain experience to become a businessman.

Leong started out selling cosmetics products at night markets and worked her way to become a successful entrepreneur.

He recounted how his first business in telemarketing folded up as he was not hands-on enough and did not manage the finances well, and ended up owing his employees wages.

He said experience had taught him valuable lessons in running a business and he now has nine offices in Malaysia with a property sales transaction of RM1.2bil last year.

SOBA 2018 is organised by The Star with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as Main Sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation as Co-Sponsor, Matrade as Official Trade Promotion Partner and New World Petaling Jaya Hotel as Official Venue. It is endorsed by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with 988, SuriaFM and dimsum as Official Media Partners.

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