Singapore is not only an entrepreneurial hub in Asia but also globally. With its government providing plenty of schemes to support startups and a reputation as a pro-business country, it is no wonder that entrepreneurship in today’s Singapore has become vibrant with young entrepreneurs making waves and taking advantage of the healthy business climate. But all these factors are redundant if it were not for the hard work, innovation and perseverance of the entrepreneurs themselves, paving the way for successful ventures. Here, Top 10 of Asia shares its list of the top young entrepreneurial stars of Singapore.
- Joel Sng
Joel Sng is the co-founder and CEO of Honestbee, an online grocery and food delivery service, as well as a B2B parcel delivery service. With the business only 3 years young, it has expanded across Asia to countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan. It is transforming the way many Asians do their grocery shopping. Joel graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He started his career in investment banking. Throughout his career, he invested in a number of SME companies across diverse sectors and geographies before finally taking the leap into entrepreneurship by co-founding Honestbee in 2014. In his free time, Joel enjoys surfing in Hawaii and eating in Tokyo.
- Roshni Mahtani
Roshni Mahtani is the CEO and Founder of media tech powerhouse Tickled Media, the company behind theAsianparent.com, AsianMoneyGuide.com and HerStyleAsia.com. Her company reaches over to some 12 million women monthly across Southeast Asia. Her entrepreneurship extends to founding the Female Founders Network in 2015, a group of over 3,000 female founders. She is also an angel investor who sits on the board of TiE Singapore and is a mentor at JFDI and the Crib. Roshni is also known as the Executive Producer of Untouchable: Children of God – a 2014 documovie which won the Humanitarian Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
- Val Ji-hsuan Yap
Val Ji-hsuan Yap is the CEO and Founder of PolicyPal and PolicyPal Network, driven by a passion in making insurance protection simple and accessible to everyone. PolicyPal Singapore is a digital direct insurance broker that enables individuals to buy, manage and optimise their insurance policies. It is also the first graduate from the Monetary of Singapore’s (MAS) fintech regulatory sandbox. PolicyPal Network is a decentralised insurance protocol that uses data to bridge the gap between consumers and insurance providers by providing a new level of accessibility within the insurance ecosystem. A total of 23,809 ETH (US$20 million) was raised in PolicyPal Network ICO through private pre-sale and public crowdsale. The avid globe-trotter and sports enthusiast was recently listed in Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for Finance and Venture Capital. A frequent speaker at universities and conferences, Val is a post-graduate with an MSc in Business Management at Imperial College London and has a BA in Digital Media from the University of the Arts London.
- Ian Ang
Not many people can boast of being a professional gamer turned entrepreneur. Ian Ang shows that it is possible. His desire to have a great chair propelled him to start Secretlab with co-founder Alaric Choo. Secretlab’s chairs have since become immensely popular amongst tech and gaming enthusiasts. Ian is a product and marketing focused CEO who believes in paying absolute attention to detail when it comes to product design and creative work. He is also an advocate of using tech and millennial-friendly HR policies to achieve internal operational excellence. Secretlab was the winner of the Emerging Enterprise Award 2017, an annual award co-presented by The Business Times and OCBC Bank that celebrates young and outstanding business. He was also included in the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Class of 2018. Secretlab’s consistent and rapid growth since its inception now sees itself operating in places outside Singapore such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and South-East Asia.
- Sunitha Pillay
At the young age of 25, Sunitha Pillay’s established online fashion website, NISWARA, will already be celebrating its 6th anniversary this October. NISWARA has a strong pool of regular customers. She started NISWARA when she graduated with a Diploma in Fashion Design from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore and while waiting to start her degree in Fashion Media and Industries with Lasalle Collage of the Arts, Singapore. Juggling school and an online business was never easy but Sunitha says, “If you have the passion, no one can stop you from what you want to achieve in life.” She is looking to further develop the brand by launching its first flagship store in Singapore.
- Nigel Poh
The youngest man on the list, teenager Nigel Poh is the founder of Green Infinity which aims to solve daily problems with mobile applications as well as for the greater entertainment of others. Nigel created his first app at the age of 15 and has since gone on to create several apps which have been listed on the Apple Store and Google Play Store. His app, iKit is part of Green Infinity’s list of apps. It is a comprehensive eye test and training kit for all ages and was conceived after a visit to his grandfather who had eye complications. The doctor struggled to tell what happened to his eyes and forgot which tests had been done. Nigel has currently slowed down his startup activities due to heavier academic commitments from taking the A-levels this year, but aims to put out more exciting mobile applications that will bring convenience to greater society after his A-levels.
- Stephanie Chai
Having majored in Finance & International Business at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, founder Stephanie Chai has always opted for the path less travelled as she initially embarked on a modelling and TV career post-graduation. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, she launched TheLuxeNomad.com in July 2012. To date, Stephanie has raised over USD 3 million from investors such as Singapore VC Innosight Asia and Douglas Khoo, one of the founders of China’s largest travel booking sites, Qunar. In 2017, TheLuxeNomad.com expanded its service offering to also include villa management. With regional offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, Stephanie and TheLuxeNomad.com team seek to solve the issues of “time and trust” by offering travellers a highly curated collection of luxury properties.
- Prerna Pant
Prerna Pant is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Circus Social. It is a social and digital data analytics company that offers next-generation analytics focusing on helping clients enhance and sharpen their digital footprint, and specialises in social media intelligence, audience research and insights, and digital monitoring. Prerna holds a BSc in Business Management from King’s College, London. She has over 14 years of experience in the digital marketing space in roles that have spanned digital and social media strategy, 360 marketing and data analytics. An avid traveller, Prerna has lived and worked in over 5 countries.
- Norvan Tan
Norvan Tan truly encapsulates the word “entrepreneur”. At the age of 18, he had already begun building his own companies. In 2014, after having two failed businesses in the same year, Norvan finally had his breakthrough with the success of his fourth business venture, the highly popular Blackout SG. It is the the first and only footwear store in Singapore where customers are able to customize their very own unique pair of sandals. The store received government support early on in the form of a $5,000 grant from SPRING Singapore.
- Rilla Mellati Bahri
Rilla Mellati Bahri is presently the co-founder and Director of Mini Monsters Limited, an educational company focused on the development and creation of original Singapore-made children’s content. She lives in Singapore. Founded in 2008, the company has gone on to work with hundreds of primary and secondary schools in Singapore, supply mainstream bookstores with their books, publications and other educational resources and staged full-scale performances and productions for the public in world-class venues. In 2017, Rilla was awarded the Entrepreneur Honoree Award by the Singapore Malay Chambers of Commerce & Industry. In 2018, Rilla won the Women Entrepreneur Awards (Stellar Category) for Promising Women Entrepreneur. She is also known as an established educator, author and TV presenter.