International Women’s Day Special: 3 Singaporean female entrepreneurs that will inspire you
It’s the 8th of March – International Women’s Day!! The day was chosen to promote gender equality and celebrate women’s achievements. Unfortunately, society is still fraught with gender disparity. In Singapore, the gender pay gap still stands at 18% as of October 2017 – which means little has changed from 10 years before. According to the World Economic Forum in 2017, we would take 100 years to close the global gender pay gap. That said, from women suffrage in the early 1900s, we have come a long way since, to women allowed to study and work.
To celebrate International Women’s Day today, we feature 3 Singaporean women who deeply inspire us with their character and grit.
Val Yap, Founder and CEO of PolicyPal:
Our pride and superwoman Val conceived the idea for PolicyPal post a slew of unfortunate family events. She tried to make an insurance claim for her mother who was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, the claim was rejected because the family was unaware of a prior lapse in the premiums. Similarly, after her father’s passing, the family had to dig through stacks of insurance documentation and physically visit several branches to check the extent of her father’s coverage. This arduous experience made Val realise the importance of having a well–organised digital folder of insurance policies and documents. In a bid to prevent this occurrence from happening to others, PolicyPal was conceived in 2016.
The goal of PolicyPal is to help you easily manage, purchase and analyse your current insurance coverage in one digital platform. With the app, you can simply take a picture of your policies and in merely 15 seconds*, the image recognition software can automatically retrieve relevant information to be digitised!
PolicyPal went on to become the first startup to graduate from the MAS FinTech regulatory sandbox. In recognition of her myriad of achievements, Val was also named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia 2017” list for Finance and Venture Capital.
Val has taught us that one can pick oneself up from a dire situation, and use it as an impetus to do something great for the community. Simply inspiring!
*On average. The upload and digitisation of the insurance policies may range from 5 seconds to 30 seconds, provided that the provided copy is accurate and visually clear.
Rachel Lim, Co-Founder of Love, Bonito:
If you are a woman and you shop online, chances are you have heard of the store Love, Bonito. Rachel set up the brand together with two other childhood friends, Velda Tan and Viola Tan. Love, Bonito started small in 2006 on an online platform LiveJournal, where pieces from Bangkok and Korea were imported. Later in 2010, despite little digital knowledge, they took a leap of faith and the first collection was launched on a proper e–commerce platform. The response to the first collection was so astounding, the website crashed!
The label continued to grow but, as with any successful business, the stress of running your own label can take a toll. As Rachel admitted – she recalled a time when she felt jaded by the madness of it all, and wondered why she didn’t just get a stable office job. However, Love Bonito’s vision of helping women achieve confidence through their clothes helped her press on. Her perseverance paid off and Love, Bonito now has their own flagship store at 313 Somerset and a store in Malaysia. Rachel was honoured by “Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2016” for Retail & E–Commerce. The company has even managed to secure a whopping S$17 million in funding by venture capitalists!
Love, Bonito is a true success story. The main takeaway from Rachel’s story is simple – take a leap of faith, work hard at what you’re passionate about, press on and who knows? You might just be the next big success story!
Elim Chew, Founder of former 77th Street:
Remember the iconic streetwear clothing shop 77th Street? Serial entrepreneur Elim Lim opened the first chain back in 1988 in Far East Plaza. At its peak, there were 16 stores in Singapore and one in Beijing. Elim can be said to be the person responsible for kickstarting the streetwear fashion trend in Asia.
However, due to high rental costs, staffing difficulties and growing competition from international brands, the brand had to shut after 30 years of operation in 2016. Despite this, Elim’s entrepreneurial spirit still burns bright and she has now successfully ventured into the food and beverage business. Together with her 2 elder siblings, they have set up 3 restaurants in 2 years – Kim Korean BBQ and Kokomama café, as well as GoroGoro Steamboat and Korean Buffet. Also, being a champion for social causes, Elim aims to provide the retrenched, retired and disadvantaged with the opportunity to earn some extra income via her new courier service app FastFast. “Always remember the less fortunate even when you’re busy chasing success” – well said, Elim!
Don’t ever let setbacks define you; focus on building yourself up again. And most importantly, never forget to help others even when you’re successful!
Not only does International Women’s Day provide a much overdue opportunity to shout–out all the influential ladies in our lives, it also provide us with the opportunity to network with other female inspirations and celebrate our achievements together. Join us today at the Tough As Nails – International Women’s Day Celebration event at Beach Centre. Our CEO Val Yap and other successful businesswomen will be on the panel, sharing tips and success stories from their careers.
Date: 8 March 2018
Time: 7pm – 10pm
Location: WeWork Beach Centre
Drinks, light bites, and great music will be served, so drop by to meet the amazing community of creators at WeWork! RSVP now and see you there!