Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form a vital component of the Malaysian economy. Contributing to over 38% of the country’s GDP, SMEs form over 97% of the total number of business establishments and employ around 70% of the workforce in Malaysia. The people behind it all are, of course, entrepreneurs. The daring visionaries who had sketched the outlines of their next great venture on a canvas of ambition and determination and then transfigured those ideas to reality. Spoilt for choice as it may be, here’s Top 10 of Malaysia’s random list of the top 10 most dynamic and inspiring young entrepreneurs of Malaysia under the age of 40.
Fiqa Liyana Chong
Fiqa is a face that will no doubt be familiar to many as apart from being the founder of FIQS, a company that produces comfortable, foldable footwear, she’s also a prolific TV commercial talent – appearing in over 30 commercials over the past decade. FIQS has expanded to Hong Kong and is looking to add yet more creative designs to its line of flats.
It’s easy to see why FIQS’ products have caught on. Made of cow leather for durability and designed with an emphasis on fit and comfort, Fiqa goes the extra mile to ensure the quality of her company’s product, as it is something she uses herself.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Jewel Ling has written countless beautiful tomes. With a portfolio that is able to boast the likes of Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 2 winner, Sheena Liam, Jewel is a gem in the Malaysian photography realm that continues to shine on.
The proud owner of her own photography studio, Prounited, Jewel provides an exclusive platform for professional new age and influential photographers to dispense their knowledge both locally and internationally. She seeks to connect to photographic society on a personal level, in the hopes that it will cultivate and refine a new level of photography now and in the time to come.
Overflowing with personality and genuine congeniality, Jessie Chong just gives off the vibe of a good time. It’s only fitting then that she founded Boozeat, the largest alcohol eCommerce start-up in Malaysia and among the top 5 in Southeast Asia. Having sold Boozeat, Jessie now focuses her efforts on her e-commerce consulting company and operating Headspace, a co-working space in Subang Jaya.
She also spends her time mentoring students enrolled with Taylor’s Team Entrepreneurship, sharing her experiences with them and giving them invaluable guidance as they seek to one day build successes of their own.
Aw Tai Hau / Eden Hoong
Aw Tai Hau and Eden Hoong are the entrepreneurial spirits behind Pott Glasses. Producing chic eyewear equipped with the ‘Asian Fit’, they understand the unique demands Asian features require and have created Pott Glasses to fit exactly those.
With a variety of designs on offer, Pott Glasses will have you looking your best. The dynamic duo also have a heart for social causes, fronting the ‘A Pair For Those In Need’ project that provided glasses to kids in Kelantan free of charge in the aftermath of the 2014 floods.
Jin Xi Cheong
An avid drone enthusiast since the age of 14, Jin Xi Cheong started Poladrone in 2016 with visions of bringing drone technology to commercial industries. Since rebranded as Aonic, the company started off using drones to increase efficiency in Malaysian palm oil plantations and crop farms.
It now functions as an all-in-one drone solutions provider for enterprises that are looking to modernise their operations and streamline their workflow processes. A fixture in the commercial drone industry, Jin Xi Cheong’s example affirms that you can turn your passion into a living.
Harmini Asokumar used to be a communications executive who did online marketing for her company. Prior to that, she tried on many hats – being a fashion and home products buyer at one point and a writer at another. While still employed, Harmini threw herself into her online business outside of her 9 am to 6 pm office hours.
Disliking the lack of flexibility and feeling the constraint on her ideas and creativity, she chose to dare and strike out on her own and start Deeper than Fashion. That decision has paid off not just financially but also bought her that most priceless of commodities, freedom.
Teoh Jiun Ee, or JT as he’s more often known, founded Carsome at the age of just 25. A car-purchasing e-commerce platform, Carsome allows users to compare extensively between models and prices to ensure they’re getting exactly what they’re looking for – all on one convenient platform.
Having expanded to Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, Carsome is well on its way to achieving its aim of becoming the undisputed number one car-selling platform in the Southeast Asian region. With such a dynamic presence spearheading the company, you wouldn’t want to bet against them.
The Petaling Jaya area is awash with burger shacks but none perhaps so well-known for its mouth-watering charcoal buns as myBurgerLab. The brainchild of Wee Kiat, the young entrepreneur had known since his high school days that building a business was his calling. In fact, he’d already been running a small CD customisation business back then.
Now a seasoned businessman with some invaluable experience under his belt, his entrepreneurial zeal has shown no signs of abating, with Wee Kiat having since gone on to start OpsNinja, alongside Chok Leang Ooi, the CEO of AgilityIO.
Sherlyn Tan registered Twenty3 when she was 23. The name was a reminder to Sherlyn Tan from herself to never give up on her dreams of building a movement that would in turn empower other dreamers everywhere. Made for the woman on the go, Twenty3 has you covered every part of your day.
From work to workouts, to a night out with the girls, Twenty3 makes that transition as smooth as can be. From their humble studio in Petaling Jaya, their collections saw the runways of KL Fashion Week in 2015 and 2016 as well as making appearances internationally.
VapeClubMy is a vape flavour subscription service founded by Jeannette Goon. Offering a wide variety of flavours, VapeClubMy has all the traditional favourites alongside Malaysian delights such as teh o ais limau and durian. The company has gone from strength to strength since its inception and now ships flavours to over 30 places worldwide, including the faraway shores of Macau, Norway, and Russia.
Meeting co-founder Jeremy Ong through NEXT Academy’s Web Development Bootcamp, it was there that she found a kindred spirit with the technical skills to build to help build VapeClubMy into what it is today.