Over the years of entrepreneurship in Malaysia, it would seem that the women are really coming out on top! With promising figures like Vivy Yusof of FashionValet, Raeesa Sya of Bfab and Tan Hooi Ling of Grab – the world of entrepreneurship certainly has lots to look forward to from these women.
In fact, women entrepreneurs have shown so much promise in Malaysia that for the Budget 2017, a whopping amount of RM2 billion has been allocated for I-KIT, I-KeuNita and Women Career Comeback programmes; and another RM20 million for Chinese women entrepreneurs to take microcredit loans under the Malaysian Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Foundation.
Vivy Yusof founded FashionValet, together with her husband in 2010 with only RM100K from savings and borrowings. After returning from their studies in the UK, they realised the lack of online shopping options in Malaysia, so they decided to work with talented local designers, curating a host of labels for fashion savvy females, and thus FashionValet was formed.
Although Vivy runs her own business, she advocates the importance of education, often telling her young readers “to not take education and exams lightly”. She encourages everyone who wants to have a business one day to go for it, “but people tend to see the good and the successful side of things. They don’t see the bad, the crying and the hardship that every entrepreneur goes through”.
Bfab, which stands for “be fabulous”, offers real-time, 24/7 booking of professional beauty services such as hair, massage, spa, nail, waxing etc. The company raised a six-digit seed funding, even before it was launched. Bfab’s main competitive advantage is its real-time booking ability. Working closely with service providers, it allows customers to get instant confirmation of booking and also allows customers to access the salon’s calendar to check for open slots for quick tidying within the next 30mins.
Raeesa Sya feels that there so many opportunities in Malaysia “that anyone can make it if they work hard and smart enough. Being the next generation of Malaysians, we should be the ones realising the potential of better Malaysia and work towards it.” Raeesa founded and sold (before it was launch) the startup Lulu before working on Bfab with the other 2 co-founders.
Tan Hooi Ling
Rather than being called the COO, Tan Hooi Ling of Grab prefers to be seen as the “plumber” of Grab. What started out as MyTeksi , Grab has now grown into Southeast Asia’s leading ride-sharing platform. It continues to transform the way we commute with Grabcar for private car hire, GrabHitch, a carpooling service and newer services such as GrabBike and GrabExpress.
Tan worked full-time to fulfil her education bond while working part-time on Grab. That required her shuttling back and forth between Malaysia and UK, working hard at both jobs. She persevered and found ways to manage it.
Grab, not only provides new ways of commuting, it also gives power to anyone who wants to improve their own livelihoods and change their lives. For example, there is a 22-year old female student who rented a car on the weekends to work as a GrabCar driver, to supplement the household income of her single-parent family. She says “Now, we have the ability to redefine who can be a driver and who can earn money on our platform. It provides more options for individuals like the girl”.
With sheer hard work and a goal in mind, these successful female entrepreneurs of Malaysia have brought their passions to life, in their businesses. From Vivy Yusof to Raeesa Sya to Tan Hooi Ling, Malaysia boasts many more successful female entrepreneurs – and we at TheBizJuice cannot wait to see more!
Editor’s note: In no order of merit, this list is in no way comprehensive, so please do reach out to us at ‘Share Your Juices’ if you feel we may have left out any other deserving names.