Published 14 March 2016 Category: Startups

Female Entrepreneurs in Hong Kong Share Business Advice

According to BNP Paribas’ Global Entrepreneurialism Report, Hong Kong, India and France reportedly have the most favorable environments for female entrepreneurs, with over half of its entrepreneurs being female. The average in the 17 markets surveyed by the study comes in around 37 percent. (For those curious, Taiwan, Singapore and Belgium rank low in levels of female entrepreneurship, hovering around 20 per cent.)

As reports like this are often contested and divisive – many may argue that Hong Kong, while conducive to business, faces other inequalities in the workforce –we wonder what obstacles female founders and entrepreneurs face in Hong Kong and what they’ve learned along the way. We polled successful women from different industries and asked them about their experiences working in Hong Kong.

They share their advice, as female entrepreneurs based in Hong Kong.

Anita Chan, Co-Founder of Sam the Local

Co-founded by Anita Chan and Maggie Lau, Hong Kong-based startup Sam the Local connects people to a Hong Kong local for customized, interest-based outings, for those who are either residents looking for something new or in town for a few days. Chan, who hails from California, left a full-time marketing job to start the startup with business partner Lau in 2014.

Here are her tips for starting out:

“If you are looking to start a business, it's best to pick something you are passionate about. When you are working the longer hours, it will definitely feel worthwhile. Also, don't be afraid to share your idea with others. They can give you feedback, helpful suggestions, and even connections that you could use to develop and grow your business,” says Chan.

Connect with Anita: Linkedin Twitter

Jennifer Cheung, Founder and CEO of Glam-it!

Born and raised in the U.S., Cheung started her career in New York as an actress before moving to Hong Kong to study for her MBA at HKUST in 2008. She then held managerial roles at Rackspace before moving on to becoming Vice President of uBuyiBuy and Vice President of BEE CRAZY. She launched her brand, Glam-it, a fashion and lifestyle technology brand in 2013. Its trademark product, a compact makeup case is available at fine retailers including Harvey Nichols.

Throuhgout it all, Cheung places huge value on building a strong network.

“I've experienced many challenges when starting my own company, the biggest being people and finding the right core team with the combination of skills and mindset. I've been immensely lucky in that I have a circle of mentors and advisors, as well as a core team, and also supporters who've helped strengthen me when I've needed them. I cannot stress the importance of having such a network and maintaining this very network by always doing whatever possible to help others where I could add value, and provide them the incentive and the opportunity to reciprocate,” says Cheung.

Connect with Jennifer: Linkedin Twitter

Yosha Gupta, Founder of Lafalafa

When Gupta first reached Hong Kong seven years ago, she says she could count the number of startups on one hand. Now she sees an increase in accelerators, co-working spaces and startups as well as a shift in mentality. Gupta, who hails from India, recently decide to expand her e-coupon aggregator startup Lafalafato Hong Kong earlier this year, due to the fast pace of the ecommerce market. Lafalafa will be the first cashback player to launch in the area and has receieved investment from 500 Startups.

“The biggest challenge has definitely been building a team and finding people with the right DNA: commitment, resilience and hustle in equal measures is what an early stage startup needs and it took a while to find people with those traits. Being an entrepreneur is quite an emotional pendulum and one definitely doubts oneself very often. The best way of dealing with this is to have a support system of other startup founders. Women always have so many demands on their time that I often see them ignore this aspect. And always remember to pay it forward and help other entrepreneurs especially other women entrepreneurs,” says Gupta.

And regardless of gender, for any entrepreneur, Gupta says the most important piece of advice is to just “take the plunge and work the hardest you’ve ever worked.

Connect with Yosha: Linkedin Twitter

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