Sunday September 20, 2009
Minding their own business
By ALYCIA LIM
CASHING in on public fear of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, four friends decided to find an easy solution to make a quick buck.
Loh Ji Yuan, Andrew Dwipa Kencana, Derek Ooi, and Sami Parvez decided to use soluble vitamin C pills, dropped them into bottled water and sold them chilled. The drink not only helped prevent the flu but was also a thirst quencher.“Even staff members bought our drinks, but we were later told to move our business out of campus because of the institution’s rules.”
It is precisely this boldness and ingenuity that Ji Yuan reckoned an entrepreneur needs for success.
“If you want to do something, just do it. Don’t question all the ‘what if’s’ because if you do, it will never happen.”
The four started their first entrepreneurial project by binding assignments for students in their campus.
“We all have to get our assignments bound anyway, so why not make some money out of it?” said Ji Yuan.
Within six months, their initial capital of RM100 grew 10-fold.
Apart from that, these young opportunists are also always updated on the latest issues, to keep up with what is in demand.
Ji Yuan said, “Being part of the student council in my college, I get to meet lots of international students and I take the time and initiative to make friends with them. I have built some contacts in countries like Africa, Hong Kong and India.” When he feels there is an chance of a project, he jumps on it.
“I know for example, that electronic gadgets in Africa are very expensive and outdated. So there is an avenue there to sell products to Africans who come here.”
On juggling his sideline venture with studies and his parents’ expectations, Ji Yuan did not find it a big issue.
“My father encourages me to be entrepreneurial, but my mother is more results-oriented. So in order to keep her happy I show her the results she wants to see.”
Andrew agreed with his partner, saying, “Although my mother always tells me to focus more on my studies, I know that she secretly tells my dad how proud she is of what I am doing.”
For Deric Lim Chee Yong, co-founder of Logic Factory, the spirit of entrepreneurship has always been running in his blood.
Now in the midst of producing a Workflow Management System with his partner, Deric says, “I started when I was in Form Three. At that time, a lot of students were interested in Magic Cards, so what I did was I bought a lot of them to sell.”
Since then, he has been involved in an SMS gateway system, a T-shirt printing business, selling corporate gifts and flower bouquets, and even set up a food catering system that provided a consistent flow of income.
“I didn’t really have to do much for this, all I did was set up the system, coordinate it, and source for the caterer. It was fully automated after I set it up, and I was getting about RM1,000 a month.”
After graduating, Deric started up a name card company which he eventually sold, and is now focused on more IT-related projects.
At 26, Deric confesses, “I love what I am doing, and I don’t think I will ever quit this to work for a multinational corporation.
Banking on brains