Book on local entrepreneurs to inspire, raise funds for youth in underserved communities

SINGAPORE – Ms Cynthia Chua’s first job was at a bank, right after she graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in economics and statistics in 1993.

Her work involved marketing corporate credit cards, but she soon realised it was not for her.

“When I experienced the corporate environment – so much gossip and politics – I was very quick to say it was not for me,” said Ms Chua, 48.

And so in 1996, she started her first business, Spa Esprit, in Holland Village.


Ms Cynthia Chua started her first business, Spa Esprit, in Holland Village in 1996. PHOTO: ST FILE

She now has a total of 16 brands to her name, ranging from beauty chains Browhaus and Strip to food outlet Tiong Bahru Bakery.

She is one of 17 local entrepreneurs featured in a new book launched on Wednesday (Sept 23) that aims to inspire and encourage young people to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset.

The book explores the life stories and the challenges faced by these local men and women, as well as how they overcame the odds to create a name for themselves.

Those featured include Mr Charles Wong, founder of Charles and Keith, and Eu Yan Sang founder Richard Eu.

The book is titled Entrepreneurship Unlimited and is an in-house publication by Halogen Foundation (Singapore), which is a charity and an Institution of a Public Character founded in 2003.

The virtual book launch was held on Wednesday to raise funds for Halogen’s work in sponsoring entrepreneurial programmes for youth from underserved communities, including students in the Normal stream and students on financial assistance schemes.

The book costs $30 and can now be pre-ordered.

Members of the public may purchase it for themselves or choose a “pay it forward” option to buy and donate the books to the charity. They will then be distributed to youth in Halogen’s programmes.

The foundation said an entrepreneurial mindset is “an attitude and way of seeing challenge and opportunity, essential to navigating obstacles in work and life”.

“As the speed of change accelerates, so must our abilities to think of solutions and opportunities when roadblocks come our way,” it added.

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is one of the key components for our youth to be better prepared for their futures.”

Said Ms Chua: “Even though I’m never sure if a new business idea will work, I’m not afraid to try because to me, an idea is like a prototype. You just need to keep tweaking it till it works.”

Halogen Foundation focuses on building young leaders and entrepreneurs, and aims to make quality leadership and entrepreneurship education available to all young people regardless of background, race, income or religion.

It looks out particularly for those who are disadvantaged, coming from challenging family backgrounds and/or are in need of financial assistance.

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