WorkzSpace, Penang’s newest co-working space provider, has partnered with BizTech Times to jointly-launch a Tech Start-Up Dialogue Series that was recently held at G Hotel Kelawai. It was a fruitful dialogue session to promote digital transformation, to identify common entrepreneurial challenges, but most importantly, to learn the ropes of what it takes to be a successful start-up. 

In our inaugural edition of Tech Start-Up Dialogue Series #1, we were privileged to have three young panellists – Akmal Amir, founder of ADA Biotech Sdn Bhd, Jin Kun Yong, founder of Re:Crave, and Khoo Kay Sen, founder of Spots Logistics. All three entrepreneurs took the plunge and built their businesses from scratch. They openly shared their uphill battles and challenges faced as entrepreneurs, and also the various business strategies taken to navigate through tough times. Surprisingly, none of them ever attended business school during their university days. Instead, they were trained as engineers!

For Akmal, his venture into ADA Biotech was born out of passion to create a sustainable future for all. Through his prior career exposure to recycling industry, Akmal decided to make a difference by reinventing the humble straw into a biodegradable version that helps preserve our ecology.

Khoo, founder of Spots Logistic found his calling as a tech entrepreneur after he helped implement an ERP system for his family business. With the acquired knowledge in coding and implementing a digital platform, Khoo successfully identified an unfulfilled demand in the industry within logistics of small palette deliveries (LTL and LCL). Today, he aims to simplify deliveries by making logistics easy to manage and operate. In his start-up journey sharing session, Khoo stressed the importance of building a strong network within the start-up fraternity in order to lean on each other for mutual support and encouragement.

For Jin Kun Yong, his early career as a national taekwondo athlete representing Malaysia at regional and international competitions exposed him to leadership and the importance of building and leaving behind a legacy for future generations to emulate. After attaining success in martial arts to the extent to which others can follow, Jin switched his career path and founded Re:Crave, an e-commerce platform that revolutionises gifting. Despite setbacks and numerous challenges such as fund raising, Yong always reminds himself the raison d’être of his entrepreneurship journey and that is to create an illustrious legacy.

During the dialogue session, each panellist was asked to share their biggest challenge so far in their entrepreneurial journey. For Akmal, the fixation on low pricing amongst most Malaysian companies has been the biggest stumbling block to increase sales traction. In Khoo’s case, managing and inspiring a competent team to achieve organisational goals is the hardest. As for Yong, his main concern is funding which boils down to the ‘Chicken or Egg’ quandary. But they concurred that finding a solution to the customer’s problem is crucial. All in all, the entrepreneurs stressed to “never give up in pursuing one’s passion”.

Road Bumps Ahead

An entrepreneurial journey will often be fraught with challenges and obstacles. But all three panellists at BizTech Times’ inaugural dialogue have demonstrated that with perseverance, sound financial planning, strategic partnerships, and strong support from government agencies, we can build successful businesses. By learning from their experiences, aspiring entrepreneurs can anticipate the challenges and overcome the hurdles with renewed determination.