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Bold Young Entrepreneurs: Redeeming their dream and business opportunities through target marketing Posted: 21 June 2016; Category: Campus

Recently, I was invited to moderate an Entrepreneurship session in the Networking Day 4.0 co-organised by Putra Business School and UNITEN. Thinking of MBA students as my target audience, I decided to focus on “young” entrepreneurs to remain relevant. Most of us have an entrepreneurship dream, but commonly, it remains a dream. Why? It is simply because we humans are risk-averse by nature.

While we often believe that entrepreneurship brings us wealth, we tend to neglect the hardship journey one would need to go through. This was my objective – getting the speakers to share their journey on how the whole entrepreneurship idea got started. I had invited three speakers from different backgrounds. Everyone had their own story to tell.

Bold Young Entrepreneurs: Redeeming their dream and business opportunities through target marketing

(from left) Brian, Alexandra, Amir, Aw at the entrepreneurial session on Networking Day 4.0. Brian had invited the three speakers from different backgrounds for the occasion.

Aw Tai Hau, a 26-year-old Kelantanese, who co-founded Pott Glasses was my first speaker. His company produces chic eyewear with a specific niche target market of Asian faces. The company’s business model is rather unique for a start-up where in that CSR was planned within the business framework itself – CSR is just a “nice to have” activity when profits are gained. The company’s “One for One” campaign (fir every pair of glasses sold, they donate one to the underprivileged) reminds us as a corporate citizen, to bring back the human element into our business. This young entrepreneur understood that the marketspace do not consist just the buyer and seller, but of society as a whole.

Amir Hasan, my second speaker, co-founded AisKosong, a student discount mobile application. Targeting the university student market, the app provides access to student-specific deals and discounts, with a community that grows about 15% on a weekly basis. The company is currently going through a rebranding exercise, with the intention to be the region’s first digital student portal that provides access to both  physical and online student discount. The bold move of this new start-up is in its business model of competing in the “soon to be saturated” mobile application market.

My last speaker was not a business entrepreneur per se, but a writer who had decided at a young age to leave her lucrative-paying job at a Fortune 500 company. Alexandra Wong is a columnist at The Star and has just recently published her first book, entitled Made in Malaysia. Why is she relevant? Her risky decision on switching profession is similar, if not the same, to a new start-up entrepreneurial decision. Freelance writing is a form of business. Her writing philosophy sets her business model, and her writing style determines her target market. Eric Forbes, a Senior Editor of MPH Group Publishing, in his testimony to Alex says:

“Alexandra Wong is a writer with a refreshing perspective of the planet. As a writer, she is inspiring, with a hint of humour and charm. Her stories are very human.

– she writes from the heart and soul.”

Bold Young Entrepreneurs: Redeeming their dream and business opportunities through target marketing

Bold marketing perhaps is best to describe this category of entrepreneurs. Regardless of their different backgrounds, I have observed FIVE key similarities among them – in making a risky entrepreneurial decision at a young age:

  • They know themselves.
  • They are able to realise their passions into business ideas.
  • They are observant, able to identify business opportunities and match them with their business ideas.
  • They are bold in taking the first step to connect with the market (perhaps most people fail to progress further from here).
  • They create their own marketspace.
  • They are vigilant, persistent, and passionate in the business they are building on.

And above all, the ability in them to recognise their strengths and in addressing their weaknesses is simply being human.

This ability to act on conscience and be guided by a higher purpose will shape these young entrepreneurs to who will be/ They will redeem their dream and business opportunities through target marketing – a Oneness, Wholeness and Excellence and beauty of the human spirit.

The article was further edited and published in The Edge Financial Daily on 24 May 2016.

About the author

Dr Brian K M Wong is a Marketing Specialist in PBS (Putra Business School), formerly known as the Graduate School of Management, UPM. He is also a change agent, specialises in Marketing, Strategy, and Management.