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SEA's Millennipreneurs: Business Titans

SEA's Millennipreneurs: Business Titans
SEA's Millennipreneurs: Business Titans

Growing up as a "third culture kid", I knew I wanted to run my own business, but I never imagined that in three short years I would be a CEO off a kick-ass, international tech startup called Mailbird. Nor did I think I'd be recognized as one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.

But I am not the only one smashing the glass ceiling and changing the face of start-ups. According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, which surveyed "high net" entrepreneurs from 18 different countries, companies owned by Millennial women reported 22% higher revenues. Yip. Despite our age and "lack of experience", female entrepreneurs are bringing home bigger profit margins than anyone else.
Andrea, CEO of Mailbird, at Livit Tech Startup Co-Working Villas in Bali
Andrea, CEO of Mailbird, at Livit Tech Startup Co-Working Villas in Bali

Let's look at how we are doing it - and most importantly how Southeast Asia Millennial entrepreneurial women (MEW's) are disrupting business as we know it.

1. Millennipreneurs Know How to Hustle

A trait I have noticed amongst female entrepreneurs like myself is our tenacious mindset. Once we have a vision, we do whatever it takes to build a killer business. So it's not surprising to me that 43% of millennial women have used their personal savings to start a business. No matter how small that initial amount was, the fact that they took that risk is impressive.
And while the majority of us are still sourcing funds from external sources - this doesn't mean we aren't taking on risk or hustling just as hard.
I spent hours with business partners, investors and "the crowd" ( a.k.a my network and target customers of Mailbird) to generate enough capital to get my business off its feet.
Women changing the world
Women changing the world

2. Millennial Women Are More Ambitious

If you thought to invest our own money into business ventures was enough to fuel our tenacity - think again. Women entrepreneurs predicted a 61% increase in profits and that stat is highest amongst millennials. Three-quarters of women surveyed said that they anticipated an increase over the next 12 months and expected a profit margin of 35% for 2015, compared to the average of 31%. Grace Clapham is one of the leading female entrepreneurs from Singapore who is smashing the glass ceiling with all her achievements.
In 2014, she won the "Inspirational Leadership" award at the global Talent Unleashed Awards judged by Sir Richard Branson and has been the lead curator for TEDx Singapore Women for three years in a row! And that's just tipping the iceberg on her impressive CV.

3. We Aren't Afraid to Take a Chance On Our Big Idea

It's important to be fearless. That is how we create progress within a business. Southeast Asia has been more traditional in the sense where men take the role of starting a business and executing their ideas. Today, MEWs are becoming more and more common. And we aren't afraid to take a chance on our big idea. 20 - 34-year-olds are more inclined to set up a new business than our parents. And it not just one great idea on our road to success, millennials surveyed launched on average 7.7 companies. This shows our fearlessness to get the ball moving. It is why we have Southeast Asia female entrepreneurs like Rosaline Chow Koo. She launched Asia's first insurance and wellness marketplace in 2014 and her big idea is expected to hit over 500 firms and 100,000 users before year-end.

4. Millennial Women Are Putting a Dent In That Infamous Wage Gap

Women around the world have a lot to deal with in the workplace. But Southeast Asia has its own complexities. According to the latest statistics by the UN, 70% of women in Southeast Asia are employed in agriculture. But millennial women from these countries like myself are putting in a lot of work to change this. It's why countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia now find themselves in the top for economies to have more female entrepreneurs than men. And it's why the wage gap has narrowed by 6% from 2012. Millennial women from Southeast Asia and all over the world are not accepting the inequalities of the past. We are trailblazing our way to equal pay.

5. We Have That Indisputable "IT" Factor

The world is a different place from when our parents were just starting out in the business world. Since the '90s more and more women have started rejecting societal stereotypes and embraced the power suit. The rise of women empowerment around the world, but especially in Southeast Asia countries, has turned a generation of millennial girls into driven, determined and resourceful young women. It is what has shaped us into the amazing female leaders and entrepreneurs we are today. A perfect example of this can be seen with Amutha Saravanan, co-founder of the Da Vinci Group from Singapore. She combined her love for pottery into a novel business idea by realizing the numerous benefits clay can have on the human psyche. After becoming pregnant, she then embraced this new part of her femininity by creating another successful spin-off venture called BellyPotTM, a product under Amooo's. There is an exciting movement in women striving to be great leaders, to build great things, and to fight for what they want. This mindset has already penetrated Western or European cultures and now it's bleeding into the far east. Women in Southeast Asia are killin' it and more and more are destroying that glass ceiling. In the words immortalized by one of the most badass female entrepreneurs in the world: "Who run the world? Girls."

Share your story or the story of a badass female entrepreneur you know in the comments section below. These stories of women who just went for it creates an inclusive community and support system. Sharing these stories encourages more women to be bold and take that first step, to start businesses that help people around the world. Awesome.

This post was originally published on as republished here, with permission of the author Andrea Loubier.