Not all entrepreneurs come from business backgrounds, but that does not mean that they will would never succeed - these are the people who made that happen.

Samantha Tay  |  Singapore
Published 2016-11-22 10:17:39

Anyone would tell you that being an entrepreneur is no joke.

Parents warn you against giving up a steady income, and friends advise you against entering the already saturated startup scene. And then, you have your biggest critic of all – yourself.

There are always 1o1 things to worry about. Do you have a good market-product fit? Do you have the funding to run the show? And perhaps the most worrying question of all. Do you have the business acumen necessary to run your own company?

While worrying about the ‘what ifs’, people fail to realise that all startup founders started from the bottom as well, with some even have zero to none business experience even as they launched their brand.

Here are the entrepreneurs who came from having no business experience, to proving that an entrepreneur can be made out of anyone.

1. Lawyer

Image Credit: katjuju
Image Credit: katjuju

Kendra Liew is the founder of Katfood, a local cosmetics brand that prides itself on organic skincare products at affordable prices. Having only been professionally trained as a lawyer, one of Liew’s worries was the fact that she had zero business experience.

But that tiny fact did nothing to deter her. Working with the most basic of tools and learning everything on the go, Liew managed to get her brand to take off.

2. and 3. Activist Campaigners

Image Credit: Roslyn Teng, Made Real
Image Credit: Roslyn Teng, Made Real

Robin Lim and Roslyn Teng are the founders of Made Real, a healthy living subscription box that seeks to encourage Singaporeans to “be better versions of themselves“.

Made Real was not a planned business, but rather, developed from their campaigns of raising awareness for body image problems. But after Made Real took off, neither of them have looked back since.

4. Model

Image Credit: techinasia
Image Credit: techinasia

Stephanie Chai gave up her cushy, high-flying, modelling career to become an entrepreneur in an industry she knew nothing about – tourism and hospitality.

Today, The Luxe Nomad is one of the top travel flash sales sites that has partnerships in over 400 resorts in Asia and Europe. Despite her lack of experience, Chai has become an extremely successful businesswoman, with even people looking up to her for tips on entrepreneurship.

5. Student

Image Credit: Jian Rong Teo LinkedIn
Image Credit: Jian Rong Teo LinkedIn

Serial entrepreneur Teo Jian Rong started planning for his future in entrepreneurship when he was only 11, and at 16, he started his first company.

His brain never stopped working, and he was often wrought with insomnia when the ideas came at night. Today, he is the co-founder of Imprintee, Inderr, and EDGE startups, where he and his team provide tech help for startups without technical founders.

6. Chef

Image Credit: streetfoodwarmsyourheart
Image Credit: streetfoodwarmsyourheart

Janice Wong is a finance graduate-turned-chef-turned-entrepreneur who is reinventing desserts in Singapore as edible art.

And when I say art, I do mean art. Wong is known for her full-sized edible installations such as marshmallow ceilings and gumdropcovered walls. Meanwhile, she continues to make people very happy with her avant-garde desserts at the very popular 2am Dessert Bar in Singapore.

7. School Dropout

Image Credit: Ngee Ann Poly
Image Credit: Ngee Ann Poly

Douglas Gan is a prime example of how someone who is a true entrepreneur will always get back up again.

A self-made millionaire at 23 from running his own Internet company, Gan lost every last cent when the market crashed in 2007. However, his complete bankruptcy did not stop him. He immediately started picking up the pieces and today, he is the founder of ShowNearby and a co-founder of Vanity Trove.

8. Investment Banker

Image Credit: e27
Image Credit: e27

Gabriel Fong had a steady career as an investment banker for 20 years – until he decided to give it up for entrepreneurship. Fong started off as an angel investor for GoGoVan and later helmed it as executive chairman, all within 2013.

By 2015, Fong had founded his own company – Jaarvis Labs, a company that fuels technological innovations and disruptions.

You Don’t Need A Degree In Business To Start Up

Not everyone can become an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneur can definitely come from any background.

So when someone tells you that you can’t make that startup dream of yours come true because you don’t have an MBA – show them these successful examples.

Featured Image Credit: dailyvanity, compassloft, mentors.qlc, elle, edgesociety, theworlds50best, techinasia

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