Celebrating International Women’s Month, we speak to Amelia Ng, CEO of Olea, our fully digitized trade finance origination and distribution platform, which takes a radically transparent approach to partnering with both suppliers and investors to drive meaningful impact in the global economy. In our latest interview, Amelia shares her views on what she believes it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, how she approaches biases along her founder journey, and the advice she would give her younger self – and budding entrepreneurs embarking on their venture journey.
What are three qualities you need to have to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: There is no one fixed secret formula to be a successful venture entrepreneur. Rather, it is a combination of factors and qualities… and eventually, the stars need to be aligned for the magic to happen! But if I had to narrow it down to three qualities, I would say firstly, at its core, one needs to be able to ‘connect the dots’. The birth of many start-ups begins with that one breakthrough idea designed to solve a particular gap or need in the market and this often comes when you are able to connect seemingly unrelated ‘dots’ to create opportunities. However, joining the dots isn’t a finite exercise but rather, must be an ongoing one, as we reflect, course correct and re-adjust based on new information and developments. It really is a dynamic process!
Secondly, you need courage (and lots of it!) It is a long road to bring a breakthrough idea to fruition to build a new business. So smile, keep your chin up, don’t be afraid to laugh at your mistakes (but learn from them) and have fun.
Be honest and fair – that is fundamental to all that I do and what Olea stands for as an organisation. Our aim is to build lasting and strong relationships with our clients, partners and team.
Amelia Ng and the Olea management team at dinner
What has helped you overcome any gender bias along your venture journey?
A: I have 7 brothers/ cousins and being the only daughter in the family trained me from an early age to be comfortable being the ‘minority’ and to be courageous in fighting for my voice to be heard. But in truth, it isn’t just gender bias that limits us from getting the best ideas and the best outcomes for all our stakeholder groups. Giving everyone (regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion) an equal opportunity to be heard allows us to give of our very best. To do this, we must continue to foster a community that is open, encouraging and respectful of one another. I am fortunate to have such a community – my team, friends and family who aren’t just a sounding board and empathetic listening ear but oftentimes, a ‘mirror’ who hold me accountable and help me become a better human being.
Amelia Ng speaking to Standard Chartered’s INEDs at the SC Ventures office
What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self when you started your venture journey? Any advice for other budding female entrepreneurs?
A: Authenticity and being true to yourself is important. We need to trust our instincts as women and to not be afraid to pursue what we truly believe in. Afterall, if we can’t be our own most vocal advocates, how can we expect anyone else to believe in our vision and start-up ambitions?
Olea team in office
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