Melvin Poh, Founder of The Asian Entrepreneur

entrepreneur, asian entrepreneur


The Asian Entrepreneur is a leading digital publication that is internationally well-known for its focus on Asian entrepreneurship and the developments in the Asian startup scene. The publication currently boasts the largest collection of content and knowledge on the subject matter and has worked extensively with numerous governmental and non-profit organisations in hosting events and services that supplement the Asian startup scene. Today, we have the pleasure of speaking to Melvin Poh, the founder of the publication, about his experiences with the business.

How did you come up with the idea for your The Asian Entrepreneur?
In my experience, many people often expect a fantastic story featuring some form of divine epiphany but they would be disappointed to discover that the reality of how our company actually started is actually far from grandiose. In truth, The Asian Entrepreneur actually started as a side project that was born from a combination of personal experience, observation and experimentation. I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and have been involved with various projects in Asia. In my experience, there have always been a lot of difficulties facing Asian entrepreneurs but the biggest challenge at that point in time was the difficulty in accessing crucial knowledge and information that was conducive to learning for individuals interested in the Asian startup scene. There was a lack of authoritative and efficient resources and there simply was an overarching informational cascade. Thus the problem was discovered. It was when I was pursuing my business studies at Harvard University where I was exposed to a very interesting model of learning whereby there was a heavy emphasis on building acumen on a direct exchange of experiences. I quickly realized that rather than limit this model of learning to academia, it could also be transposed into a media format where an exchange of insights can also highly facilitated and immensely valuable. Thus, my partners and I decided to take the plunge to develop this vision of ours, which ultimately resulted in The Asian Entrepreneur today.

Did you ever anticipate the growth of The Asian Entrepreneur?
Yes and no. Yes in the sense that this was a “market-pull” venture as such we expected there would be some reception if executed well because by its nature at the outset, The Asian Entrepreneur sought to address existing problems in the market at the time. Nevertheless, no in the sense that we did not expect that The Asian Entrepreneur as a brand would grow so rapidly, become recognized internationally and be so positively integrated into the Asian startup ecosystem.

What has been the greatest achievement with The Asian Entrepreneur so far?
We’ve had a lot of great achievements that I am personally very proud of. Indeed, it is actually rather difficult to pick and confine myself to one selection. I will say that overall, the greatest sense of achievement would be to see how The Asian Entrepreneur has grown from a largely unrecognized media company that found it difficult to produce content to survive, had barely any opportunities to work with stakeholders to the company today which actively works with countless established content producers, governmental bodies and notable business organisations on a daily basis in advancing the Asian startup scene. In regards to the latter, there have been numerous occasions where we have been involved in governmental initiatives and events that is targeted at the Asian startup scene and to have this opportunity at all has been a great personal privilege.

Are there any perks to being the founder of The Asian Entrepreneur?
If you mean an exclusive personal benefit that I get to enjoy being the founder, not really. Quite the opposite, there are a lot of expectations which come with the job. Having built ourselves into an authoritative player in the Asian startup scene and one that is spearheading the knowledge gap, the community expects a lot from us and vis-a-vis sometimes they expect a lot from me as well. Nevertheless, it is good pressure; one that keeps things interesting and one that pushes you to grow personally.

What’s your best advice for other entrepreneurs who are starting a business?
Don’t limit yourself and don’t define yourself. Understand that most of the time, if you decide to do something radically different, you will be misunderstood but that is perfectly acceptable. Be dedicated to your passion and stay true to yourself. There are no failures if you committed to learn from everything.

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