Tag Archives: SME

59 seconds with… Jovita Lo

Jovita Lo

Jovita Lo

Jovita Lo
Chief Planner
Jovita Lo Weddings

Her website declared: “We know the expected and the unexpected… we can tell you if you are getting the right value for your money.” Wonder if she was referring to the event or about the bride or bridegroom?

Ever-enterprising, Lo started Jovita Lo Weddings in 2004 after having went through the ordeals of planning her own wedding occasion. “It was stressful,” she declared.

What services do you offer?

“We provide wedding planning services; our team helps couples to plan, coordinate and execute their wedding preparations and the wedding day itself with pinpoint precision.

“We strive to make every wedding event an enjoyable and memorable occasion for the couple, their family and the guests attending the celebrations. Our strength is our attention to detail, being focus on each client and having established strong vendor relationships.”

What brings tears to a wedding planner?

“Wedding planners like me often have to help the couple out as they often become overwhelmed with all the details and specifics of individual tasks involved in each wedding event.

“We need to have plenty of patience, be attentive to customers’ demands and be prepared to pick up a situation and help out. We have to flexible in making crucial decisions on the spot, especially on the day of the event.

Why do you continue to do what you are doing?

“Anytime the bride and groom come up to me to show their appreciation after a wedding event, it makes me feel proud that I was part of their big day and that I have contributed towards its success.

“It is a great thing to become a part of peoples most cherished memories and that I did my best to ensure that the wedding day would become the foundation for an amazing future ahead for them.

“But most of all, I simply love and remain absolutely passionate of my job!”

For the perfect wedding, read more about Jovita Lo at www.jovitalo.com

New retail experience @ Nu Sentral

Centrally located within the Kuala Lumpur Sentral CBD, the Nu Sentral retail mall is set to bring urban and fresh retail concept to market with its soft opening today. Nu Sentral is an iconic expression that there is always something “Nu” for everyone at the retail mall that is specially designed for those who seek the ultimate urban lifestyle. 

NU Sentral

NU Sentral

Offering connectivity, investment opportunities and an international lifestyle, Nu Sentral has huge growth potential with its location in the Kuala Lumpur Sentral CBD, Malaysia’s largest rail transport hub with direct link and passenger check-in facility via the Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal (carrying the IATA global code XKL) at the Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur (SSKL).

With more than 30,000 already living and working in Kuala Lumpur Sentral CBD, and a crowd of 160,000 commuters frequenting the SSKL daily, Nu Sentral captures the footfall from four rail networks, and soon with the MRT and KLIA2, hundreds of thousands more will add to the current footfall here.

The nine-storey Nu Sentral adopts sustainable and green building practices and is designed in compliance with Singapore’s BCA Green Mark and Malaysia’s GBI certifications, with a GFA of 1.3 million sq. ft. and GDV of over RM1 billion, offering 287 retail lots for lease.

This mall has one of the largest green rooftops with entertainment spaces, alfresco dining and other unique features which beacons its positioning statement as a new urban shopping haven.

In the first phase of opening, the major anchor tenants which have opened for business are Parkson, Hush Puppies, Sephora, Machines, L’occittane, Starbucks, O’Brien, Focus Point, Loaf and many more occupying more than 200,000 sq ft.

Other well-known brand in this mall include Cotton On, Levi’s, Sushi Tei, Coffee Planet, Wesria Food Court, Tony Roma’s, My Lucky Gem, Focus Point, Sam Groceria are some of the labels that will be opening soon.

59 seconds with… Karen-Michaela Tan

Karen-Michaela Tan

Karen-Michaela Tan

Karen-Michaela Tan
Director of Editorial Services
Write Pix Unlimited

Established in 2008, Write Pix Unlimited is the story of a writer and a photographer working together from the bedroom to the boardroom. Offering writing and photography services over a broad spectrum of genres, the company is an expansion of Tan’s original sole proprietorship writing services business.

What inspired you to start the business?

“Many companies – both large and small – as well as small business start-ups have editorial needs that they do not know how to meet. Large companies, such as banks and insurance agencies want to have an internal newsletter but do not necessarily want to hire a writer on their permanent payroll as that person’s hiring may not be able to be justified if they only produce one newsletter every other month.

“On the other hand, SMEs often fail to attract the proper calibre of writing talent, as they may be seen as being too small to offer growth prospects. Also, their budgets may be limited and they may not see the need to have a permanent writer on their payroll, even though there is a need to write text for their promotional brochures and A&P material.

“So we step in and provide contract editorial and photography services. We suggest pagination, items to feature, and once approved, we write and take the necessary photographs, lay it out and turn over the final artwork to the client to print as most have printers they usually use.

“We offer short and long-term consultancy services, either on a project basis or a month to month basis, which give them access to professional writing services that they need not keep on their payroll indefinitely.”

What have been some of the challenges along the way?

“Trying to make people understand our area of business. We are not an advertising agency; we do not buy media space, nor do we have in-house creative directors, but we can execute all the below the line stuff a small client needs.

“We are not a PR firm; we do not have a media list and we do not invite media, but we write the press releases and upkeep client websites. We write. We take great photos. Along the way we make clients sound really great, and help them define their brand voice and image.”

What are your proudest achievements to date?

Early on in my career as a writer, I wrote Mercy Malaysia’s book on their response to the Asian tsunami.

Two years ago, I was contacted by some members of Mercy who had gone on to Khazanah Nasional, the government’s investment arm. They wanted a book written and were generous enough to tell me that they considered no other writer, as my approach to writing was exactly what they wanted on a book they were commissioning.

This book, Sandpipers & Mudskippers, is a travelogue/guide and story of the wetlands of the Iskandar region in Johor. Write Pix Unlimited wrote, photographed and designed the book.

“We went from a simple knowing of mangroves, to becoming great admirers and champions of these fascinating eco-systems. This book has travelled all over the world as part of Khazanah’s presentation material for international wetland congresses.”

What’s in store for 2014?

“Hopefully our writing services will help uplift the standards of editorial offerings in a certain English daily. Our work will also be seen and read at Sunway Medical Centre where we have written a series of informative, yet not too medically technical outreach material on certain procedures offered by the hospital.

“We take a great interest in Malaysian entrepreneurship and are happy to extend our services to new businesses that need business papers or proposals written up. “

Let Karen-Michaela Tan find the “write” words for you at www.facebook.com/WritePixUnlimited

59 seconds with… Raymond Chou

Raymond Chou

Raymond Chou

Raymond Chou
Regional Managing Principal Consultant
Redynamics Asia

Having finally realised that he can’t change the world for the better with his under-appreciated sporting abilities, Chou has turn to his IT talents and training skills to at least make it an easier place for us to live and work in.

How different is Redynamics Asia?

“Having established the business in 2002, we are today a focused IT consulting company offering services related to the designing, implementing and training in areas of systems management, virtualisation and cloud.

“We are one of the few pure-play experts in our field, and we currently service clients from all across South East Asia via our dedicated offices in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.”

How did you get bitten by the entrepreneurship bug?

When I was an employee in companies I used to work for, I was very passionate in doing everything and undertaking anything I can to improve the organisations’ IT infrastructure. Most of these projects were done within a year.

“After which, things became very operational and less challenging for me. In a way, I quickly became bored of my tasks. I needed to be in an environment where I could continuously challenge myself, and continuously work to try and help different companies and people improve their operations.

“So I started out working as a freelancer on my own. By being my own boss, it provided me with the ability to make decisions towards helping others. This was vital kick-in-the-butt that I needed.”

What were some of the roadblocks along the way?

“Time and money. No matter how much anyone tells you to start small and to slowly evolve the business, there is also a dilemma of whether or not what you want to achieve can be done in your preset time.

“We started out small but had big dreams. To achieve those dreams, we needed money… which we did not have at that time. But as we grew, there were also uncertainties. Having greater overheads and an unpredictable sales pipeline also meant that there were times where cashflow was a big issue.

“No matter how big or successful you are and even with great people in your team, cashflow issues can easily dismantle all that success. Thankfully, after 10 years in the business, we have grown regionally to a size that we are happy with and more important, being able to call the business a success.”

What are your proudest achievements?

“That we can finally call ourselves an international business. With offices in Singapore, Sri Lanka and soon Thailand, this shows that we are able to be successful regionally as well as domestically.

“We are equally proud of the people we were able to retain and remain as part of our proud family within the company. Truly without them, we will be nowhere.”

What lies ahead?

“We are in the midst of setting up our operations in Thailand. This would definitely be a different challenge altogether as language is something we have to find a way to get by with. However, this is truly exciting as we add one more country to our growing list of operations.

“We will also be performing the final hurdle of the brand merger with Infront Consulting Group to take the brand to a global level with offices in Canada, USA and Europe.”

More about Raymond Chou and his team at www.redynamics.com

59 seconds with… Jeanisha Wan


Jeanisha Wan

Jeanisha Wan
Managing director
J1 Consulting Sdn Bhd
Founder of WEVents

Despite being a relative newcomer to the country’s entrepreneurship sphere having established J1 Consulting in 2010, Wan has swiftly carved out her presence as columnist, marketing guru and public relations consultant.

What inspired you to start J1?

“I am an accidental entrepreneur. Started my company because I wanted to do more and not limit myself to do marketing for just once company (she was formerly a marketing director for an IT company).

“Also amazingly, it was at a job interview that I got this idea to be my own boss as the interviewer suggested that I do this instead!”

What have been your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?

“Talent sourcing. We are selling ‘brains’ here as we are a consultancy company. In the past four years of our journey, I’ve found finding the right talent to be the biggest challenge.”

What are your proudest achievements to date?

“Being able to achieve and perform what our clients tell us other agencies or service providers have not been able to do for them; even when it comes to doing something we have not done before.

“About 80% of our existing clients now came to us through customer referrals. Our commitment to quality work speaks for itself.”

What lies ahead for the year of the Horse?

“A new team with renewed focus on quality; and to earnestly keep to our core work culture in being curious, think and have passion for our work.”

More about Jeanisha Wan and her business at www.j1consult.com.

59 seconds with… Ivlynn Yap


Yap Cheng Theng

Ivlynn Yap Cheng Theng
Founder and managing director
Citrine One Sdn Bhd

An IT journalist-turned-entrepreneur, Yap considers herself an “old-hand” in the public and media relations industry having run her own marketing communications, advertising and promotions outfit since 2001.

Citrine One is involved in areas such as strategic marketing communications, public and media relations, content development, events and project management, social media and media training.

What drove you to start you own business?

“Following my stints as a journalist, editor, producer, regional PR manager, regional marcomm manager, I felt some agencies which I dealt with lacking the understanding of how the media actually works and what exactly clients want albeit the limitations and challenges they face.

“Hence, I decided to offer my services based on my experience and knowledge of these areas and to focus on addressing these needs.”

What are some of the obstacles you faced?

“My biggest challenge is to turn around the company and to be in the black again when one of my clients went into liquidation and owe us a six-figure amount which we needed in return to pay to our suppliers. We struggled for one year and a half to pay back our suppliers.

“However, I’m happy that despite this huge challenge, my team stuck together, especially my senior management team who have been with me for more than five years as we worked hard to pay off our suppliers.

“Despite all that, we still managed to pay our staff a fair amount of bonus albeit a smaller amount than usual, and to send them for a company trip to Bali the following year despite year-end losses.”

What are the best moments in the business?

“My proudest achievements to date are when we secured the Canon account for three years, Cartoon Network for two years, managed the Pemandu Government Transformation Programme PR initiatives and being tasked with the media relations aspects for Petronas Motorsports Twin Towers @ Live concerts for three years. Toughest job scope but the team managed to pull through nevertheless.”

What will 2014 bring?

“As we are no longer in debt, we are now looking forward to grow again. A good start to the year 2014 when we were asked again to manage the media for Twin Towers @ Live 2014.

More about Yap Cheng Theng and her business at www.citrineone.com

59 seconds with… Doreen Wan


Doreen Wan

Doreen Wan
Director & Senior Consultant
X-Nine Communication

In between baking, cooking and cleaning up after a college-going daughter, Wan zips around town striving to add more customers to her 8-year-old marketing communication business.

What inspired you to start X-Nine Communication?

“Working in the corporate world was taking a toll on the quality time I had with my family and especially my then, young daughter whose school grades were going downhill.

“Being home-based, X-Nine is a company comprising a group of professionals with young families; giving them the opportunity to earn a stable income whilst having quality time with their own family.”

What are the services offered?

“We offer a full-service marketing communications, focusing on customised strategic public relations campaigns that create excitement among consumers, buyers, the media and the business communities.

“Our strategy is to listen and understand the needs of our clients; customising with the most appropriate solutions of public relations and advertising campaign. We also provide consultation services on effective advertising and promotions programmes as well as in organising and managing corporate event.”

What have been your biggest challenges?

“Getting people to understand the quality of work is not compromised even though we are home-based.”

What are you most proud of since becoming your own boss?

“Building good working relations with international based clients ranging from hotel and F&B based industries to property developers and suppliers of heavy machinery.”

What is in store for 2014?

“Looking forward to another successful year with new clients, interesting products, overcoming challenges and building lasting friendships.”

59 seconds with… Ernie Chen

Ernie Chen

Ernie Chen

Ernie Chen Kok Weng
President / Group CEO
Atcen Education Group, Portman College and outLoud Entertainment Group

Chen first ventured into the education and entertainment industry back in 2003 as he “wanted to make a difference in the world through education and entertainment”.

How did the journey started?

“I said I wanted to buy a college 10 years ago and almost everyone around me thought it was just a dream. Today I own my own college that will allow me to make a difference through education.”

What are the biggest challenges faced?

“Getting people to believe in my dreams and visions.”

What’s in store for 2014?

“Look out for my new box office movie Suatu Malam Kubur Berasap 2 that I produced, directed and acted in. Beyond this year, for Portman College to be the leading business school in Malaysia and Asia by 2020.”

More about Ernie Chen and his business at www.atcen.com

Family kitchen for all Malaysians


Country Kitchen’s owner

Country Kitchen is a diner that does not visibly stand out in the crowd; from its modest signage and unassuming adornment to its tightly nestled location amongst row of lacklustre shops in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

Yet, there is something about the family-run restaurant that has kept a steadily increasing crowd coming back for more since its opening in September last year.

It could be their distinctive Muslim Chinese halal cuisine, or it could be their almost 90 types of dishes on offer. Many customers claimed that it was the undisturbed almost home-like dining experience.

“While it’s great that we have received encouraging response from our customers, we can’t exactly say that there is one specific reason for them to keep coming back here,” said Country Kitchen owner-cum-chef Zuraina Abdul Rahman.


“Perhaps it’s because we are like one big family here and we treat our customers as part of us as well. It’s more like a place of family and friends rather than just another restaurant,” she reasoned adding that her children and customers have also been actively promoting the outlet via social media platforms.

Family is evidently at the heart of the business. With her husband Zulkefly Mohd Sidek helping out with the business management aspects, son-in-law supervising the operations and her three children chipping in regularly, Zuraina is able to focus on the kitchen and the food.

While she was always passionate about food, opening a food and beverage business was not something she had planned for during the early part of her career. The Business Marketing graduate was involved in the engineering and construction industry for almost 30 years before embarking on a different path in 2008.


Prior to opening Country Kitchen, the 56-year-old came together with three other business partners to run a restaurant business located in Taman Melati, Kuala Lumpur for around three years.

“That was a good learning experience for me as it helped further sharpened my business management skills and in handling customer’s requirements. Most important of all, it gave me the confidence to venture out on my own,” recalled Zuraina.

While the Perak-born entrepreneur contemplated and finally settled with Taman Tun Dr Ismail as the location of her first outlet – she resided in the area for more than 15 years – Zuraina was very clear on what she would be serving at her outlet.

“I love Chinese-styled food as it is diverse in taste, fast to cook and always freshly cooked. That is why I knew Country Kitchen would be focusing on Muslim Chinese cuisine and we know that based on our visit around the country and abroad, that there is a growing demand for such dishes,” she said.

The cosy restaurant, which is able to comfortably seat 75 people, features around 90 dishes. Amongst the restaurant’s signature dishes include dry butter prawn, fried crispy beef, siakap CK special, salted egg sotong, tomyam seafood, terung salted egg and crab meat taufu.

A definite must-try is the tomyam seafood as unlike many Thai food outlets’ overly spicy or sour broth, the soup here offers the balanced companion to other dishes on the table with its lighter flavour.

Overall, the menu spread from its steamed to stir fried dishes display a heavy touch of Cantonese-styled cuisine; balanced flavours and not greasy. For those who prefer a lighter meal or short of time, its ala carte menu includes nasi goreng special, kuew teow Penang special, Cantonese yee mee and bihun Singapore.


True to its concept of a casual and cosy outlet, Country Kitchen – opens daily from 11 am to 11 pm – also offers a good avenue for friends and business colleagues to catch up during late evenings and after dinner hours. Priced from RM3 (plate) to RM24 (container), its appetising array of home-made cookies, snacks and desserts including chocolate cookies, pineapple jam tarts, banana fritters, curry puffs, ice-cream goreng, cucur udang and caramel pudding are the perfect finger food.

“We want our customers to feel at home here; from the taste of our food to our service. With friends and families being so busy, we want them to be able to come together here to enjoy good food and each other’s companionship,” said Zuraina, while revealing that they are planning for expansion of their current premises as well as opening of another outlet in three years’ time.

Locate Country Kitchen at 32, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tel: 03-77336409/019-7786409.

Tapping for biz success is OK

The mere mention of its name will bring noticeable affection amongst its ardent admirers all across the country. Recognised for its varied collection of fabric and silk, its flagship store nearby Jalan Masjid India is the often referred landmark for surrounding businesses and local attractions.

jakelA household name today with 19 branches all over Malaysia, Jakel’s growth is an inspiring tale of Malaysian success story.

While I have personally yet to experience its products, what I have witnessed of its remarkable physical expansion to its business premises over the years within the Jalan Masjid India vicinity is enough to convince me of its accomplishments.

Watching it grow rapidly from a nondescript shop into an expanded store comprising several units of shoplots several years back, and subsequently to an entire block of 6-storey retail space that it resides on today, there wasn’t any doubt that this was a company that was doing something right.

Reported to have purchased the entire CapSquare shopping mall located nearby, its current CEO has successfully continued the work that his late father had started.

To me however, the real success of this organisation is in its ongoing efforts to spur the development of more Malaysian entrepreneurs within our own backyard. Tasked with the role as a “mentor” to budding local entrepreneurs, particularly those keen on contributing to the textile industry, Datuk Mohamed Faroz Mohamed Jakel’s passion to guide local entrepreneurship talent is an example which more Malaysian CEOs should follow.

At a recent youth entrepreneurship conference, several notable young business minds had openly expressed the lack of genuine business mentors in the country to guide them through the ordeals of starting, and most important of all, sustaining their business ideas.

With increased domestic and global competition as well as heightened customer expectations, today’s emerging entrepreneurs do not need to endure the often embraced “trial and error” way of the past to build their businesses.

Instead, tapping the knowledge and experiences of proven business mentors and industry leaders would be a more effective and less time consuming approach. In this case, “tapping” is not necessary a dirty word.


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