Stories of Singapore start-up founders told in new book

SINGAPORE – While organizing a hackathon with her team, Ms Nurul Jihadah Hussain realized that many such events in the start-up ecosystem were designed in ways that made it difficult for women to participate.

With many Asian women assuming the role of primary caregivers, staying overnight in a conference room to attend these events may not be feasible, especially if they have young children to look after, she said.

To address this gap, Ms Nurul, founder of non-profit organization The Codette Project, decided to introduce child-minding services and breastfeeding rooms at her hackathon.

Her story was one of those featured in a new book Brave10: The Singapore Edition, which was launched at *Scape in Orchard Link on Saturday (Aug 6).

Ms Nurul, 35, who is married with a four-month old boy, said: “Many studies have shown that diversity of ideas comes about when we have people from diverse backgrounds coming together. We want to redefine what success is in the start-up space looks like, so that everyone is welcome.”

The book features interviews with start-up founders and venture capitalists and stories from Dr Sandhya Sriram, co-founder of Shiok Meats, the first cell-based seafood company in South-east Asia, and Ms Goh Yiping, a former partner at venture capital firm Quest Ventures.

Chief of staff at Monk’s Hill Ventures Jeremy Au decided to compile these stories, which are adapted from his entrepreneurship podcast of the same name.

All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to The Codette Project and will support its initiatives, such as a mentorship program for female and Muslim minority students in tech-related fields. The program opened applications for its third intake earlier this year.

Applauding Ms Nurul’s efforts to champion diversity, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan, guest of honor at the book launch, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to funding start-ups.

Mr Tan said: “In Singapore, we have about 3,800 tech start-ups and there are 25 home-grown start-ups which have attained unicorn status.” “Unicorn” refers to a start-up company with a value of US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) or more.

Recognizing the need for funding, Mr. Tan added that the government continues to attract angel investors and venture capitalists to invest in start-ups, especially those in advanced manufacturing and sustainability.

Brave10: The Singapore Edition is available for sale for $50 (with GST) at this website.

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