Innovation: What do Accountancy and skincare products have in common? Probably nothing.
But meet Theodore Khng, who at the age of 23 became his own boss. By a stroke of luck, he found himself formulating his own all-natural skincare products.
What’s interesting is Theodore had studied Accountancy and the only knowledge or experience with Chemistry or anything related to it was when he did his ‘O’-levels at Saint Patrick’s School.
By chance, he tried to mix natural ingredients to come up with a mosquito repellent when he realised a friend had complained about getting mosquito bites at a café. But that did not work out, and instead of repelling mosquitoes, it attracted more mosquitos.
So he went back to the drawing board and tweaked the proportions and somehow derived a balm which helped to soothe insect bites, cuts or burns, and even Eczema!
Soon, with the help of his parents, he was speaking to SPRING Singapore which earned the entrepreneur a $50,000 Ace Start-up grant to start his business, Theo10.
Before long, he and his team developed more products based on the feedback gathered from customers who wanted more. On most days, he and his team of two other friends are at road shows to promote their products and hear what customers say about their products.
Last year, they expanded their business to Thailand with help form his own network.
But Khng didn’t rest on his laurels. In fact, he started the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Singapore (YEAS) together with 9 other peers from various industries, to help other budding young entrepreneurs to establish and expand.
But the entrepreneurial and innovative streak in him wasn’t a natural thing. In fact, he had followed his father, who sits on a few trade advisory boards, on various trade missions to meet foreign entrepreneurs and business owners and at one point in time stayed in India for 2 months on his own.
Meeting foreign entrepreneurs and business owners has given him many experiences and open up his eyes to different things.
Just last week, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced during his Budget speech, the Global Innovation Alliance to enable students, entrepreneurs and business owners to build connections through overseas internships and connecting with mentors, investors and service providers respectively.
“Finding global partners is very important in a small start-up like ours,” says Khng. Through these connections, he says “doors open up for your business”.
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