Spotlight: Choon Sian Choo

Choon Sian Choo
Choon Sian Choo

YSEALI members are making a difference. In the coming weeks, we will feature young leaders across the ASEAN region who have participated in YSEALI programs and show how joining this community has helped them grow professionally and personally.

Choon Sian Choo, 25
National University of Malaysia
CEO, LifeChamp Sdn. Bhd.

Business founder Choon Sian Choo never thought he would have to fire anyone – until he did. It wasn’t easy, but, as he learned, “sometimes in life you have to make hard decisions. ‘Be hard-headed, but soft-hearted’ has become my motto,” he says.

Choon is the CEO of LifeChamp, which provides young people with training in entrepreneurship and other life skills. When starting out, Choon looked to successful entrepreneurs for inspiration. He also found it in the U.S., where he spent a year studying business at the University of Wisconsin. He says the experience “broadened my view, exposed me to more cultures and diversity and thus gave me new perspective in doing business.” But Choon isn’t done learning yet. Through YSEALI, he gets to meet and learn from successful people in different fields.

Choon’s tips for starting a business:

  • Choosing which industry you want to venture into is crucial. It is going to decide how your next five to 10 years is going to be spent and what your potential margin is.
  • Start with a small team first, ideally one founder. Having multiple co-founders will slow down the decisionmaking and dilute your shares too early.
  • Along the way, you may doubt yourself. But take a leap of faith, learn from your setbacks and decide – pivot or persevere.