Home to many powerful and innovative startups, APAC has earned a reputation for cultivating a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Hive Life spotlights some of the region’s most inspiring entrepreneurs paving the way for future innovation. 

Entrepreneurship comes with many rewarding challengings, and an even greater sense of fulfilment. Entrepreneurs and startups play a pivotal role in fueling the economic development and innovation growth of a country, despite facing the challenge of building agility and resilience to succeed within the ecosystem. As the Asia Pacific region (APAC)’s corporate landscape becomes more competitive, founders and businesses need to find ways to stay inspired and innovate, while maintaining their edge. 

Here are some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs making an impact in APAC, renowned for their cutting-edge business approaches. These influential forces are determined to power industry innovation, while inspiring others to rise on their journey to success. 

Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023

Shahirah Gardner 

Award-winning Shahirah Gardner is a leading women entrepreneur in tech, who co-founded Finch, Australia’s next-generation FinTech startup. The platform delivers state-of-the-art data intelligence and personalised solutions for businesses to revamp their strategies and build closer customer relationships. 

Shahirah is internationally recognised as a “Rising FinTech Star” within Australia’s startup scene. Shahirah takes on an impactful role as the Investment Partner at Skalata Ventures, empowering founders to secure funds and scale their businesses.  

An inspiring force for women in tech, Shahirah has shown great initiative to champion diversity and inclusion as an Advisory Board Member at Rampersand VC.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023_Shahirah Gardner


Karen Contet & Karena Belin

Karen Contet and Karena Belin are the brilliant forces powering Hong Kong’s biggest startup community, WHub. Inspired by their collective passion to empower entrepreneurs, and those aspiring, Karen and Karena established the platform as a communal space to foster and equip them with all the essential resources required to expand their businesses further. 

WHub initiated its annual Scaleup Impact Summit in 2019, along with other tech conferences and job fairs. The hybrid programme is designed to bring together the foremost innovators, investors, entrepreneurs, and other emerging companies. 

The pair also co-founded AngelHub, an SFC-licensed investment platform based in Hong Kong, bringing highly vetted funding opportunities for growth-stage startups within Asia’s thriving tech ecosystem. 

The serial entrepreneurs remain committed to applying their industry expertise to support and fuel growth opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs in the region. 

Karen Contet & Karena Belin_WHub


Sazzad Hossain

Bangladesh-born Sazzad Hossain migrated to Singapore with his family at the age of 11. Growing up, Sazzad experienced various struggles, from language barriers, to social exclusion. Sazzad’s encounters, along with those of other migrant workers in the city-state, inspired him to establish the Social Development Initiative (SDI) Academy in 2013- an EdTech community-oriented enterprise built to empower settlers and refugees, and facilitate social change through education.

SDI Academy mainly serves migrant workers in the construction, marine shipyard, and process (CMP) sectors, equipping them with the essential skills, from language and communication, to computer literacy, financial management, and more. 

The initiative has enabled many to support themselves in their personal lives by opening various professional prospects for them. In addition, the organisation offers entrepreneurship courses for individuals to further develop their capabilities, while empowering their vision of starting a business one day. 

Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023_Sazzad Hossain


Pattiya Thanasrivanitchai

Thailand’s Pattiya Thanasrivanitchai co-founded Happi Cup, to provide sustainable and equitable menstrual products. The entrepreneur saw a major gap in feminine hygiene and care essentials across the nation, and decided to establish her brand to break the widespread stigma and misinformation on periods and wellness. 

Pattiya pushes boundaries by innovating eco-friendly and reusable feminine products to tackle the growing waste problem. Most Thai women have limited exposure to the concept, and Pattiya aims to further educate women on proper sanitary care, while shifting the narrative on menstrual cups through her label. Her continued efforts have won her the Lazada Forward Women Award in 2022

Driving period equity in the region, Pattiya aspires for the label to become a common feminine hygiene and wellness essential for women. 

Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023_Pattiya Thanasrivanitchai


Truong Duc Thang

An emerging name in Vietnam’s dynamic startup scene, serial entrepreneur Truong Duc Thang started his journey in the tech space with the launch of Liberzy, an online platform designed to enhance one’s travel experiences in the country. 

Truong later founded the educational platform TOP Sinh Viên for students in Vietnam to exchange their academic experiences, and develop essential skill sets that will prepare them for the business world. 

Truong is currently the CEO of an investment firm, BAP Ventures, funding growth-stage startups and industry innovators to scale their businesses in the region. Tapping into the new-tech space, Troung is also one of the founding members of the newest blockchain game, DeFi Warrior

With years of expertise and extensive industry knowledge, Truong foresees investing in young talents and startups with promising visions as the next step in his entrepreneurial journey. 

Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023_Truong Duc Thang


Komuro Yoshie

Daring to defy the norms of Japan’s extreme work culture, Komuro Yoshi founded Work-Life Balance Co, an agency based in Tokyo dedicated to consulting and strategising with companies to bring fundamental change in their operations and management. Komuro has joined forces with various government advisory committees, including the METI’s Industrial Structure Council, to implement wider reform. 

Seeing many individuals suffer from work-induced stress and productivity slumps, Komuro remains driven to educate and empower businesses to break notorious workplace practices. 

Recognised for her visionary approach, Komuro has also delivered a talk on “Life balance” for TEDxTokyo, addressing the severity of the issue in Japan, and how companies can better cater to the needs of their employees for collective growth. 

Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023_Komuro Yoshie


Kevin Chen

Widely recognised for his impact-driven endeavours, Kevin Chen founded the Taiwanese non-profit startup, One-Forty, to address the challenges faced by migrant workers in the region. He started the initiative in 2015, aspiring to bring nationwide reform, making it a more inclusive space for all. One-Forty operates as an advocacy and educational platform, while providing upskilling opportunities for the immigrant labour force.

One-Forty has reached over 70,000 migrant workers since its inception, and continues to grow its community in Taiwan. It offers online learning courses and helps connect individuals with other useful resources. Through his work, Kevin empowers immigrants to become more adept with their communication, finances, and other necessary skills required to unlock their full potential and develop better career prospects.

Kevin Chen


Featured Banner Image: @onefortytaiwan


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