Thursday, November 5, 2009

Attitude Is the Epitome of Success

Thursday, November 5, 2009

U.V.Wong, 29, is the Director of Special Initiatives of My MoneyTree Sdn. Bhd. He is a former micro electronics student turned businessman and he takes on questions regarding his company and the Young Entrepreneurs Startup (YES) Challenge.

First and foremost, could you share what was the main reason behind the setting up of My MoneyTree Sdn. Bhd.?


Actually, believe it or not, credit card debt in Malaysia is RM26 Billion! This is a serious issue since many youths who have just started working do not know how to handle and manage money in a proper manner. This is one aspect that education in school does not cater to. Youngsters, being who they are, continue spending relentlessly. They do not realise the trouble that they are putting themselves into by swiping the credit card indiscriminately. Therefore, we are here to help youths so that they do not have these sort of problems to face in life.

What is the ultimate goal that MoneyTree strives to achieve via the various programmes offered by you guys?

Our ultimate goal is to instil financial savviness amongst today’s youths so that they could become financially free, and to also help them develop Entrepreneurship skills that would allow them to start their own enterprises and take control of their future.

Basically, what are the programmes that are offered by MoneyTree?

At the moment, we have two main programs which form the core of our business; The MoneyTree Financial Literacy program and the MoneyTree Entrepreneurship Program, which includes the MoneyTree YES Challenge that we organized recently.

Speaking of the YES Challenge, what was the rationale that MoneyTree had in mind when you guys embarked on the organising of it?

This is interesting. We wanted to solve two problems. One was that many a youths wanted to do business but they lacked the knowledge, not in the sense of theoretical knowledge, but practical knowledge. The next problem was money. These problems were solved by us providing the finalists with practical business knowledge, as well as assisting them to secure government-backed grants.

At the initial stage, was MoneyTree confident that some exceptionally talented entrepreneurs-wannabe would be unearthed?

Of course! We know it for a fact that there is no shortage of talent out there. Just that there is no platform for youths to acquire the necessary skills, knowledge, networks and funding to fuel their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur

Why was it that MoneyTree deemed that university-going youths were most suited to take part in this challenge? Why not those in their thirties?

We feel that undergrads have fresh mindsets, as in they are teeming with endless amounts of creativity and innovation. They are an energised lot too, and that just makes it easier to work with them. Unlike those who have been in the business sector for some time, these undergrads need not unlearn much. They start afresh as their minds are not clobbered with any traditional approaches to business.

How did MoneyTree go about publicising on the challenge to university students around the country?

We worked hand in hand with the conventional media. We approached the media via NST. Then we reached out to the youths through college and university road shows. However, the most effective channel was through the social media. We made full use of Facebook, Twitter and numerous online magazines to spread the word regarding this challenge.

How was the response to the challenge? Were the university students excited?

The response was very good in fact and the majority of the university students were excited. All in all, we had 24 teams who had signed up for the challenge. Each team had to pay RM500 as an entrance fee. From the 24 that had signed up, they were scaled down to 15 teams. Those 15 were required to present their Executive Summaries. Then, after the next round of elimination, we were down to seven teams. These seven teams had to defend their business ideas before a panel of judges that were ever waiting to shoot them with any question that came to their mind. From those seven, only five teams advanced to the finals.

What were the criteria that the panel of judges were looking for in the contestants before deciding who were to proceed to the final round, the ‘MoneyTree Pitching Session’?

There were two major criteria that the judges were looking for. Actually, there were another eight more criteria to be taken into account but those only came into play during the ‘Final Seven’ round. The two major criteria were commercial viability, i.e. does it have the potential to make money and does it also have economic sense and scalability, i.e. can the business be scaled up to something bigger into say, a franchise.

Based on your personal opinion, how would you rate the five finalists on the overall?

On a scale of 10, I would easily give them 8.5-9. I must say that they are the cream of the crop. I find many distinctive values in them. They all have fantastic attitudes, they are hardworking, they are committed to what they do and last but not least, they are willing to constantly learn and improve on themselves.

What were the reactions of the investors during the pitching session? Were they impressed by the talents of the contestants in setting up their companies?

Actually, such a pitch has never been attempted before on this scale in Malaysia. And since this was being done for the first time, we were quite excited for we did not know how the investors would react. To our joy though, the investors were very, very impressed. From the RM125,000 required by the final 5 teams that made it to the finals, we managed to secure RM 97,000 in 3 hours! And what was really impressive and interesting was the fact that investors were all queuing up to invest in these new start-ups.


What is in store for the five finalists next, and how would MoneyTree continue to support them throughout their career?

Currently, we are taking them on road shows to colleges and universities. We aim to make them the next Malaysian Entrepreneur Idols. The main reason of the road shows are for the finalists to inspire others to do what they have achieved. As we know it, youths relate to youths better.

After evaluating the inaugural challenge, do you think it is feasible to embark on a ‘Season 2’? Would there be benefits?


Definitely! I believe the benefits of YES are obvious. In fact, the plans for a Season 2, or known as the second phase, are in the final stages. We are having a victory lap party that is tentatively scheduled for the 21st of November, and are looking at announcing on the launch date of the second phase there.

Lastly, name the single most admirable quality that you find in all the contestants?

It is their attitude, definitely. No doubts about that. Without the right attitude, nothing falls into place.

*This is an interview that I had written for New Straits Times and a revised version of this has been published in the Niexter pullout dated 5th Nov. 2009.

2 comments:

Ana Cristina Toledo said...

Hello, I'm visiting you back...
Wish you a happy day!

Paul Junior said...

i'm here for u my friends

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