In the past, Ms Chua Mei Ling, aspired to be a teacher. But she shelved her plans of opening an enrichment centre for children to take on the position of finance manager at a local private funding company, leading and managing a finance team.
However, she did not entirely give up on education. Following through with her passion, she chose to educate SME owners of various funding strategies and assisting them in their development plans. Today, she leads and manages a different team altogether – as General Manager of Gremio Capital Pte Ltd.
Starting on Entrepreneurship
Initially, Mei Ling had not considered becoming an entrepreneur as she was still heading a finance team and none of her family members managed their own businesses. She soon changed her mind as she saw the need to outreach to local enterprises experiencing financing issues.
“When leading a finance team, I was only exposed to a few industries. In the funding industry, I got to meet different business owners from various industries and interacted with other funding partners. Through meeting these SME owners, I got to know the problems they face which made me feel obliged to provide strategic business funding solutions to them,” said Mei Ling.
The setting up of Gremio Capital marked the start of her entrepreneurial journey.
Growing with Gremio Capital
Headquartered in Singapore, the home-grown business funding specialist focuses on serving local SMEs, and boosting the growth of these enterprises by offering effective funding strategies that meet their business needs. As a fellow SME, Gremio Capital strives to help local enterprises increase their competitive advantage locally, and enable them access to their full potential and range of business opportunities.
As with most first-time business ventures, Mei Ling had her reservations when starting out and entering the funding market with Gremio Capital. She was uncertain that her solo venture would work out, and had concerns about balancing work with her family while undertaking the new role. Despite her apprehension, she still devoted and invested a considerable amount of time and energy into the company, putting her best foot forward.
“Doing business is about making decisions – be it the choice of business location, or methods of driving sales through concise communication and opportunity identification, so as to deepen engagement with customers,” shared Mei Ling.
As a General Manager, Mei Ling oversees all company operations from top to bottom. A typical work day for Mei Ling is as such – in the earlier half of the work day, she catches up with her team to understand current ongoing operations. In the afternoon, meetings and discussions will be held with the team to make crucial and critical business decisions.
Her hard work has paid off as Mei Ling and her team have successfully propelled Gremio Capital into greater prominence. Mei Ling attributes these achievements to employing the right individuals for the various departments, thereby value-adding to the company.
“Choosing the right staff on my team has contributed to my success. Building a team with the right skill sets, expertise and experience is vital. The most importance decision I have made is the employment of staff for the business – putting together a team that complements one another will ultimately bring success,” explained Mei Ling.
Over the years, Mei Ling honed her leadership skills and business acumen with Gremio Capital, constantly seeking feedback from her clients to improve on the business operations and activities.
“Client feedback is a very important factor as they keep the business going. I learnt
to listen to the problems my teams faced and the feedback from the customers. There is only so much we can control when dealing with people. Communicating my vision, aligning the goals of the team and customers, and keeping them in check regularly are what I strongly believe is pivotal for leadership,” emphasised Mei Ling.
“Gremio Capital is not just about me. It includes my team and the customers. Their feedback is important to me,” she added.
Mark of a Business Leader
Despite her progress and accomplishments thus far, Mei Ling remains grounded and believes in staying true to her innate passion for education. Marrying education with entrepreneurship, Mei Ling pioneered the Gremio Capital Bursary Award, supporting youths with potential to realize theirdream of becoming a future entrepreneur or business leader. She recognizes that embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is not a easy one, but the process and result will be well worth it with a strong supportive community.
“Aspiring entrepreneurs must be courageous and prepared enough to face great risk if they truly want to start a business. There will be many challenges for which they will have to sacrifice time and money to resolve. To succeed, they must learn from their experiences and keep improving at every opportunity they get,” stated Mei Ling.
She pointed out three qualities that she identified with, namely a sense of responsibility, courage, as well as continuous commitment. Mei Ling’s work has allowed her to gain a broad perspective on the SME environment, obstacles faced by budding entrepreneurs, and strategic view of various business opportunities in Singapore. These qualities, amongst others, has tided her through various challenges, in which she emerged as a stronger, and wiser entrepreneur.
If there was one thing Mei Ling would do differently, she would have started on her entrepreneurial endeavours earlier. Entrepreneurship presented to her the opportunity to be different and extraordinary, and her journey with Gremio Capital thus far has been nothing short of that. In fact, it has been most rewarding.
“But it is not too late to start now – better late than never,” said Mei Ling.
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