How A Penang-born Woman Blazed A Trail For Female Entrepreneurs

We’ve been very grateful for all the media features and opportunities and here’s one by Buletin Mutiara that was published two days ago on 2 April 2022.

The interview had taken place three weeks ago and the reporter had wanted to feature my milestones as a woman entrepreneur with a focus on my latest project, my podcast which I had started working on during the pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

To date, I’ve published 47 episodes – each one an interview lasting up to an hour – and have met a diverse group of women entrepreneurs not just in Malaysia but across Asia as well.

Here’s the link to the article:

Otherwise, read the full article below:

How a Penang-born woman blazed a trail for female entrepreneurs

Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Law Suun Ting and courtesy of Krista Goon

A RARE opportunity to take part in the Changing Faces Leadership Programme in Hawaii in July 2019 has enriched Krista Goon’s life as well as deepened her understanding of various women’s issues.

Organised by the US-based East-West Centre, the two-week programme brought together 16 women entrepreneurs from 11 countries (from the United States and the Asia Pacific) to engage in a series of training exercises and workshops that focused on leadership and entrepreneurship.

As each participant had to present a project that can have an impact on society, Goon, the only Malaysian representative and scholarship recipient of the programme spoke of her desire to start a podcast for Malaysian women entrepreneurs.

After returning to Penang for a few months, Goon decided to work on her podcast, called Womenpreneur Asia, at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

“I have been a big fan of podcasts since 2010. That’s how I learn a lot of things about business and marketing when I am walking or jogging in the park just using my iPod,” said Goon, in an interview with Buletin Mutiara.

“I always feel that listening to podcasts is a great way to learn because you can listen while you are doing your household chores or while doing other things.

“My podcast features women entrepreneurs in Asia. Every episode I interview a woman entrepreneur, who may be from Singapore, Japan, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and of course Malaysia.

“These women aren’t celebrities. What I want is an everyday woman telling her story of entrepreneurship and making it relatable to my listeners.

“She may be someone you have never heard about, but she may run a really successful business.

“What is her story like? I want to learn about her journey as an entrepreneur. More important than the journey is what she has learned over the years as a woman in business.

“Because in the end, we get better by learning through other people’s experiences and stories.”

In the beginning, she was worried about the technicalities of podcasting. Another worry was what if some people do not really open up during the conversation and don’t tell her the gems of wisdom she is looking for.

But once she started, her fears dissipated. And Goon said she was fortunate that all her guests have been very open in their sharing.

The first person she pitched to get on her podcast is her long-time friend, Maresa Ng of The Spark Group Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur. Maresa is a business coach and speaker and loves helping entrepreneurs succeed.

Goon is now into Season 4 of her podcast. Each season comprises 13 episodes, with each episode lasting 50 minutes to an hour. To date, she has already published a total of 47 episodes since October 2020 and her listeners come from countries such as the US, Japan, Singapore and Mexico (and Malaysia of course).

Her guests on her podcast in Season 1 were mostly her friends, but from the second and third seasons onwards, Goon started to feature women entrepreneurs from different countries.

Her guests’ stories are worth listening to. They give listeners a more realistic picture of starting a business as the guests shared the realities of entrepreneurship and their hardships.

Goon puts the contact details of every woman interviewed on her website for any listener to reach through FB or Instagram.

Women entrepreneurship is a subject very close to her heart.

Sixteen years ago, she and her friend, Datin Josephine Yoong, co-founded WomenBizSENSE with the aim of gathering a cohort of women to know each other, network, advocate for one another and find out more about how to grow their respective businesses.

Today, the association is 100-member strong.

While striving to earn money is these entrepreneurs’ main goal, giving back to society is also part of WomenBizSENSE’s mission.

It used to organise an annual steamboat treat for residents of the House of Hope in Rifle Range but because of no dine-in allowed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the association gave away angpows to the old folks this year.

Asked what advice she would offer to aspiring businesswomen, Goon said she would encourage the person to shadow someone who has experience in running the business.

“Find yourself some women or even men who can actually tell you things that you may not know. Nowadays, I know a lot of men who are very supportive of women in starting businesses.

“Take the information from people who have already done it. That is how you can avoid pitfalls and maybe have a shortcut for your own success when you want to start a business.

“The key thing is to be able to understand why you want to start a business. Is it because of money? To me, beyond money, there should be something else. You should have a true purpose and passion.

“Sometimes people will reject you; your customers or prospects will say no to you sometimes. Not everyone will buy your product the first time you ask them.

“But if you are an entrepreneur and you cannot take rejection, it is going to be really hard.

“We’ve to learn from rejection. We need to be thick-skinned to survive and if you can get help from someone, it will be easier.

“To me, women entrepreneurs have to be resourceful. We have to know where to get the grants, we have to know where to find our suppliers and we have to know where to find everything we need for our business.

“People say it is very difficult to start a business. I say far more difficult than starting a business is sustaining it.”

Goon (who serves on the board of Penang Women’s Development Corporation) and her husband, Nic Sim, has been operating a business helping small-medium enterprises grow their businesses through digital marketing for the past 24 years.

Their company, called Redbox Studio (not to be mistaken with the Red Box Karaoke), offers marketing-focused websites that include custom content and business strategy for their clients.

The husband and wife team complement each other as Sim’s strong point is on design and graphics while her forte is her copywriting. She graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s degree in English Language and Linguistics.

The couple has also co-authored a book, called Web Wisdom, to help business owners leverage their websites as powerful marketing tools because they discovered that many don’t know what to do with their websites and don’t know how to use their websites to promote and market their businesses.

Apart from managing and maintaining websites for clients, hosting her own podcast and running WomenBizSENSE, Goon is also involved with community work.

She co-founded a book adoption centre, called TSN Book Adoption Centre, with her husband. It is located inside the Buddhist Tzu Chi Recycling Centre in Taman Sri Nibong and opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“We are both passionate about recycling and repurposing. People actually brought books to recycle! As we are both avid book lovers, we felt it was a pity to turn them into scrap paper.

“Books are really things that people can gain knowledge from. So, we came out with the idea of book adoption.

“Some of the books donated are very good and may be out of print.

“Each time someone adopts a book, we encourage the person to put in a small donation – the amount does not matter.

“That started in 2016 and over six years, we have hit six figures in charitable donations from people who come and adopt the books.

“Tzu Chi uses the money for its own charitable activities. Basically, we acted as a catalyst for this to happen.

“And if you finish reading your adopted book, you pass it to a friend. We hope you don’t bring it back to the centre because we are not a library.

“This is something I am very proud of, like a circular economy.

“And we’ve also sent two boxes of children’s books to Orang Asli villages.

“People are happy we are giving books a second life. I guess in this way, this is still one of the best ways to reuse and repurpose books.”

For now, Goon is busy hosting her Season 4 podcast which began last month. She gets rave reviews as she connects with a lot of different people from Asia.

Visit her website and who knows doors of opportunity may open for you too.

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