The rapidly evolving environment due to Covid has brought unprecedented disruption and challenges to people, business and societies. Start-ups are often more agile and flexible in adapting their business models to the changing demand and market needs, enabling them to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Female speakers from the ASPAC region will share their insights on how impact investments and innovative ideas and solutions from purpose-driven companies can help societies build back better and deliver real impact.
1. Juliana M. Chan, Ph.D. (CEO, Wildtype Media Group)
Dr. Juliana Chan is the founder and CEO of Wildtype Media Group, Asia’s leading STEM-focused media company, spanning digital, print, custom publishing and events. She received a BA degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Awards received include the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship, the Singapore Youth Award and MIT Technology Review’s 10 Innovators Under 35 (Asia). Juliana is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (WEF), and she serves on the WEF Technology Pioneers Selection Committee.
2. Brianne West (Founder & CEO of Ethique)
Brianne West is a New Zealand entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Ethique, the world’s most sustainable lifestyle and beauty brand. Ethique has, to date, prevented the manufacture and disposal of over 10 million plastic bottles worldwide.
Brianne West founded her first company, a pet detective agency, at age eight. She started her first natural cosmetics business as a high-school leaver at the age of 19 and ran it for five years before starting a confectionery company. West is a trained biologist and received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2013 from the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand. She first began creating products in her kitchen as a hobby while studying at University. Once she started marketing, the company initially traded as Sorbet Cosmetics. Having previously founded and sold two other companies, Brianne’s passion for environmental conservation, background in cosmetic chemistry and desire to create a business that went beyond just profit led her to establish Ethique with the mission of ridding the world of plastic bottles.
3. Francis Ngai (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Social Ventures Hong Kong)
Francis Ngai is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVhk). He is also the Founder of Playtao Education, BottLess, HATCH, SONOVA and a Co-Founder of Green Monday and RunOurCity.
SVhk is an impact organisation focused on innovating social change for Hong Kong’s urban social challenges through pioneering impact ventures, aggregating impact capital and providing Business 2.0 consultancy. Since its founding in 2007, SVhk has invented and incubated more than 40 social innovation projects, and advised several notable Hong Kong businesses including the Airport Authority of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, the Urban Renewal Authority, Swire Trust and Bupa Hong Kong.
Prior to establishing SVhk, Francis was the Head of Strategy in a listed technology conglomerate in Hong Kong. He graduated from the City University of Hong Kong and was conferred an Honorary Fellowship by the University in 2013. He received an Honorary Fellowship from the Education University of Hong Kong in 2018, and was selected as one of the 100 Asia Pioneers by The Purpose Economy in 2014, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2012, one of Hong Kong’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons in 2011. He serves as the Deputy Chairman of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network.
As an ultra-running veteran, Francis completed The North Pole Marathon in 2013, Sundown Ultra-marathon 100km Race and the 250-km Gobi March of the 4 Deserts race series.
4. Leanne Robers (Co-founder of She Loves Tech)
Leanne Robers is an entrepreneur, advisor to startups, community builder and angel investor. She is the Co-founder of She Loves Tech, the world’s largest startup competition and accelerator program for female tech entrepreneurs and women-impact tech startups. Now operating in over 30 countries, She Loves Tech is committed to building an ecosystem for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation that creates opportunities for women and closes the gender gap in startup funding. Since its founding in 2015, more than 3000 startups have joined and have gone on to raise more than USD$150M.
A frequent speaker and advisor, Leanne specializes in helping leaders thrive during challenging times by building the resilience, agility and the ability to seize opportunities amid adversity by using techniques derived from neuroscience and psychology.
In 2019, Leanne was selected as an Obama Leader. In 2020, she became the only Asian to be awarded the top award of Booking.com’s Tech Playmaker of the Year, in addition to being awarded Champion of Change. Most recently, she has been honored as a Microsoft Regional Director, a program where Microsoft selects 200 of the world’s foremost thought leaders to impact the Microsoft network. She is also a Samsung Ambassador and was named as Singapore’s Top 100 Women In Technology by IMDA.