To say Elim Chew is a born entrepreneur would be no exaggeration. At 22, an age where most people are barely out of university, Chew has already founded popular street-wear fashion chain, 77th Street.
Through a mix of business acumen, keen eye for fashion trends and determination, she has since grown the stylish brand into one that boasts 10 outlets in Singapore, and a shopping mall in Xidan, Beijing, called 77th Street Plaza.
Chew, now 46, is not just armed with a never-say-die attitude; she is also keen to share her experience and know-how with young people who dare to dream and be different.
Which perhaps explains why she is glad to be one of the judges for Yahoo!’s Singapore 9 campaign this year. “I never fail to believe in the importance of recognising youths, as they are the ones who can introduce change,” she said.
She added, “To the youths, something like the Singapore 9 will let them know that they are going in the right direction; and they are getting recognition for what they do, which is important.”
Chew, who now sits on more than 20 boards and committees of public service, youth and community organisations, such as the Culture and Education Action Crucibles for Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore, has also noticed a changing perception towards entrepreneurship among schools here.
“When I first tried to promote entrepreneurship here a few years back, only two junior college teachers showed up, and they did not get back to me after checking with their principals,” she recalled with a smile. “Now, I give talks on entrepreneurship all the time.”
Asked how she hopes to help this year’s Singapore 9 winners, Chew said, “To bring them to a level where they can create impact and to help them to open doors to opportunities.
She also wants the nominees to “do well and do good”, as she believes one’s success is not just determined by the size of his bank account. “You need to contribute to society too,” she explained.
And while she hopes to give an award to every nominee in the Singapore 9, she acknowledges there will always be some who will be left disappointed. To them, Chew has this to say, “If you are doing good, never worry as someday, someone will recognise it. It takes time to create change.”
Give youths a platform to achieve bigger things: Elim ChewBy Lin Wenjian | Singapore 9 – Mon, Jul 2, 2012
As part of this year's National Day celebrations, we are honouring 9 outstanding Singaporeans under the age of 35 who've made their mark in the area of Business, Social Enterrprise or Entertainment. Role models and visionaries, they are the future leaders of Singapore.
See the best photos from our wrap-up party as we announce the winners in each category.
See the slideshow