Female Entrepreneurs On the Rise in Southeast Asia
Asia is booming with entrepreneurship opportunities. We are in an age where globalization is at its peak, more and more people are working outside of the office and team diversity is valued more than ever, especially when building global products and businesses. These days, less and less people are making the daily commute to work. More women are trading in their city heels for flip flops by the beach, with a laptop, mobile data or a WiFi connection at hand. Women entering the startup ecosystems around Asia are transforming the way we do business and how we think in the global economy.
They are fierce, they are smart, and they know how to penetrate the market within their industry while making a ton of noise in the process. They discover balance and entrepreneurial creativity and freedom. Startup conferences once saturated with men are starting to transform as more women pursue their entrepreneurial journey – and it’s happening in the bustle of metropolis cities all the way to the tranquil tropical islands of Southeast Asia.
As female entrepreneur in Southeast Asia, I’ve definitely had many challenges that act as strong motivators for me to really disrupt emerging markets on a global scale. These come from changing perspectives of women with executive roles, those who are entrepreneurs, those who lead, those who are fearless. My name is Andrea Loubier, I am the CEO of an email company called Mailbird. I started my entrepreneurial journey in Bali, Indonesia of all places. So yes, I traded in my corporate heels for flip flops and my laptop and the world as my office, working from the beach, from cafes, from co-working spaces….really building a tech startup without the limitation of a single physical space or location designated for work. I said goodbye to the office and hello to the possibilities of being able to build and scale a business from almost anywhere in the world.
It Takes Balls to Be a Woman
As a “third culture kid”, an only child to a Filipino mother and an American father, spending 1/3 of my life in Indonesia, another 1/3 in the U.S., and the final 1/3 span between Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia…there was no question that I was going to move back to Indonesia and start my own company, to build an international business from the ground up. This was important for me, #LifeGoals. I divulged into tech, and have built a team starting with three to now thirteen and growing. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you remove limitations of location or an office. We are three years running strong and continue the uphill battle to building global authority in email productivity, with Mailbird as the only application for Windows you’ll ever need to get things done through both internal and external communications – that is quite a bold mission, but we have a team that rocks and know how to execute.
I bootstrapped. I met with investors. Attended many tech conferences. Participated on a startup reality show. Recognized as one of the influential female entrepreneurs in South East Asia. We’ve made it in Forbes, CNN, CNBC, BBC and the most reputable tech new sources like TechCrunch, Lifehacker, The Next Web, The Verge, The Huffington Post, PC World, IT World and more. I failed. I learned. I got up and tried again. I made connections and partnerships with influential companies and I continue to learn…and it doesn’t get any easier, well kind of. You gain a sense of wisdom through the failures, learnings, mistakes, successes and time you put into building and growing a company. It’s awesome.
Confidence is a big factor and I was not born with it, and it most definitely can be learned. This is why I really want to encourage more women to do the things they want and to take on leadership roles, even if they are scared or don’t have the confidence or don’t feel that they are an expert. We have a tendency to make excuses that lead to not doing. It’s all perspective. I don’t come from a tech background, I’ve never written a line of code in my entire life. The cool thing is that to run a tech company, you don’t have to. You just need to take some time to learn, test, be bold and do. I took some time due to the influence of other entrepreneurs in my network to learn and take the Lean Startup approach. Basically, this expedited the speed at which we executed, so we could quickly learn and iterate with testing and feedback. So again, find a way to build up confidence if you find yourself making excuses.
Share your story or the story of a badass female entrepreneur you know in the comments section below. These stories of women who just went for it creates an inclusive community and support system. Sharing these stories encourages more women to be bold and take that first step, to start businesses that help people around the world. Awesome.