Here at The New Savvy, we were super excited to meet up with Anna Wong, co-founder of Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW).

FEW, a social entreprise, founded in 2015 by Anna and Ines Gafsi, is a worldwide platform for businesswomen, corporate leaders, and professionals. It was formed to help women support each other in entrepreneurship.

Originally from Hong Kong, Anna worked in public relations before launching her own business.

Anna believes Hong Kong is the ideal platform for women entrepreneurs to get started in business, currently being ranked second in the world for female entrepreneurship. A recent global survey by BNP Paribas determined that 45% of entrepreneurs in Hong Kong are women.

One of the primary objectives of FEW is to empower women to help them realise their dream and grow their business.

The dynamic duo of Anna Wong and Ines Gafsi believe FEW can help all levels of female entrepreneurs worldwide. They aim to establish a mentoring programme to connect Hong Kong based entrepreneurs with more experienced business women globally.

The New Savvy recently chatted to Anna Wong to learn more.

Anna Wong, Founder of Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW), Hong Kong

  • Tell us more about your story/background. How has your past shaped you to be who you are now?

My background is in Public Relations and Marketing.

Growing up, my parents were very strict and had high expectations of me. I was expected to be a role model for my young sister and brother and always to achieve high grades at school. I think this type of upbringing caused me to be quite demanding of myself, both in my private life and at work.

Throughout different periods of my life, I came into contact with many great mentors, such as teachers at school, university professors, influential friends and business advisors. I feel that all of these connections helped me learn life skills, including personal interactions and in making business decisions. Combined, they all helped to make be a better person.

  • Tell us more about FEW. What’s your vision for it? What’s the mission?

Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW) is a social enterprise launched in July 2015 that aims to support women by way of connecting, inspiring and empowering women for entrepreneurial success and to scale their business locally and globally.

We are an international business community with over 1,200 female members. We are continually developing global networks including in Shenzhen, Macau, Singapore, Los Angeles and London.

Through our blogs, YouTube channel and social media such as Facebook and Instagram, we give a digital platform for broader brand exposure for our members.

We organise regular entrepreneurship programs, skills workshops and conferences, with the core objective being to connect “wantrepreneurs,” and young, established entrepreneurs with successful male and female role models.

Currently, we are planning Female Entrepreneurs Day in various cities, an annual regional conference which sill start in Hong Kong, then move to Singapore and London, to promote female entrepreneurship and leadership.

  • How did it happen? Why did you set it up?

It’s not at all easy to be successful in a workplace or business.

I understand the need and importance for a women’s support network. I discovered that a lot of women have incredible ideas and dreams, and they just need a certain amount of support and resources to make their dreams come true or to grow their company. I simply wanted to provide a platform where these women can share resources, meet like-minded people and gain mentors.

I then decided to ask my friend Ines, who is from France, to join me in creating a business group. Ines has a passion for life and work, positive values, and attitude, and I thought she would be a good partner. In the beginning, we didn’t have high expectations, but we attracted so many females and received fantastic support from some big corporates.

We’re thrilled that more and more businesswomen from different cities and corporate leaders are joining us now.

Anna Wong, Founder of Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW), Hong Kong

  • Why do you do what you do?

I also have other projects that I’m passionate about.

I’m the PR advisor of various local and overseas startups. I’m particularly excited to support female-led projects by sharing related resources.

I also have a modern PR business that focuses more on entrepreneurial businesses. We manage the investees of our business partners, portfolio companies, and investment firms.

My partners and I also run a digital, scientific and data-based recruitment platform which aims to create a happier workforce and improved work culture. We are now upgrading the technology – creating an app. It will be something amazing! Stay tuned!

  • Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you? How did this person impact your life?

From a young age, I had a mentor who is a corporate leader of a big company in Hong Kong.

He was the first one to tell me how much potential I had. You know, as a young girl you often feel lost and don’t always have a lot of confidence. He would tell me that I shouldn’t waste my “God-given talents,” that I just needed to believe in myself, and I would become a star. I guess he changed me at a certain point – now I feel I’m gradually becoming what I dream of.

  • Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

Morning: The morning is usually my best time to focus on work. This is when I will clean up all my paper documentation and emails. I like to arrange important meetings in the morning because this is when I feel more focused.

I also love to do exercises in the morning that help make me more energetic.

Lunch: I usually have lunch with my clients or members of my team.

Afternoon: My afternoon is usually spent having client meetings, working, looking at interesting content or chatting with my teams!

Evening: In the evenings I will often attend networking events or client meetings.

Night: I enjoy working in the late evening when it’s quiet, and I can focus on business models, structures and strategies, markets and industry trends. It doesn’t sound fun at all!

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  • What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

Administration & filing documentation – I’m not good at either of these! I find it so difficult. I’m detail-minded at work, but I don’t know why I can’t manage this part well!

  • Can you share some pieces of advice for female entrepreneurs?

Do sports!!! No matter what, it’s very important to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle, so you don’t burn yourself out!

Be compassionate and passionate. Don’t wear your emotions at work, especially when you’re the leader in the eyes of others.

Your investors, business partners, clients, and colleagues will be attracted to you if you have genuine compassion for others and a passion for what you are doing. This is the law of attraction!

Anna Wong, Founder of Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW), Hong Kong

  • If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

People often thinks it’s impossible to have work-life balance. Many people hate their jobs, boss, colleagues. Lots of people get lost at a young age, and at the middle age, some people still don’t know what they want.

I would love to create a system that can help discover their talents, strengths, passion and create a better workforce because one-third of our lives is spent working.

  • What are your financial habits?

I love spending money, so I love making money! I don’t like the stock market, but I do pay attention to the property market and real businesses.

And, yes I suggest reading The New Savvy!

  • How do you improve your financial knowledge?

I will read The New Savvy!

  • How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?
  1. Be yourself. Know what you want. Do what you love. Love what you do. You will become what you think.
  2. Maintain healthy relationships. You don’t need everyone to like you, but just be genuine and compassionate to others – you will feel more fulfilled if you have a good relationship with people around you.
  3. Find a good love partner and business partner who are willing to support and understand you. Grow together in the journey!
  • What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?

    Smile! Smiling gives our brain a signal that we feel good and so forth. When you smile more, you will carry an aura and poise. People will be naturally attracted to you.Critical and independent thinking – there are always problems in our life, work, and love. We need to learn to think critically and independently to stay with these problems, solve them, and not to be too influenced by others or your emotions.
  • What is the biggest challenge facing Anna Wong, Founder of Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW), Hong Kongwomen today?         

I think more and more women in well-developed countries and cities are very independent and smart. They have clear goals and objectives in life. Also, the government and community are providing so much support to women, making it much easier for them to grow personally and professionally.

So far I don’t see too many challenges specifically to women in Hong Kong. However, in certain industries and countries, the number of women in business and senior positions is very limited. Women might need to spend more effort to prove their values and contributions

  • Who are your heroes?

My heroes are my dad and mum! They’re so dedicated to the things they want to make happen. They both have such good hearts and principles, and they teach me to give back to the community and people in need. Because of them, I learned that in life there are so many important things that money can’t buy, such as sibling bonding, peace, and happiness.

So, they are absolutely my heroes!

  •  Where Do You Go on a Night Out?

I love music, wine, and dancing. When time allows, I love to spend a night at a nice bar where I can listen to nice music, enjoy wine and dance!

  • Give us a parting quote!

Love What You Do and Do What You Love! Nothing Can Stop You!

The New Savvy Interview

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).