This year Youth Day was celebrated on 26 July 2015. In conjunction with the Youth Day celebration, we will share some real life examples of some of the richest men in Singapore. These people who we will be featuring actually became successful entrepreneurs in Singapore despite coming from less fortunate background.

While these men are now immensely successful in what they are doing, it is what they did and learnt during their youth that have moulded them to the success they are enjoying today.

Peter Lim:

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This self-made billionaire was not born with a silver spoon. In fact, he went through much during his younger days than what most youths today are fortunate enough to avoid.

Growing up in a 2-bedroom government flat that was shared with ten other occupants, Peter Lim basically slept in the living room while growing up. He also took up part time jobs such as driving a cab, cooking and being a waiter to support his education costs in Singapore. A typical rag to riches fairytale made true.

Goh Cheng Liang

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 Peter Lim is not the only rag to riches fairytale made true.

Not so much a common household name, but chances are, the buildings around you are painted using the very same Nippon Paint, which was a joint venture of his. With the Singapore’s government ruling to repaint the buildings every five years, it appears that there would be no shortage for demand for his paint.

Born into poverty, his mother was the provider for the family and did so by washing laundry, Goh Cheng Liang sold fishing nets and worked in a hardware store in his younger days, which probably explains his love for luxury yachts and catamarans.

Lim Hock Chee

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Lim Hock Chee and his family came from humble beginnings. As a former farm boy, his childhood memory included having to clean pigsties and prepare pigs’ feed every day after school.

From the renting of a small section within a Savewell Provision store to sell excess supply of pigs, to the chain of 33 Sheng Siong supermarkets today, Mr Lim Hock Chee and his two brothers have definitely came a long way.

What we can learn from them

Given different circumstances growing up, these people may not have been so successful as the businessmen that they have become. This brings us to the point that life is a journey. There is definitely something that we can learn from each and every hurdle life throws at us. And that it is possible that not growing up with a silver spoon could actually motivate someone to try harder to succeed in life.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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