Forbes Fiesta

Written by
Kim Lim

I think the team agrees with me when I say that attending the Forbes Summit gave us all a very much needed energy-booster. Besides the food being the highlight of the trip, meeting people from different walks of life with mind-blowing achievements definitely made this trip a very special one.

We were really blown away knowing that a 15-year-old girl designed a machine that turns rain water into energy, and a 23-year-old guy launched rockets just like Space X. What were we doing at 15 again?

Our jaw dropped talking to different individuals, understanding how they are either using technology or innovative ideas to change the world. It really made what we are doing seem so small. Although we feel very honoured to be listed on Forbes 30 under 30 Asia, these individuals are just incredibly mind-blowing.

In their 3rd year organising this Asia summit, Forbes placed the celebration in Hong Kong, a very robust city that welcomes business opportunities to its land with open arms. People from all over Asia came to celebrate this moment including alumni from the past year’s listing. Therefore, Forbes made sure that everyone will be having the time of their life, and prepared exciting arrangements for us - from pub crawling to after-parties and city tours (though we pretty much skipped all the late night parties because we are lazy bums).

Apart from the celebration, many change-makers and world leaders shared on the Forbes stage about their work and inspiration. I’d like to share about 3 amazing individuals whom we had a chance hear and learn from, and are very amazed and inspired by them.

Are you ready for this?

#1 - A close-up session with Sally Begbie, Director of Crossroads Foundation

We were very fortunate to be selected for a close-up session with Sally Begbie, together with 7 other social entrepreneurs around Asia. She was a lady with a very big heart as she listened to everyone’s struggles and difficulties in running our social enterprises, then she always say the right encouraging words to push us on. It felt like a healing session listening to her words, I am not sure how she does it, but it just alleviates your soul.

She founded Crossroads Foundation with her family 23 years ago, managing and supplying resources to people who really need them. Crossroads also runs simulation programs like the refugee run or poverty simulations for world leaders, in hopes to bring change makers together and impact them in a way where they would act on a change after going through those experiences. (

Sally sounded firm and experienced, giving us wise words of encouragement. It helped everyone to revisit WHY we do what we do and how much determination and passion is needed to fuel those projects everyone is working on. She said what we do right now requires a lot of sweat and tears, it’s 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration, that’s kind of the formula to great work. Therefore it’s important to let people who work with us know why they are doing this in the long run.

If you tell someone they have to build a boat, for many of them - it’s just a task. But if you tell someone the reason why they have to build a boat, show them the horizons they could venture into and explore, building a boat don’t seem like a task anymore, everyone would want to be a part of it. That was what she shared when everyone was discussing about the difficulties in getting teams or communities to work together.

There’s one more thing that she shared which pierced right through our hearts and made us almost cried. For an individual who has done this for 23 years, she emphasised how our work is so important. “People tell us that we can’t do it but we all know we can’t NOT do it.” That was us when we were so naive and innocent, always believing that there’ll be a solution and a way to every problem in this world. Indeed there is.

2. Kanika Tekriwal - Co-founder and CEO of JetSetGo

I was particularly very inspired by this lady as she has been through a lot but never seem to let life bring her down. I remembered how she shared her story.

It was about how her parents wanted her to get married but instead she went to get her masters. Then she was diagnosed with cancer but she did not let that take her life away. She wanted to start a company as she was studying about planes and helicopters. So, she ventured into it and quit her corporate job.

From a culture where people don’t believe that woman can create a multi-million company, she did it. She expressed how hard it was for her and how much of it was just purely hard work. She was a one man show (I really am always inspired with one founder’s company, it’s insane to do everything yourself) and at one point , disguised as different people when people called in so that they wouldn’t think that she’s a one man company. In one call she’s Kanisha, next call she’s Kanusha, and the next call she’s Sharika.

Her hard work paid off, she built a company that has made a revenue of USD 17million by. Of all her successes, she mentioned this, “you really don’t have to plan what you want or need to do for the next 3-5 years.”.

I thought it resonated with me really well, what say you?

Read more about her achievements here —>

3. Carrie Lam - Chief Executive of Hong Kong

The first female to be elected as chief executive of Hong Kong and when she started talking, I clearly knew why everyone respected her so much. She spoke with poise, confidence and firmness about what her plans are for Hong Kong. She’s very proud of how Hong Kong has developed and how it’s going to be like during her term.

We were so impressed as she spoke about innovation, developing the younger generation and the openness towards businesses in Hong Kong. I remembered how she described gathering young minds in a room from different sector to solve certain problem and she’s confident that they can contribute so much for the future. I do believe corporates and government today need young blood to change how things are done or finding an innovative solution to problems. We were really amazed to hear how open and trusting Carrie is towards the young minds today.

She also further explained how they are investing more money into research and development and culture to develop the country. Carrie stressed on culture because it is something that’s going to differentiate Hong Kong from other countries. The identity of Hong Kong all lies on the emphasis of their culture, from entertainment to architecture and business.

Although the 3 individuals I featured are women doing extraordinary things, but Forbes made it sure that there was a balance of female and male who are recognised. They also tried their best to feature as many people on stage especially during the music and food festival after the conference.

Besides the amazing spread of buffet and canapés provided by the hotel, Forbes featured 3 chefs from Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia that were listed on Forbes 30 under 30 as well. They showed off their skills of making desserts and the layers of cakes made were superb!

Forbes left the 3 of us very inspired and very much motivated for what’s coming up for Picha. Yes, there’ll be tough days ahead but we now know there are many more outside fighting the same fight and going through the same struggles. We know we are not alone. A BIG shout-out to our mentor and nominator Jan Wong from OpenMinds Resource. Thank you for being such an awesome Picha Hero constantly supporting our growth and witnessing our craziness!