Malaysian brings Finnish success to Singapore

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At Slush Singapore, an anchor event under the inaugural Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SWITCH), also various entrepreneurs and start-up stakeholders share insights as part of the programme.

One of the entrepreneurs, who presented her journey and shared some quite enormous challenges and her success that eventually came from perseverance, was Malaysian-born Evon Soderlund who ended up in Finland and eventually made success as an entrepreneur – but not without being tried and tested to the very limit.

She also brought news at Slush Singapore that she and her husband’s successful concept Huone Events Hotel will come to Singapore in early 2017!

Evon come on the Live Stage at the inaugural Slush Singapore (part of the global start-up movement from Finland) and began by singing a song about a diamond.

To cut a long story short, her childhood had been tough, deserted by her parents as a little child and brought up by her grandparents. Evon was born in a small remote village in Malaysia. Once her mother finally returned Evon as exposed to abuse and eventually decided to run away at 19 years of age.

“I ended up in Finland, saying yes to marry a Finnish guy after only three months of dating, and 12 years later we are still together and also have a family now,” she recalled.

How she got to a start in Finland was to go and literally begging the Malaysian ambassador to give her the advertised job as clerk at the embassy. She did not have much of an education – only high school – but she got the job and managed to learn English well there.

Later she got into studying hospitality management which lead on to staring up the really unique concept of an events hotel; a hotel without bedrooms.

“We put meetings on the highest priority level for revenue instead of the number of bedrooms one can fill.”

By doing so the meetings and events can get all the attention in the concept.

“We make people meet better. Our meetings facilities are almost like co-working space,” explained Evon.

“But getting investment for something nobody had done before, a truly original concept, was not easy back in 2012. So we took on 600 000 Euro in debt.”

Two times personal bankruptcy threatened them and the second time the judge of the court deemed they should get one more chance based on the business model.

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“Within a years time I tripled the hotel in size. And we are here and now bringing the announcement that we are going in to Singapore in February next year! The next stop will be South Korea. We have hosted 4,000 events, won seven awards, and dealt with two bankruptcies along the way.”

“Fellow entrepreneurs,” she addressed the audience, “It is essentially it will become a diamond if you just keep on polishing. It may be tough but it was my biggest learning. Try harder and keep polishing!

The Slush movement’s objective is to form an entrepreneurial community to help start-ups succeed globally. Slush is organized by a non-profit community to allow the next generation of great companies to have the ecosystem they deserve to succeed on a global level. It is built for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, and it is meant for growth companies of all stages and industries.

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