12 successful women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia whose names you should know

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai once said that we cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. In Indonesia, former university physics lecturer-turned-successful businesswoman Farica Edgina Yosafat certainly lives by that ideology.

As her online business Berry Baby – which offers mother and baby products on the Lazada e-commerce platform – was taking off, Yosafat, 36, also sought to empower other women in her home city of Bandung.

She personally trains her six full-time local employees in skills such as listing products and performing marketing and data analytics. Her team also works closely with both local businesses and home-based entrepreneurs – many of whom are mothers – to design and produce select items for her store.

The products for her business, called Happi Cup, are manufactured at a local factory and have been well-received by younger customers seeking a more eco-friendly way to manage their periods. Pattiya also regularly produces content about women’s health on Happi Cup’s social media channels, which helps her educate consumers while also building a community where the subject can be discussed freely.

One does not have to be a coffee connoisseur to know that the Vietnamese variety has a distinct flavour unlike any other. In Vietnam, tourists covet the signature coffee, while the locals depend on it. Acting on its popularity, Doan Tran Thuy Linh decided to sell coffee products online. In 2018 and 2019, the 33-year-old was the top seller in Lazada’s F&B category through her business, Light Coffee.

By analysing data using various tools on the Lazada platform, she has been able to anticipate demand and introduce new options that have been well-received by her customers. Today, Linh owns a factory and warehouse, and has a staff of 19. She is determined to inspire more women to find the confidence to start their own businesses, and to that end she has trained more than 10,000 e-commerce sellers.

When Kong Wai Theng, a pharmacist by training, started losing customers from her brick-and-mortar pharmacy – Big Care Mart, located in her neighbourhood in Selangor, Malaysia – to bigger brands, she decided to bring her business online.

Despite having no prior experience in e-commerce, she was able to get Big Care Mart set up on Lazada. There, she was immediately open to experimenting with different strategies to promote her online store, such as offering vouchers and free shipping options, which have paid off lucratively.

Today, Kong, 44, is a certified trainer on the Lazada platform, tapping into her past experience to guide new e-commerce sellers. Her advice to other aspiring women business owners is to persevere in the face of challenges and to continuously improve themselves.

In order to spend more time with her family, Monalisa Gao, 45, of the Philippines decided to go into early retirement and close her consumer electronics business, shutting down 15 physical stores across the country.

Her online store, Lucky HR, was one of the first brand partners to sell consumer electronics on the Lazada platform. Gao hopes her success and experience will inspire more women and mothers to explore the world of e-commerce.