TAN BOON KIAT
When he was only 30, aspiring entrepreneur and SMA graduate Mr Tan Boon Kiat founded his own company with another partner. In May 2004, Ozis Systems Private Limited was set up, specialising in quality pen drive flash memory. It is currently the distributor for the pen drive series of products from Taiwan in Singapore and Indonesia. Their company also plans to branch out into other types of memory devices like SD cards and memory sticks in the near future.
Boon Kiat graduated with an S.M. degree in 2000 from the AMM&NS programme. He cites the vast amount of network and training that he gathered from MIT, NUS and NTU as being one of the best assets that he has gained from his stint at SMA.
“Graduate education wasn’t exactly very popular among Singaporeans then but I think I made the best decision of my life by doing my Masters at SMA,” says Boon Kiat. “MIT embodies entrepreneurship and the SMA education has made me more willing to take risks. It has definitely opened my eyes to a broader perspective of the business world!”
He previously worked in Taiwan with Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Co. Pte Ltd. (SSMC) for over a year, where his primary role was to transfer technology from Taiwan and qualify them in SSMC before release to manufacturing. While working there, he was impressed by the Taiwanese who are known to produce high quality electronic products at low costs. They have also produced large corporations such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and United Microelectronics Corporation which have grown into world-class businesses from humble beginnings.
Having foreseen much potential growth and opportunities in the flash memory business, Boon Kiat, aided by his Taiwan contacts, set up his company. Despite the challenges, Boon Kiat believes that Singapore has an environment that is conducive for nurturing business startups and Ozis Systems is definitely moving in the right direction.
Whilst in Taiwan, Boon Kiat saw the potential in the food industry. With a team of partners, he successfully negotiated a deal with the owner to fully transfer the recipes to Singapore. STANT Group Pte Ltd was subsequently set up in May 2005 and is the sole master franchiser in Singapore with exclusive rights to produce the recipes. Boon Kiat targets to open one additional store every year through the franchise model.
“Work really hard. Give 101% of yourself and do attempt challenges and take risks,” says Boon Kiat. “I feel that everyone should try venturing out at least once on their own and avoid hiding under a “safety net”. You’ll realise that life is much more interesting if you work for yourself. The satisfaction is indescribable and rewards will be high if you can make it!”