Participants in Entrepreneurial Day at the Chicago Booth Hong Kong campus

Learning from Founders in Hong Kong

The inaugural Entrepreneurial Day event connected successful alumni entrepreneurs with the Booth community for a day of shared learning.

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The first-ever Entrepreneurial Day event in Hong Kong gave Chicago Booth alumni and students the opportunity to visit senior alumni entrepreneurs at their offices, talking with them about their corporate strategies and—more importantly—their personal career strategies.

The event was co-organized by Chicago Booth Alumni Relations, the Chicago Booth Angels Network of Hong Kong & Greater Bay Area, and network cofounders Brian Tsui, ’11, and Vince Chan, ’15 (AXP-14). Participating entrepreneurs included: King Leung, ’99, CEO of loyalty marketing company CLiX Limited; Merlin Youming Lu, ’16 (AXP-15), chairman and CEO of RB & Manon Business Co., a personal care products joint venture; Jack Poon, ’09, (AXP-8), CEO and cofounder of cloud security company AtCipher; and serial entrepreneur Franck Benhamou, ’90, whose multiple startups include social media strategy advisor Niche Networks.

The day’s highlights were many: participants toured Lu’s cross-border logistics facility and saw it in action. They learned about Leung’s personal transformation from consulting, to entrepreneurship, to big data and artificial intelligence. Benhamou shared his unconventional career switch from a corporate executive to a social influencer and digital community builder. And Poon described his firsthand experience of building a real blockchain.

While their respective ventures may belong to different stages of the growth curve, the interactive fireside chats uncovered one thing these entrepreneurs all shared in common: they have risk agility in their DNA.  

Risk agility helps these alumni entrepreneurs (and any entrepreneurs) respond quickly to unwelcome surprises and thrive throughout a career journey that doesn’t have a universal playbook.

Ultimately, entrepreneurship is an experiential career, the presenters said. Realizing that entrepreneurship is not for everyone is as important as having the passion to become a founder or CEO. Knowing when to change course is as important as being persistent and hardworking. And embracing self-transformation is as important as having the vision to transform the world.

The organizers and participants wish to thank the alumni entrepreneurs for their generous time and candid reflections.

—By Brian Tsui
October 19, 2018