Inspiring Stories
A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.

Serial Entrepreneur Michael Teoh Su Lim

Michael Teoh is an international award-winning entrepreneur and a Malaysian Book of Records holder for the Most Extraordinary Global Leadership Experience for a Youth in 2012. He is a certified trainer and coach, specializing in helping young talents in universities and companies to develop their potentials to succeed. He has worked with the world's largest brands and governments, coaching and speaking at their programmes on Communication Skills, Youth Employability Skills, Entrepreneurship and Motivation for the Workforce. He is also the organiser for TEDx in Malaysia. He has done projects across 30 countries and has spoken in the United Nations and on CNN about the development of young people.
  • Give us an insight into your present work whereabouts.
  • Brief us about your background and qualification.
  • Why do you support social entrepreneurship? How is it contributing to the development of the society according to you?
  • Challenges are a part of every journey. Cite a few anecdotes from your life of strong challenges that confronted you and how you won over them.
  • What are the current challenges that stand ahead of you and what makes you face them fearlessly?

1. A Holistic Approach towards Self-Education (2000 - 2008)

Michael Teoh was active in extra-curriculum activities during his schooling years, getting involved with Debating, Public Speaking, Drama and Science & Innovation competitions - All of which would prepare him to hold several high profile leadership positions like the President of INTI College's Student Council to even becoming the Chief Executive of the College's Group of Young Entrepreneurs Clubs. When he furthered his studies abroad, Michael represented the name of Malaysian youths well, overseas in global business and consulting competitions, often representing New Zealand during his tertiary studies years and pitting his skills against the most talented students abroad. He was invited to consult clients from Deloitte (New Zealand) to Citigroup (Hong Kong) through business simulation competitions. He would also represent New Zealand 2 times to the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Cup, where 10 of his student-run business projects were contested against projects from 50 countries. In 2007, he came up tops when his projects were placed at the Top 10 among 50 countries in New York for the SIFE World Cup.

Michael has been a believer that he needed to hone his holistic skills while garnering knowledge in order for him to give back to Malaysia. His contributions overseas were recognized by the New Zealand Prime Minister through a per-sonal testimonial written to him, and becoming the Only Student invited by Har-vard University to speak and participate in the Harvard Business Conference.

2. Branding, Communications and Building a Community (2009 - 2010)

Michael returned to Malaysia, beginning his first job in a branding and PR agency where he was mentored by Peter Pek (Celebrity Judge of The Firm reality show and Rotary Club of Gombak President). It was during this period that he realized that effective communication and relationship with stakeholders in the media and influential figures can go a long way to promote a worthy cause.

He studied the industry and started Youth Entrepreneurs Malaysia (YEM), a movement to inspire Malaysian youths to be Entrepreneurial and to partake in entrepreneurship-related activities. The community has grown to become today with over 4,000 members on its social media groups, with over 30,000 readers who frequent the entrepreneurship-resource site from the ASEAN region.

He was also the Co-host for the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) programme in Malaysia for 2009, where along with YEM, they became the Youth Catalyst and started their 1 month (November) long programme to organise net-working events, pitching opportunities and entrepreneurship seminars to create more awareness among the youths about business opportunities in the country. YEM's contributions were later recognized by both Deputy Minister of Higher Education (Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah) and Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (Dato' Mukhriz Tun Dr. Mahathir). Around 10,000 students from local universities and colleges were impacted (According to a tabulation done by GEW Malaysia, headed by Warisan Global Sdn. Bhd.)

With his involvements in YEM, Michael furthered his studies to Stanford University for a 2 weeks short course, and to INSEAD in Singapore for a 2 weeks short course as well, both focused on Entrepreneurship, both in early 2010.
michael teoh su lim,entrepreneur
3. The Serial Entrepreneur (2009 - Current)

In 2009, aside from pursuing Youth Entrepreneurs Malaysia to promote entrepreneurship among youths, Michael teamed up with several partners and set up a project management and online media company, which is known as Monad International Sdn. Bhd. today.

During this time, he also worked in a youth NGO known as myHarapan as the Head of Outreach (Marketing) and kick-started a series of talks where he would visit universities to speak and coach student projects aimed towards nation-building. Some of the projects which Michael helped during his time in this NGO in 2010 which have matured to become social enterprises today, include; Teach for Malaysia, EPIC Homes, Youth Jam and among others. Michael's work ended with myHarapan in early 2011, but he continued on with his entrepreneurial strides.

In 2012, he was made Managing Editor of the now, 30,000 readership strong website. He was brought into the board of Monad International Sdn. Bhd. as a Partner for its Online Media arm. He also founded Thriving Talents, a company which represents his passion to consult and coach talents in companies to achieve their potentials to be meaningful contributors to society. He has set his aim to impact 1 Million People by 2020. He is also in the midst of publishing a few books on personal development (With draft now in Marshall Clavendish in Singapore, 2012).

He is currently mentoring a few start-ups in colleges for his free time. These start-ups are mostly involved with student-events, to social media marketing, to apps development for the youth market. (References from mentees available upon request)

4. The Global Ambassador & Elected Youth Leader (2010 - Current)

First election came in 2011, from a Facebook Global Delegation Election where Michael was selected to represent Malaysia to London for the One Young World global youth summit in 2010. He gave a keynote address about youths chang-ing the world with technology and was featured on CNN, BBC and Reuters.

In 2011, he was further put into positions of power and influence to represent Malaysian youths by the masses, when he represented Malaysia in the global finals of Your Big Year, a global social entrepreneurship and ambassadorial competition among 45,000 people from 168 countries hosted in the UK, and won!

Upon winning the 'Scholarship' from sponsors worth UK Pounds $250,000 (Reference available in an article from The Star) from Your Big Year, Michael led a global expedition to 22 countries, volunteering in Humanitarian and Envi-ronmental Conservation projects. From building wells for the impoverished communities in Peru, to rebuilding homes for the hardcore poor in Colombia, to researching on climate change along the Canadies Rockies in Canada, to rescuing orphan lion cubs in the safari in Zimbabwe, to helping a scientific team to unearth a Mayan Ruin in Honduras, Michael found his passion to give back and to advocate for good business practices across the globe. Collectively, it was estimated that Michael's expedition managed to impact 300,000 lives across 22 countries for a 12 months expedition (Based on tabulation done by Smaller Earth, a sponsor of Your Big Year)

During the process, he actively used Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to build his social media group that would engage youths around the world to follow his volunteering experience and to rally them up to contribute their efforts in humanitarian projects. He currently has over 10,000 followers on social media.

He was also put on the United Nations' stage in Kenya and Geneva to address global delegations about Youth Volunteerism and Youth Development in 2011. Aside from that, Michael shared the stage with Randi Zuckerberg (Facebook Co-Founder's Sister and former Facebook Marketing Director) and Ted Turner (Billionaire and Founder of CNN) in the Mashable Social Good Summit, organised by the UN Foundation in New York, to discuss about youths' involvements with Doing Good Business through Social Media. He later participated in the Global Entrepreneurs Congress as a speaker along with Sir Richard Branson in Liverpool, UK, April 2012. In June 2012, Michael's speech in the UN in Geneva was included into a transcript where it will be placed in the UN's largest library in Switzerland for future references.

His keen interest to assist the country by working with the governing parties had earned him various non-executive and advisory roles with government ministries (Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Youth & Sports) and agencies (MACRI and Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa).

5. The Success Coach & Advocate (2012 - Current)

Speaking, Coaching and Consulting on strategies to develop and deploy the best talents in companies and governments have always been Michael's passion, a passion which he turned into his way of reaching out to the public. Up until this date, he has spoken at more than 200 universities both locally and globally (NST, 2010).
Michael recalls his most memorable speaking engagements throughout 2010 and 2011, where he spoke in Stanford University for the Stanford Summit, to being an invited speaker to Malaysian scholars in Oxford University, to having the opportunity to speak in universities in Africa to Hungary to China to Russia and more.

He is now a Certified Trainer and Coach under the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) while his company, Thriving Talents is a Certified Training Provider, with the aim of inspiring 1 Million People across the globe by 2020. He wants to be sustainable in order for him to help those who are less fortunate to obtain access to holistic education and the grooming of their soft skills to succeed! He is also listed in two international Speakers Bureau. Namely the Moscow Speakers Bureau (Russia and the Former USSR Territories) and the Teen Speakers UK (London).

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on February 2013.

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