Top Malaysian Female Entrepreneurs that You Should Know

“So much ado about women empowerment and you wonder when the ‘noise’ will subside.” 

Such a disturbing statement heard over a casual conversation between two lecturers in a private higher learning institution.  What would bring about such bitter conversations over the rights of women?  Is it strange to demand more for women, especially in the business arena – An arena picture painted as glamourous, wealthy and especially flashy?  What warrants such negative statements by women against women?

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

(Keynote speech at Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA’s All-Decade Team, 2006)”― Madeleine Albright

This is indeed an apt saying.  There is never a time that empowerment for women should ever be a questionable effort.

For the hard-working entrepreneurs, the media frenzy is a fraction of truth that comes with the challenges, curve balls, ever changing rules of the landscape at every change of political power, archaic patriarchy culture, modernization and constant technology advancements  – and so much more to juggle with the multiple hats that women wear, hence, demanding for empowerment is not strange for hard-working female entrepreneurs.

To achieve their ambitions and stand tall among global competitors, women are still grossly lagging in recognition that some CEOs create invisible male co-partners because the preferred success stories often narrate men’s success. Is that true? 

We’ll say yes, and no.  It can be better, but there has been positive change.

There is a Malay proverb that says, “yang bulat tidak akan datang menggolek, yang pipih tidak datang melayang.”. Basically, it suggests that success does not come easy and most importantly, true success is blind to one’s religion, race, or gender.

Key to success has always and will always be rooted in,

  • knowledge,
  • discipline,
  • consistency, conscientiousness and clarity in commitments,
  • constant self-development,
  • and a good network of friends.


So, who in Malaysia can budding and developing women entrepreneurs look up to for inspiration and motivation? For this edition, we would like to highlight three Malaysian women entrepreneurs who have made us proud.

They are increasingly becoming leaders within their industry. They have succeeded in making strides and conquered the world. As founders of their respective companies, the total value of their three companies exceeds USD 1 billion in 2021. 


Don’t you think that’s awesome!

Want to be like them? 

Follow a brief introduction to get to know who they are. Make these great women your inspiration!

Vivy Yusof

Vivy Yusof - Co-founder of FashionValet

Vivy Yusof is a household name to many fashion-savvy Malaysians.

Famous for FashionValet, her e-commerce company and clothing brand Duck – her story began with her blogging at, founded while she was still a bachelor’s degree student at the London School of Economics (LSE), UK. 

She grew a massive amount of followers whom she strategically and cleverly converted to loyal business followers.

How did she do it?

She built a strong relationship with her followers. She stayed relevant and she paid attention to trends. Most importantly, she built trust. She leveraged on her existing blog platform to introduce the company she wanted to launch. Her readers and loyal followers became her earliest customers.

At the time when e-commerce platform was unfamiliar to the Malaysian market, she grabbed the opportunity to own the ‘first mover advantage’. Her quick action allowed her business to enter the business world with grandeur and femme fatale boldness.

Still, Vivy shares that the twists and turns of an entrepreneur’s challenge will never stop. Success does not come quickly. Cutting-edge technology is changing at every moment. She realized that success is synonymous with self-development and to be a step ahead, she must always be at the forefront of everything trending.

Understanding that today’s customers are smart and resourceful, consumers can make comparisons between products in the marketplace and switch brands at a blink of an eye. Hence, she is never one to shy away from spending on the path of knowledge.

There is a saying that goes something like this – “the day you stop learning is the day you die”, so Vivy is constantly developing herself with various courses that she eventually found herself registered at the esteemed Stanford Graduate Business School.

What would your business look like should you emulate Vivy Yusof? What is the first action you will take to succeed in your chosen field?

tan hooi ling

Tan Hooi Ling - Co-founder of Grab Super App

Who does not know about the existence of this mobile application called GRAB? Did you know that the co-founder of this app is a Malaysian woman?

Grab has turned into another household name for those who needed transportation and succeeded in monopolizing the e-hailing industry in Southeast Asia.

Today, their service has included delivery of food, business logistics and frozen food; e-wallet options and shopping; bookings and many, many more services that was almost impossible a few years back.  Perhaps, soon the word “Grab” will show up as a verb in the dictionary. Just like Google.  

The idea was sparked by Tan Hooi Ling when she was still working at a leading management consulting company in Kuala Lumpur. Her goal was to solve the problem of individuals working with no access to car.

Her goals were based on her own experience, who often find herself ‘transport’less  and coming home late at night after pulling extra hours at work.  Her mother expressed her anxious feelings and Tan Hooi Ling didn’t want to worry her mom.

After mulling over possibilities, she introduced the idea of e-calling that allows carless individuals to book a taxi at their fingertips to her good friend, Anthony Tan. He was sold and they went off to make the idea a reality.  Their company was founded in 2012.

Tan Hooi Ling was aware that the world of start-ups is dominated by men, but she is determined not to make that factor an element that withholds her from her success.

She trudged forward and ignored naysayers.  Today, Tan Hooi Ling is proud that she was able to leave a legacy as well as a valuable pathway for women who want to follow in her footsteps in the realm of technology or STEM.

She hopes that women entrepreneurs can succeed with minimum difficulty by learning from her and rush full throttle in the face of challenges.

Are you inspired? Which industry do you dare to venture to empower the country’s women entrepreneurs?

jenn low

Jenn Low - Founder of Wanderlust + Co

Jenn Low is the founder of a jewellery brand that has decorated the necks, wrists, ears and bodies of internationally renowned models and actresses such as Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez, Jessica Alba and Kendall Jenner.

Inspired by her father, who was her role model and exemplary element in navigating her in the business world, Jenn Low was honed to always reach for the stars and think beyond the ordinary. Jean is always innovating and wants the extraordinary.

As a result, Wanderlust + Co was born as a jeweller that sold items on a digital platform, which at that time a rather odd avenue of selling precious items for most people in 2010. Still, Jean stuck to her stance and thrived in unchartered territory.

Just like Vivy, she too was only a student in Melbourne, Australia when she started her business.

Her courage to take that risky step paid off. Her perseverance made Wanderlust + Co a success and the company has expanded to 30 countries. Its products are now sold in 400 stores worldwide.  Isn’t that amazing?

What would spreading your wings overseas impact your current business?  What against the norm business practices are you willing to implement in your business?

It may seem impossible, but for these Malaysian female entrepreneurs, nothing is insurmountable. All three of them believed that success has no limits and to realize the dream of becoming a superior entrepreneur starts with the first step.

The courage they have in pursuing their ambitions is inspiring.

“So, how to do this?” you may ask.

Knowledge of course!

The key to success lies in lifelong learning. Therefore, we encourage women business owners to emulate their heroes and make learning at the heart of success.

Find a coach! Being coached creates sustainability by putting actions to plans.  Coaches keeps you accountable to yourself.

Are you game? 

Click KOWENA to find out more about the women entrepreneur’s programs we work on.