Hong Kong’s Top Female Entrepreneurs: Christine Yu
Some of Hong Kong’s most exciting and innovative start-ups are led by female entrepreneurs. We walk into their busy day, asking for tips that will inspire you to do it yourself. Today we speak to Christine Yu, founder of Sophia.
Young entrepreneurs are on the rise as the next generation seeks more professional fulfillment and seeks to impact society – on their own terms. It’s an opportunity to create your own niche, and while there will always be a level of risk you have to take on yourself, nothing beats the joy of finding success as a start-up and doing something. thing you like.
But what does it mean to be a successful entrepreneur? We interview the strongest businesswomen in town about their scalable start-ups and social enterprises.
Christine Yu, Founder of Sophia
After a career on the trading floor in a male-dominated environment, Christine Yu, an investor, entrepreneur and startup advisor, co-founded Sophia with the aim of empowering a growing number of women in Asia to take control of their personal finances. and be ready to invest. By providing digital courses and accessible resources, the financial education platform ultimately aims to generate more money in women-led businesses in the region.
Tell us about your business. What are you doing?
I am the co-founder of Sophia, an exciting financial education platform for women in Asia and beyond.
Tell us about your best and worst day at work.
As an entrepreneur, you sometimes experience both in the same day. My best day: When parts of our vision to create an inclusive education platform for women come to life. Or when a woman tells me “It’s amazing. Why didn’t Sophia exist for women before? I love what you do and it resonates with me. My worst day: When a million obstacles arise (at the same time) and I have to quickly think of creative solutions. The reality is that problem solving is an integral part of being an entrepreneur – it’s about having a healthy, solution-focused approach to making lemonade from lemons.
What does a normal working day look like?
My days are anything but “normal”! That’s what I love about being an entrepreneur. Every day is a new challenge, a new experience. There are days when I am knee deep in strategic discussions with my other two co-founders, Nicole Denholder and Tanya Rolfe. Other days I work with video editors on the production side of our courses. There are also days when I work with our Sophia team on the program and test our content.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get started?
To know itself. Self-awareness is a hugely underrated skill. Will you have the resolve to build something from scratch? Are you ready to commit to very difficult days? Can you handle the financial uncertainty that being a founder can often bring? Finally, keep your North Star close. Fighting for women, their economic empowerment and for an inclusive and diverse investment ecosystem is what keeps me going through tough times.
What would you do if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I can’t imagine anything else I would do if I’m being honest! If I had to think – it would always involve creating impact, sustainable finance, empowering women, innovating and scaling positive impact in the world, and making all of these profitable things – because (as I always say) if your business or company dies, your mission dies with it.
As a child, what did you aspire to?
Too many things. Ambition was not something I lacked as a child and I thank my parents for cultivating my intense drive to do something impactful and help others along the way. My list included: the first female president of the Philippines, the first female secretary general of the UN, a human rights lawyer, a writer, an actress and possibly also a professional tennis player.
What was your biggest obstacle? How did you overcome it?
I can think of two: being a woman in finance and public speaking. I started my career in a trading room, and if you can imagine, it’s not the most female-friendly environment. With public speaking: I have never been 100% comfortable in public speaking scenarios. The solution I had to both challenges is the same – remembering my value as an individual, the unique skills I bring to the table and remembering that my contributions, my words, my philosophy have power . It’s a good reminder for me every day – to keep doing what I’m doing, to be guided by my North Star, and to be confident in my decisions and my own path.
Why is Hong Kong an important market for you?
Hong Kong is an Asian financial hub and a huge market for women who need to grow their money and invest in literacy. There is a gender wealth and investment gap all over the world, including in Hong Kong, despite what you might think. We’re inspired to drive change here that goes beyond what women think and talk — as well as invest — with their money.
If you had to invest in another start-up/area, which one would it be?
I am an impact investor – investing in mission-driven, for-profit companies creating a positive impact in the world is above all else. I already invest in education, gender perspective, urban renewal and sustainable fashion sectors. If I were to narrow my focus further, I want to invest more deeply in innovative financial inclusion startups in Southeast Asia and explore the VR/AR space as it relates to use cases in education and sustainable fashion. In sustainable fashion, I am also more interested in the upstream space – in AgTech, innovative materials and sustainable packaging solutions.
How practical are you?
I am an extremely practical investor! I will only invest in a company if there is an opportunity for me to be very involved, either as an advisor or to be a mentor to the founders of my beneficiaries.
how do you define success? Do you consider yourself a success?
Success means so many different things to each of us. For me, it’s simple: if I inspired you to do something amazing with your life, if I empowered you as a woman to pursue wealth creation, if I created positive change in the world through my contributions, that’s what success means to me.
What’s next for your business?
Big things! At Sophia, we have a bold vision. We want to be the go-to platform for money and investment in women’s education in Asia. We are expanding our digital courses and entering more markets in Asia and beyond.