- Course studied:
- Information Technology
- Year of graduation:
Jan Wong is an entrepreneur, online strategist and youth advocate who has bootstrapped eight businesses since the age of 17. He is also a part-time lecturer, an academic advisory board member for two universities, a panel consultant on BFM radio station, a TEDx speaker, and has made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2017.
Jan started his first company while studying for a Staffordshire University degree in computing at Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2007. He subsequently founded many technology related businesses, ranging eCommerce, fashion, app development and marketing consultancy.
He said: “The opportunity the degree presented to start my first company is what attracted me to it. Having enrolled on the course, it allowed me to connect with likeminded individuals who eventually became my co-founders of several companies. The coursework allowed me to identify talented individuals that I could work well with and thus take our relationship to a higher level.”
Jan graduated with a degree in computing in 2009 and immediately progressed onto a Masters in Science, specialising in Technology Management. He said: “I was contemplating a business degree or computing degree but eventually settled for a computing one because I realised this will provide me with the hard skills I needed in the industry; as opposed to a business degree that is likely to be more theory and experiential driven that I could obtain at my own diligence.”
Shortly after completing his degree at Staffordshire University partner institution Asia Pacific University (APU), Jan went onto to launch his most successful venture to date. OpenMinds™ started as a job application management company but, in 2012, pivoted towards MarTech. It now offers services including digital marketing, data analytics, technology development and training and consultancy, and has been valued at over $10m.
Jan’s experience and knowledge of the sector led him towards consulting and training at just 19 years of age. He took to the stage to deliver seminars, workshops and conferences at universities and corporations, including Nestle, Vinda Group, Groupon, Maxis, IJM, MaGIC, SWIFT, Sime Darby, TechStars, DiGi, Bosch, KL SOGO, Prudential and more. He has also published his insights in various media, including Malaysia SME, The Edge, Personal Money, Astro, BFM, The Asian Entrepreneur and more.
Jan is often asked to speak on his entrepreneurial journey, leadership, eCommerce, digital branding, social media marketing, SEO and career related topics for crowds of up to 1000 pax, including more recently at TEDx.
Since graduating, Jan has also been giving back to the institutions where he attained his degrees, and inspiring students to follow in his footsteps. At 23, he became a part-time lecturer at APIIT as well as an academic advisory board member at KDU and Sunway College.
He said: “I believe it is possible for youths and students to do more beyond the classroom environment. University is a great opportunity to meet likeminded, driven and passionate individuals who, in my case, became co-founders of several successful businesses.”
“My dream is to create a stream of businesses that support one another; that helps people discover their passion and do what they love in the best environment there is. This was inspired by the university environment driven by the people and opportunities present, that has led to the series of experiments comprising of both failures and successes in my journey.”