Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Female entrepreneurs share the secrets of their success

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thanks to the Internet, 35-year-old housewife Lu Su-feng (盧淑芬), who called herself a "computer idiot," not only launched the nation's first online milk-fish restaurant, but also realized her dream as a woman entrepreneur.

"At the start-up, my initial motive was to share the fondness for my home-town product -- milk fish from Tainan -- with others including my [three] children who love fast food more than anything else," Lu told a seminar yesterday held by the Chinese-language Business Next (數位時代) magazine to encourage female entrepreneurship in Taiwan.

After seven months of effort and with a total working capital of some NT$300,000, Lu succeeded in inventing nearly 20 modern milk-fish snacks ranging from milk-fish hot dogs and milk-fish hamburgers to milk-fish-flavored popsicle, achieving a monthly revenues of NT$100,000 through the cost-free online network.

The key to her business success is respect for professionals, Lu said, adding that she aggressively sought strategic partnership with a variety of professionals including computer wizards, chefs and salespeople to assist with her one-woman band company.

Lu is not alone, 32-year-old Mao Li-chien (毛儷蒨) is another successful woman entrepreneur, whose management expertise combined with her father's chemical knowledge to launch the nation's first environment-friendly nail polish.

"My ambition is to promote this nail polish with a business ethic of being not only good for the consumer but also good for the environment," Mao told the same seminar yesterday afternoon.

Set up in 2002 with an initial working capital of NT$6 million, Mao's e-nail business paid off with annual revenues quickly rising from NT$10 million in 2002 to NT$25 million last year, with a goal of NT$50 million this year.

Social acceptance, women's growing business ambition and government policies all help contribute to the growth of female entrepreneurship in Taiwan, said Annie Lee (李安妮), a member from the Cabinet's Women's Rights Promotion Commission (婦女權益促進委員會).

"If women are ignored, business opportunities are ignored," she added.

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