Mei Tan of Scoopoint Co-working shares her vision for Penang as an Innovation and Creative Hub

And her journey starting out and building Penang's first creative co-working space.


2 Jul, 2018

Mei Tan of Scoopoint Co-working shares her vision for Penang as an Innovation and Creative Hub | BEAMSTART News

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Penang is quickly becoming a very vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurship today. 

One of the key elements to this vibrant environment is due to the many ecosystem enablers who have been playing a role in building a conducive and inclusive environment for businesses to flourish.

Today, we had a chance to catch up with Mei Tan, founder of Scoopoint co-working space, who has been playing an integral role in seeding and uplifting Penang's ecosystem.

Below is the interview:

1. Could you share more about what you do today? We understand you run Scoopoint and other ventures?

Actually I do many things, I’m someone who can’t sit still and like to commit myself to things that I’m passionate about to bring more positive change. 

One of my major focuses today is to run and bring Scoopoint to the next level.

Scoopoint is a co-working and incubation space for creative startups & entrepreneurs. I’m also doing branding and design consultancy for companies and serve as the creative incubator program’s mentor at Scoopoint. 

Besides Scoopoint, I am also running Asia Green Group, a property developer based in Penang with several upcoming residential and mixed development projects. 

Moreover, I’m also the ambassador of the High Flyer award representing Penang and women. It’s an award and platform to discover and connect all the hidden talents and achievers who not only have the potential to be successful, but also to be stylish.

I’m also in progress of planning a few innovation + creative conferences and awards in Penang, as well as starting an angel investor group to help seed the startup ecosystem and more.

2. Why did you start this and what was it like starting out?

Many years ago I was working at MTV in New York City as a graphic & web designer. 

The work was great – it was lot of fun, but the corporate culture just wasn’t for me. 

So I returned back home to Penang, and started my journey as a branding & graphic design freelancer and joined the property development company as a creative director. 

In this creative scene, it wasn't easy getting high paying clients. 

I was by myself and it was a struggle to keep my passion alive. It was very tough for the first 8 years, but it got better through finding the right mentors and support.

Today, I am able to run Asia Green Group, growing the business to millions in revenue. However, I am still passionate to change the creative community & ecosystem to groom new creative startups and entrepreneurs. For that reason, I decided to start Scoopoint co-working and incubator space for creatives and entrepreneurs. 

Today my mission is to empower and inspire creatives to unleash their true potential. 

I want to help creatives and entrepreneurs build a more supportive environment that could keep each other growing and passion burning. This is my passion that makes me do what I do today even though running many ventures simultaneously is exhausting sometimes.

It was also challenging starting out as one of the first co-working spaces in Penang, especially when our focus was very niche (on the creatives only). We needed to be proactive and constantly seek new ideas and creative ways to create the content and to educate people on the concept of what co-working spaces were about and the value we could bring. 

Through branding, collaboration, and great team work, we were able to make it profitable and receive the Member’s Choice Best Co-working space in Penang award 2018.

3. You’ve been very much involved with supporting entrepreneurs. How do you do it and how has the journey been so far?

I love to share and groom new creative entrepreneurs and have been conducting and organizing a few events and workshops to invite speakers across the world to Scoopoint for knowledge sharing. 

Hopefully through the sharing and workshops, we could inspire and motivate more entrepreneurs in their journey. 

I’m also actively involved in Startup Weekend and other platforms as a mentor and also the main mentor in our creative incubator program as well. 

The journey has been amazing and giving me hope for a better Malaysia and Penang as I’m able to meet so many passionate and positive entrepreneurs that have the potential to be successful. 

I’m also thrilled to be able to witness the growth of entrepreneurs themselves both personally and in business. This has been one of the best things about supporting them.

4. What’re your tips for success for entrepreneurs? What’re some of the mistakes they’re making today that you believe they could avoid?

My tips would be:

  • Be passionate and persistent – I have seen some of the startups or entrepreneurs that give up too easily and are unable to fight through the hardship. I think once you choose to be an entrepreneur, it is a lifetime job.

  • Be creative – I have seen some entrepreneurs that simply copy ideas of others. I think we need to be always creative to do something different and have more personal touch in order to stand out and be ahead from others.

  • Be hungry for knowledge and network – It is very important to consistently keep ourselves up to date and learn new things. Learning is endless so keep learning and be out there to build network and trust.

Some mistakes that I think they could avoid:

  • Forgetting the customers – Most of the time, the ideas sound amazing but there is insufficient research and market validation. Always know your target audience and really listen to them to help them solve their problems. Don’t assume what they want or need.

  • Execution - I have met some of the startups that ask a lot of questions and over think every step but never actually execute or make the ideas happen. Although it is important to get feedback and guidance from mentors, it is also very important to actually take that feedback and really get down and start doing it.

5. What’s your vision for the future and for Penang?

I believe that in the future, technology would be an amazing tool for people. 

My vision would be to combine the use of technology and creative elements, and to grow new creative entrepreneurs who can use their creativity to seek new opportunities in the new world we live in today. 

My vision is also to put Penang on the international map as an innovative and creative hub, so that when people think of Penang, it is not just about food or a cheap place for leisure, but instead a place filled with innovation and creativity that is inspired by our culture and own identity. 

Lastly, I hope we could retain our local talent and also attract new overseas talent to consider Penang as the best place to live with a healthy balance of work and play.

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