Born to a poor family of eight children and the eldest, David was forced to rely on himself and evolved his own skills by being street-smart. Little did he know, David’s early leadership training had begun because of this odds he had to endure.

When it came to education, David must give up on his drafting school dream and settle for LCCI certification. Even in all of this limitation, he eventually gained eleven LCCI certificates due to his passion for learning. Along the way, he built for himself a sense of independence and creativity.

He started his journey working for Robinsons, Chubb Singapore, Henry Design, Ogilvy & Mather, among all of his experiences, only to face another rejection because he was thought to be too good for a certain retail branded leather company he’s working for after Ogilvy & Mather.

That was the last straw for him and he started to build his own company. Only with 4 sales staff and selling his car and using whatever cash he had, he started a gift and stationery business and opened a shop at Tanjong Katong Complex. His first business thrived, and his way of giving personal and equal service to every customer gave him the edge.

David’s business flourished till in 1996 when he found himself with a large stockpile – almost 5000sku. From wholesale business, he decided to go back to the retail business and 1997 came. He was buying in US dollars, Pounds Sterling and Australian dollars and selling in Ringgits, Rupiahs and Bahts. The prices of his goods became too expensive for his customers – and he was saddled with large stocks again.

David’s business succumbed and left with little cash, large stock, huge overheads, large running expenses, retail trickling due to loss of buying power among consumers. In 1998, David closed his business and sold his 3 cars, all Mercedes-Benz models and became depressed.

In his lowest, he began writing “Letters to God”; he wrote whatever came to his mind. He had found his way to making peace with his situation.

He started again from scratch. He applied for jobs and was offered a senior position at Everbloom Mushroom and he spent years working for other people again when his dream is still to become an entrepreneur.

Eventually, he quit his job and set up a consultancy service & corporate training, specializing in entrepreneurial, creativity, marketing, leadership development and training and named it DW Associates (CBN-SG000000077) that still operates to this day, helping people getting back up and starting businesses with the determination he has.

DW Associates, David Wee, Asis's Speakers Bureau, Southeast Asia business, Singapore

Picture source: Courtesy of DW Associates

“To me being defeated is often a temporary position, living-up is what makes it permanent – one should always treat defeat as temporary. Success is not permanent and defeat is not final”, concluded David.

Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs by Confirmis


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