Over the weekend, I met up with a couple of gem dealers from Sri Lanka. These were different dealers than the ones I met with earlier in April.
While they were mainly here on holiday, they also brought stones because they have clients in Singapore. We got to talking and they told me of the differences in culture between our countries, as well as how differently our countries are run. We discussed the high cost of living here as a trade-off for the safety and security.
They told me that they started their business in gem dealing when they were about 20 years old, which, to me, is particularly remarkable.
If I think back, what was I doing at 20 years old? What are Singaporeans doing in general at 20 years old? In the army (for the guys), in university, or just starting in their first jobs. Yet, here are 2 entrepreneurs who started their business at that age. A number of years down the road, they aren't making millions yet, but they are making a good enough living to be able to travel frequently and live comfortably.
They aren't the first entrepreneurs I've met from other countries and they certainly won't be the last.
Perhaps their need to 'do or starve' is a driving force behind their hard work. Perhaps they are simply willing to try new things, whether they fail or not. Perhaps they aren't cloistered in their thinking that the only way to survive is to get a 'proper' job and work for the rest of their lives.
Isn't it strange that we have such an incredible economy but such a weak entrepreneurial scene? Perhaps we have it far too easy.