Follow A Female Founder: Enjiao Chen

For anyone who is new to coding, having a supportive system of like-minded peers would be undoubtedly helpful. Code For Asia Society is dedicated to achieving just that. Code For Asia Society aims to not only provide a learning community for people interested in learning how to code, they also aim to encourage people from non-tech backgrounds and beginners in tech to start learning a really essential skill. Learn more about Code for Asia Society’s tech-inclusive female founder: Enjiao Chen below!

Chen Enjiao (Ernie)

Code for Asia Society Ltd. (http://codefor.asia)


Industry: Education and Technology

Revenue model: Fees for B2B and B2C workshops as well as software consulting

3 year plan:

  • Spin off and support private and/or student tech ventures
  • Organise #codeathon annually to get beginners and people from non-tech backgrounds excited about technology
  • Build and organise peer learning communities/clubs in ASEAN, starting with Singapore and Malaysia
  • Deepen footprint in China, Indonesia and the Philippines
  • Educate educators through an open source curriculum and offline workshops

Describe three of the most significant growth curves in your business.

  • First Customer

The very first customer that we had was my alma mater, which was awesome.

  • Introduction to Diverse Audiences

A mentor connected me to a community of mumtrepreneurs (yes this term exists) and it was really interesting to realise that there are so many different groups of people who are curious about how coding works!

  • Launching Internationally

Got the support of the U.S. Department of State under its Young Southeast Asian Leaders Seeds for the Future program to run #codeathon — our flagship regional hackathon series enabling complete beginners to learn to code under the particular theme of “Technopreneurship for Gender Equality” in 2017, starting on home ground — and was able to tap on their networks to bring the programme overseas, that was phenomenal.

Interesting fact: Our friends at the U.S. embassy were the ones who introduced us to Female Founders!

How does your business fit into the future of your industry?

As far as education is concerned, I guess everyone agrees that the half life of any skill is rapidly shrinking and that digital technologies will disrupt every industry. What Code for Asia tries to do, then, is to provide a safe space for beginners to explore technology, have their curiosities ignited and provide the necessary support to take their ideas further if they turn out to be really interested in something. We offer a peer-driven, problem-based learning approach so that helps to make our programmes more accessible.

On the consulting side of things, we are able to tap on a diverse pool of talents from around the region due to our ongoing work in community-development. This makes it possible for us to help our clients save cost by tapping on overseas workers effectively on the one hand, and increase local earnings on the other.

What has been your biggest insight or lesson learned about running a business?

I think it is that you should not feel shy about charging people for your fair value. After all, the functioning of the entire world economy depends on it!

What has been your scariest moment? How did you resolve it?

I would say that every public speaking moment is scary, since I do not enjoy it as much as reading. At the end of the day I just tell myself that the expected utility from a speaking engagement outweighs the imagined discomfort and focus on what needs to be done.

What is the one piece of advice you want to give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Try it out and take calculated risks before diving head-first into entrepreneurship! The beauty of being born in our time, in a place like Singapore is that we do enjoy access to a platitude of options so take your time to always try-before-you-buy through a workshop, an internship, a remote assignment, etc.