May 2024

BGS NZ Member Spotlight: Meet Jeffrey Ling - A Pioneer in Entrepreneurship.

We're excited to highlight Jeffrey Ling in our Member Spotlight series. As the Programme Director at the Ministry of Awesome, Jeffrey has been instrumental in propelling early-stage Kiwi startups to new heights through the Founder Catalyst programme. His journey from a promising legal career to a champion of entrepreneurship captures his innovative spirit and dedication to creation. Under his leadership, hundreds of startups have flourished, collectively raising millions and significantly impacting the global market.

Interested in learning more about Jeffrey's dynamic approach to startup success? Dive into the full spotlight Q&A below.

Q. Where do you work, and what is your current job title?

A. I work at the Ministry of Awesome, and I am the Programme Director for our Founder Catalyst programme, which is a 6-month-long programme to help early-stage Kiwi startups grow and scale.

Q. What led you to choose your career and/or industry?

A. When I did my MBA, I took a course titled 'VC and Entrepreneurship.' I was simply mesmerised by the industry's relentless efforts in the complex process of creating something out of nothing. Initially, I wanted to try my hand at becoming a VC but found my true passion in entrepreneurship instead, especially when it comes to growing multiple startups concurrently. I have since ditched my legal career and not looked back. Right now, I just love all things about entrepreneurship, including crafting a winning business model and a sustainable growth strategy.

Q. What is a professional and/or career highlight you're proud of?

A. I was fortunate enough to have worked directly with 130+ startups through a sponsored programme when I was in Taiwan and now in a similar situation in New Zealand but for 150 startups and counting. Overall, I have probably coached and supported more than 500 startups across several continents in the last 14 years. Quite a few of them have raised tens of millions of dollars, and the total combined market value of all these companies has probably far exceeded a billion dollars.

Q. What is one skill you think is important to learn or improve today?

A. The world is only getting more volatile nowadays. Survival depends a lot on one's ability to solve complex problems. So, I believe someone who is good at problem-solving stands a better chance of surviving and thriving. A problem-solver sees opportunities, likes to get to the bottom of things, and doesn't take no for an answer. In fact, a problem-solver creates opportunities for others; as such, they are more likely to be a giver, not just a receiver. Thanks to the internet age, we all have the knowledge and tools to become adequate problem-solvers. We can learn to solve smaller problems and then move on to bigger problems. Problem-solvers also make the best entrepreneurs, I believe.

Q. What is a key lesson you've learned in your career?

A. Selling is a super critical skill in life and work. This is not just in the sense of selling products but also selling ideas to your customers, your investors, your business partners, your colleagues, and even your family members. This is not about being eloquent or skilled in communication but getting your audience to cross the bridge to come to your side. Anyone who refuses to engage in selling is unlikely to be a great leader and definitely not going to make a great entrepreneur.

Q. Is there any book, podcast, or resource that has really impacted your work life?

A. I started my entrepreneurial journey because of a book called 'The Lean Startup.' It talks about the science of starting up; that is, doing a startup is basically an endless series of scientific experiments - always hypothesising and always validating. This book is not only relevant to startups but to all aspects of life and work. For example, big corporations can benefit a lot from less forecasting and more market testing, from selling ideas first before building the products.

Q. What do you like to do when you're not working and why?

A. I simply love solving complex business challenges for other folks, even when I am outside of work. During my spare time, I often speak to various friends from around the world about their startup/business. It keeps me learning and sharp for my work. If I have to pick a sport, basketball will always be my true love since my teenage years.

📢 Join Our Community Spotlight! Inspired by Jeffrey's journey? Every BGS NZ member has a unique story that can enlighten and inspire others. Click here to share your story with us. Let's celebrate the diversity and achievements of our community together!

Don't miss these stories: