Hong Zhuang is from my first batch of Technology and World Change (TWC) students. I remember his team project in the class. Something that was very close to my heart - wireless communication. We initially thought the team would start a business with Zhuang as the CEO of the company.
It was not to be. In a month or two, the team broke up. I never knew the true reason, but it was no big deal. Teams break up all the time in the entrepreneurial world. We just have to move on.
And move on, this budding businessman did. It was inspiring to watch him from aside. I saw how he developed from an unsure undergrad to a true businessman.
He met with con-men, negotiated with the roughest in the industry. Was bruised, dug his hands into dung, taken advantage of... O, everything.
Seeing his peril, I did not know what to do as I was never into agriculture, and I did not like the idea of biofuels. So I gave him some papaya seeds, the best I knew, and hoped that they will help him yield some cash flow, as he planted them in the land he acquired. (Where are the papayas now, Zhuang?)
He pressed on.
He is now a far cry from the economics student who used to sit in the last row, watching and listening to everything with a crooked smile across his face. During those days, he would answer the questions I posed to collect the lollipops I gave out during Q&A sessions. He did not eat them, he just collected them in his pencil case. It was his collection hobby those days.
Zhuang showed me what perseverance and tenacity are all about and how we must pursue our dreams even if the world thinks we are crazy. He did in two years what many could not in a decade.
Today, he is a true undergrad agriculture entrepreneur. His passion? I guess it is Biofuel - but only for now. I know that he can choose to do anything and still succeed.
Read Zhuang's feedback for the TWC course here
Here's how Zhuang felt about his venture
Find out about Zhuang's venture - LX Holdings Pte Ltd