The Trailing Tycoon

Moving to Singapore can be just the kick some people need to cast off the shackles of a corporate job and pursue their passions. In fact, being new to a country and being in Singapore’s business-friendly environment can inspire people to try out that idea they have either just come up with or have been harbouring for years. Many women who come to Singapore do just that.

 AustCham executive director Annette Tilbrook said there is a consistent trend of women who have moved here with their partner or families, changed their career path and set themselves up as business owner.

“Some women who want to work in Singapore may find that the career they had in Australia is no longer open to them in Singapore due to different qualification requirements or that the pay rate no longer makes it as attractive. “With Singapore offering an easy environment to establish a business, these women often see a unique business opportunity and can transfer their skills from past careers to create a very successful business venture.”

These days, there are much more women these days being moved over to Singapore in high-level executive positions, she said.

“It is also becoming much more common for families to move to Singapore because of the women’s job and I believe this pattern will continue. As the number of women entering senior positions in Australia increases many of these will seek to add Asian business experience to their resume.”

One such entrepreneur who has turned a dream into reality is Australian Gabrielle Cummins.

When she moved to Singapore from Melbourne with her husband Brandon and children Zac, Mathilde and Brigitte (now aged 13, 11 and eight) almost five years ago, she was a full-time mum and had various marketing positions within the arts industry for most of her career, but had never been in charge herself.

“I love all things arts – the process, the result and the sharing of creative thought – vital for cultural introspection, expression and growth. Promoting artists and their unique and eclectic views of reality has long been a passion of mine.”

When she’d decided to relocate, she was interested in exposing Singapore and Asia to Australian artistic culture and to see what further regional possibilities could arise.

“It was only when we moved into our house at 303 Tanglin Road that things started shaping up. Whilst the venue is our home, the space and opportunity here for arts events is unique, and proved irresistible. So with my Australian industry contacts, like Sonja Chalmers of Eastern Desert Art, I began.

“In many ways, I could not have asked for a better start to a business. Having thrown myself into interacting with the various communities in Singapore only a few months after I relocated here as an expat ‘trailer’ and not having worked full time for several years, there was some trepidation. However, I was greeted with nothing short of all out enthusiasm, well wishes and practical supporting both professional and personal spheres.”

Being her own boss gives her the flexibility to incorporate other large aspects of her life – most importantly, her family.

She has some advice for budding entrepreneurs:

“If you are new to Singapore and looking to start a small business, a good place to begin would be with a visit to Amanda at Tall Trees Consulting and Accounting who will quickly put you on the straight and narrow regarding business structure options and methodology within Singapore. The next would be to become a member of AustCham where you can be assisted in so many ways – exactly how depends on the nature of your business.”

This article was originally published in June 2013.