METROBIZ, Saturday 27 April 2013, BizNews

ALL-Natural business
Young entrepreneur brings tasty fresh juices to the table

FRESHCODEONCE, while sweeping a street, Alex Ooi heard a woman, telling her daughter to study hard so that she would not end up like him and this left him feeling uncomfortable. He was studying in Taiwan then and to make ends meet, he worked part-time at a construction site.
While it did pay more than the many part-time jobs that students would opt for, it involved manual labour like sweeping the site, cutting down trees and digging septic tanks, all of which left his skin was sunburnt and painful.Nevertheless, he never grumbled nor gave up, as he was adamant in pursuing his dreams.

For Ooi, there was no job too lowly — as long as he could make a living at it and it did not go against his moral code, he was willing to do it. He worked in construction sites even though he was a university student and he feels that is what made him who he is today. He had always been an independent child and was full of plans for the future. Against his father’s wishes, he enrolled in a Chinese independent school. After much negotiation, his father relented and allowed him to choose his own path. With the state of their finances, his family was unable to afford the school fees so Ooi began working part-time in the F&B industry when he was in Form Two.

That spurred his interest in food. He did not think much of food before but he later discovered that there was more to it than just cooking. Thus, upon completing his secondary studies, he chose to study food science and biotechnology in Taiwan. With good time management skills, his studies were not affected by his part-time jobs. In fact, he was like any other university student and had tine for love and extra-curricular activities. Making good use of his time

— Making his own luck: Ooi believes that opportunity comes to those who work for it and know how to set, it when it appears

During his fourth year in university, his father lost his job and that led to financial crisis. He thought of giving up, thinking that he would not be able to continue his studies. As he was worrying about his future, lady luck smiled upon him. A food company offered scholarships to poor students and he was one of the lucky recipients, thanks to his work experience. Ooi does not think he was especially lucky. He believes that opportunity comes to those who work for it and know how to seize it. In the eight years he lived in Taiwan, he only returned home once. And that was only after working for a travel company and earning an air-ticket. Upon graduation, he was hired by the company that funded his scholarship and worked in food research, specializing in fruits.

His company later deployed him to Vietnam for five years. During those five years, he had the chance to travel to various countries. His job required him to discover new fruits and he benefited greatly as not only did he have the chance to sample many delicious fruits, he also learned many languages. “Language is the key to communication, hence I learned many languages during those five years in order to communicate with others.

“Furthermore, to be appreciated by the boss, we must improve ourselves continuously,” the 31-year-old said.

He later decided to return to Malaysia and start his own business and pondered what should he embark on. The first answer that came to his mind was fruits, but the choices in Malaysia were plentiful, how could he offer something different?

That was how he decided that he would offer natural fruit juices. After much consideration, he decided to import the Australian brand Fresh Code and collaborate with his former Taiwanese company and use high-pressure processing (HPP) to offer Malaysian consumers natural fruit juices with no added coloring, preservatives or sugar. The real challenge was not introducing a not so well-known brand to the Malaysian market, but convincing customers that they could enjoy real fruit juice in a juice shop that did not stock fruits.

He spent 20 days to set up the shop as he feels that one needs to be quick when it comes to setting up one’s own business, only then you can expand your business effectively.

As for future plans, he hopes to expand the business within two years. “Our target is to penetrate the Singapore and Middle East market and spread the benefits of HPP to let consumers’ under-stand the benefits of fruit juice.” On the other hand, he is also planning to produce bottled fresh juice, as he feels that it is a creative and convenient product that will be well-received by customers. He admits that he is a career-minded man and his business takes up a big part of his life. His advice to young entrepreneurs is to be persistent. “Persistence is not stubbornness but to use logic and research, in order to achieve more with less,” he said.

Fresh Code is located at No.23Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor ,Malaysia. Call 03-77317628 for more details.

METROBIZ, Saturday 27 April 2013, BizNews