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Christmas Gift Ideas for the Southeast Asian Entrepreneur

For that hardworking start-up founder who has been good this year

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BY Melissa G. Bagamasbad - 23 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Figuring out what entrepreneurs or start-up founders want for Christmas can be tricky, since a lot of them may have almost everything, or may want items that seem complex to those who aren’t immersed in the tech world. Since they can be some of the busiest people with the heaviest responsibilities, we picked out some gifts that may tickle their fancy. Many of these gift items come from Southeast Asia and are also a spin of classics.

Here are our picks:

1. Give them that iPhone. Or any of the latest, most powerful mobile devices

Might be stating the obvious and this one’s a splurge, but entrepreneurs need the most powerful and reliable mobile phones. The latest iPhone would be a godsend. The iPhone X is equipped with facial recognition as well as wireless charging so it should be a breeze for entrepreneurs to log into their phones (no forgetting of passwords anymore!). The official Apple site says users can “charge with wireless charging stations and mats in hotels, cafes, and airports around the world.”

Not an iPhone user? The Samsung Galaxy S8 has been touted to be “the best smartphone in the world right now,” according to The Inquirer. The S8 is made up of the best materials and has a fast Snapdragon 835 processor, perfect for the entrepreneur who has a myriad of apps and files. It is also waterproof and has a long battery life so it can definitely fit the fast-paced and active lifestyle of its user.

2. Book them a massage

Unfortunately, start-up founders and bosses can be prone to burnout, with the future of their enterprise resting on their shoulders. Massages are more accessible nowadays — thanks to apps like Zenya that promise to give five star massages, be it at home or even in the office.

3. Give them the Tile device to help them locate their items

Admittedly, being a busy person who’s always in charge can make one scatterbrained. The Tile device is a godsend for the entrepreneur who might lose his mobile phone, keys, and practically anything. One of the ways it works is by ringing your lost object if it is within distance.

4. Splurge on a luxury handbag or laptop case

An entrepreneur needs a high-quality bag or case for their everyday items, especially for that all-important laptop. For the woman entrepreneur, Reebonz Singapore and Malaysia have a wide array of top quality luxury bags, with some at discounted prices. For the men, this website also offers laptop bags, cases, as well as backpacks.

5. Alternatively, give a bag or accessory from a social enterprise.

Pay it forward this holiday season by helping livelihood communities when you purchase your gift for your entrepreneur friend, co-worker, or family member. There are organizations like Rags 2 Riches and WISE Enterprise that ship their great quality and fashionable bags and accessories worldwide. Rags 2 Riches helps livelihood communities of women, while WISE Enterprises assist those who are differently abled to find a job.

6. Refill their stash of strong coffee

People who run enterprises need robust, rich coffee to keep them energized (no 3-in-1 sachets, please!). Luckily, Southeast Asia is home to some of the most delicious, distinct coffees in the world that comes in good prices. Vietnam, in particular, is famous for their coffee. While you can give your entrepreneur friend a bag of beans from a popular chain, you can also upgrade your present by giving them a Vietnamese coffee kit (complete with sweetened condensed milk, Phin filter, and coffee). You can also give local ground coffee beans from famous Southeast Asian markets like the Ben Thanh in Ho Chi Minh.

7. Give an inspiring read, especially about entrepreneurs who’ve been there, done that

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, for instance, shows how women in the workplace can push themselves in their careers. She gives practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career. The book also describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment.

There’s also Angela Duckworth’s book entitled, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. This book tells how success can actually be achieved through passion and long-term perseverance and not just through intelligence.

Now making more waves across Southeast Asia as he creates collaborations with various countries, Jack Ma’s book Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark is also a good read. Ma’s story can be said to be a real-life rags-to-riches story. In the description, it promises to be “an insider’s account of how a teacher built one of the world’s most valuable companies — rivaling Walmart and Amazon — and forever reshaped the global economy.”

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