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Woman who beat poverty to found own firms tells students to pursue dreams

2019-12-03Taipei Times  English News
Businesswoman Yu Su-kuan, right, holds an award presented by Chungher Elementary School principal Liu Wen-chi in Keelung on Saturday./Photo courtesy of Taipei Times
Businesswoman Yu Su-kuan, right, holds an award presented by Chungher Elementary School principal Liu Wen-chi in Keelung on Saturday./Photo courtesy of Taipei Times

A businesswoman on Saturday told a group of Keelung students how she persevered through poverty to found her own company and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.

Yu Su-kuan, the chairwoman of Simula Technology, talked to fifth and sixth-graders at Chungher Elementary School on an invitation by school principal Liu Wen-chi, who is the elder sister of one of Yu’s former classmates.

Simula, which manufactures and sells mobile phone connectors, last year generated revenue of about NT$1.2 billion (US$39.33 million at the current exchange rate).

“Do not be afraid of failure when pursuing your dreams, because success definitely belongs to those who stick to the end,” she told the students.

Yu said she came from a poor family in the fishing village of Maoao in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District.

She had to work at part-time jobs while still in school to look after herself, Yu said.

Her father, a fisherman, had dropped out of school in the second grade, and her illiterate mother looked after Yu and her 10 siblings while also working as a street vendor, she said.

While studying at Keelung Girls’ High School, she had a monthly allowance of NT$400, most of which was spent on her commute, Yu said.

“Two classmates would share their breakfast and lunch with me, claiming that they were on a diet,” Yu said, adding that she would eat simple dishes, such as white noodles, for dinner to make ends meet.

After graduating from high school, she started working in multiple jobs while pursuing a college degree at night school at National Soochow University’s department of English language and literature at, Yu said.

She worked as a cleaner at a trading company during the day and tutored two students in her free evenings to make money, which she sent to her mother, Yu said.

At 28, she used NT$190,000 she had saved to found Simula Technology, she said.

The company made record profits on the back of booming mobile phone sales, but it also saw revenues plunge due to sharp declines in orders, Yu said.

The uncertain business environment motivated the company to innovate and discover new customer bases to survive fierce market competition, she said.

Yu expressed gratitude to her parents, saying her upbringing provided her with the strength and perseverance required for success.