Name: Stefan Focas
Company: Co-Founder and Managing Director of Stepping Stone Pte. Ltd.
Position and brief description of responsibilities/geographical area covered: Stepping Stone is a consulting business focused on SMEs and entrepreneurs. We support our clients with Services (such as incorporations, accounting and corporate governance), Advisory and Investment. Our primary focus is on global small business owners from New Zealand, Australia and Ireland who are looking at Singapore and the neighbouring ASEAN markets. This includes expats already here who are now looking to start their own business in Singapore. In a nutshell, we help new businesses get funded, up and running and started in the right direction.
Been in Singapore since: April 2006
With the same company the whole time? No. I was previously with Thomson Reuters here in Singapore and also in Europe before then. In Singapore I was CFO for Asia Pacific for their Healthcare, Intellectual Property and Science Businesses. Before Thomson Reuters, I was with KPMG in Auckland and Luxembourg. After almost 20 years in the professional service and corporate sectors, I’m really enjoying working with a diverse range of small business owners. Our current clients include a professional sailing team, sports events companies, a mobile social gaming platform, and a couple of family offices as well as several service based businesses ranging from engineering, to education, to recruitment.
Where were you born? Wellington, and am still a loyal (and patient) Hurricanes fan. Our time will come, although I wouldn’t put any money on it happening in 2015.
What country do you call home? New Zealand will always be home. Susan, my wife, is from Ireland however so we’ve more than one home now and that’s the main motivation for moving from the corporate world to running a small business that will give us more mobility.
Few words on what you like most about Singapore: It such a melting pot in so many respects. I certainly don’t mind the weather, love the food, and it is located in a great little corner of the world with so many great places to see within a 2-3 hour flight. Being half way (sort of) between New Zealand and Ireland obviously helps also.
Any top tips for newcomers to Singapore? Have a good look around the island. We still keep finding great new restaurants, etc. every week. It’s impossible to cover them all, but it’s crazy to stick to regular joints in this food crazy country. Also cost wise, Singapore obviously isn’t cheap, but it can be more manageable if you look around.
What do you do to relax? Spend time with my family mainly. We have a 5 year old boy and 2 year old girl. That eats up much of the weekend, but being able to be outdoors year round certainly makes Singapore a great place for having young kids. I also get a few runs in when I can and love sticking my head into a good non-fiction book.
Why did you join the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (Singapore) and what do you like most about it? I’ve been a member since 2006, was previously on the Exco, and was President between 2008 and 2010. It was a great way to get back into the NZ community after spending several years in Luxembourg where you probably could have counted the Kiwis there on one hand.
Do you have any audacious goals or bucket list items still to achieve? Singapore will not be home forever, so getting a global small business going which ties in with our life is the main goal at the moment. Related to this, I’m writing a book at present which is aimed at helping small business owners get ahead in today’s information age.
Last words: is there anything more you would like to add? Nice work to all the newcomers on the Chambers’ Exco! It’s a voluntary job for busy people, but I’m sure you’ll find you’ll get a lot from it and meet great new people through it