Grace Clapham Talks About Her Creative Entrepreneurial Mission

Grace Clapham. (Photo courtesy of Grace Clapham)

By : Luky Annash | on 6:39 PM September 29, 2013
Category : Life & Style

Grace Clapham. (Photo courtesy of Grace Clapham) Grace Clapham. (Photo courtesy of Grace Clapham)

Meet Grace Clapham, an inspiring Australian entrepreneur with a network of ventures across the Asia Pacific region. Based in Jakarta and Singapore, she is determined to encourage more cross-sector collaboration by empowering women in the region to push their boundaries and steer their creative potential in the right direction.

The Jakarta Globe caught up with Clapham to discuss her passion and her Indonesian missions in particular.

So what are you focusing on in Indonesia at the moment?

There are currently two main projects I’m focused on in Indonesia – Change and Secret {W} Business.

Change brings together individuals from different backgrounds and interests to join us for one month in Bali to make awesome things happen with a focus on social innovation and social ventures. Our pilot program is happening in Bali in September and we’re working with the communities around us to create more connections between individuals working on social ventures and those in the area. We are all about learning by doing, sharing between peers and having time to make things happen. Within Change we also launched the Change Scholarship whereby we provide one to three Indonesians or residents of Indonesia the opportunity to be a Change Scholar, so costs are subsidized by us and other applicants.

During the four weeks, individuals connect and learn skills and insights from peers, industry experts, thought leaders and inspirational speakers from a range of sectors. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and discover how to be at your mental and physical best. Everything you need to help you drive your startup, social business or creative project forward happens at Change Next year we will be launching some shorter getaways and theme specific getaways. We’re always on the lookout for collaborations and partnerships.

Secret {W} Business is our network and community for women entrepreneurs, change-makers and innovators across Asia Pacific. We provide monthly events, talks, workshops and dinners for our members along with our online platform for the members to share resources, knowledge and information. Our aim is to make entrepreneurship and innovation accessible to every woman whilst connecting them across the region for potential collaborations and growth. We launched in Singapore in June 2013 and have now opened chapters in Bali, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and will soon be opening in Nepal, Jakarta, Australia, Hong Kong, Seoul and Manila.

Working on a multitude of projects across Asia Pacific, how do you stay fresh with ideas?

I believe if you’re paying attention to your surroundings, reading and watching videos, talks, etc., you will always have fresh ideas. I love to see what’s going on in different fields and industries and then see ways of mixing them into one or adapting them into certain projects etc. I do love consuming information – sometimes too much and am learning to wind it down a bit.

How did growing up shape who you are today?

I am proud to say I am half Indonesian and half Australian. My mother is Indonesian Dutch and my father is Australian. I was born in Jakarta and grew up there until I was 5 before moving to Singapore. I’m what some would call a “third culture kid.” I have had the pleasure of being brought up in various different countries, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, Ecuador including UK and France for brief stints. Now I’m still connected as I do a lot of work in Indonesia and am looking at doing more there in the very near future.

Growing up in different countries is one aspect of what has shaped me but I think the most important aspect is being half Asian and half Western. I believe this has actually made me more into who I am today. Being half Asian and half Western I’ve always felt this disconnect between the East & West and that there was very little cross-cultural understanding or connectivity on a deeper level. I felt that being this mix I was able to bridge the gap between Eastern & Western communities and businesses in order to enable better understanding of each other’s cultural and business quirks.

Growing up in different countries I’ve been able to see many different perspectives and understand the different ways people and cultures live so it has provided me with more of a diverse outlook and allowed me to be more open and understanding of differences which I perceive as uniqueness and character.

You are often associated with the term “creative entrepreneur.” What would your response be to that?

I think I’m associated with that term because I initially started building communities focused on the creative economy and sector. But now I like to say I’m a change entrepreneur that brings different sectors together to enable more innovation, connectivity and creative thinking. I’m always looking at ways of making things better and connecting the dots to create more change and progress in some shape or form.

However I do believe I would still associate myself as a creative entrepreneur because I look to this as your mindset and living a creative life.

A lot of your work is targeted at women. What are your goals and what are the challenges facing those goals in Indonesia?

I like to say that my work aims to bridge sectors and cultures whilst enabling and fostering talent — with a focus on social innovation, women and creative economy. My goal is to build a more connected group of women making their ideas happen and fostering collaboration and social progress across the region.

Having said that, there definitely is a lot to be done still. Providing more regular access to resources and knowledge as well as bolstering confidence and community for women where fear and failure are addressed and embraced should be prioritized. I can also see the need for more engagement and connectivity with different communities, eco-system builders and of course, better understanding of entrepreneurship.

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