Startup CEO on raising kids with an entrepreneurial mind

From a young age, Cheryl Sue Hoy always knew she wanted to run her own business.

“When the teachers asked what your ambition was… and a lot of kids wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. It was my ambition. [to be] businesswoman,” she told CNBC Make It.

That childhood dream is now a reality for the 39-year-old serial entrepreneur, whose ventures include Reclip.It, a consumer software startup that was acquired by Walmart Labs in 2013.

She now runs Tiny Health, a health tech startup that sells at-home gut health tests for mothers and children ages 0 to 3. The CEO and founder said the test can help detect gut imbalances early and prevent chronic disease.

The company raised $4.5 million in seed funding last week and said its backers include US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, Google’s X and Dropbox.

Cheryl Seau Hoi (center) with her mom and daughter Charlize, now 4 years old.

Little Health

Sev Hoi, a Malaysian now based in Austin, Texas, credits her success to her mother, who was also a businesswoman who ran her own marketing business in Malaysia.

“My mother had his own business and he was the boss. Before working from home was popular, she was already working from home, and I always had this role model,” she added.

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For Sue Ho, who is now a mother, things have come “full circle”. of two children, ages 2 and 4, as she begins to teach them the lessons she has learned.

What advice does she have for raising entrepreneurial kids? CNBC Make It finds out.

Engage in storytelling

It’s hard to teach kids what kind of business they can create at a young age, but kids “remember stories” and that’s the best way to introduce them to entrepreneurship, says Sew Hoi.

While she modeled after her mother Just in observation, Seow Hoi said she wants to be “more intentional” about talking to her children about running a business.

For example, he explains to his children about his job as CEO, about why he started Tiny Health.

I teach them why I work hard. Yes, it’s to make money, but not just to buy food or spend.

Cheryl Seau Hoy

CEO and Founder of Tiny Health

“Talk to them like adults, even if you think they’re too young to understand. The more you talk to them like adults, [you’ll realize] they actually understand a lot and learn a lot from it.”

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Explaining to her children what she does, Seow Hoi said she also teaches them the value of money.

“I teach them why I work hard. Yes, it’s to make money, but not just to buy or spend food. When you make money, you have to build something of value to people. What problems do you want to solve? in the world?”

Create adversity

Entrepreneurship is all about problem solving, and that’s something kids can learn through adversity, Hoy said.

“There is a difference between great entrepreneurs and good entrepreneurs. The great entrepreneurs are the ones who will keep coming back, because it’s really freaking hard to run a company every day,” said Seow Hoi.

If children only have “smooth rides” where problems are always solved for them, they will never learn that value, he added.

“It requires a lot of patience,” my daughter whined. “Mom, I can’t do this!” I’ll encourage him to try again and maybe help him out a little bit,” he said.

“If he succeeds, especially if he succeeds on his own, he learns that ‘if you had given up before, you wouldn’t have made it.’

Sew Hoi said she noticed a “spark” in her 4-year-old daughter, who had gone through the same scenario several times.

“I know he’s learning because next time [she tries to do something], he tells me. “Mom, I can do this. I’m strong.'”

“So if our lives become too easy, I would create misery [for my kids]”.

Clarification: This story has been updated to more clearly state the age of Cheryl Sue Ho’s daughter, Charlize.

Don’t miss it. This millennium played out during the pandemic. His startup has now raised more than $225 million

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