The FCCS Entrepreneurs Committee is the platform for entrepreneurs to meet and network. In order to share experiences and visions, the committee recently launched the ‘Entrepreneur Spotlight’ where a series of interviews with successful French Entrepreneurs in Singapore will be conducted every two weeks.
Interview with Damien Duhamel, Managing Partner Asia Pacific, Solidiance
A few words about your business
Solidiance is a dedicated growth strategy consultancy firm focused on Asia. Since our very own inception 6 years ago, we have been helping Fortune 500 clients to understand the Asian market landscape and providing them evidence-based strategic marketing advice based on a thorough "Marketplace" analysis. Our area of expertise is centered on Industrial Application, Cleantech, Technology, and Healthcare. Some of our repeat clients are BASF, Kawasaki, Microsoft, Essilor, DuPont, Phillips, Toyota, Boston Scientific, Nokia, Baxter, etc.
Our in-house team of profoundly experienced consultants are keen to get their hands "dirty" by working in the field and by interpreting, analyzing, and strategizing rigorously gathered facts directly from the marketplace. Our clients appreciate the fact that Solidiance provides very hands-on practical and actionable strategic recommendations. We get high praises for never cutting corners, being meticulous, and backing up our non-sugar coated insights. Our multinational clients repeat rate is close to 90%, and a clear testimony of the value we offer. We have multiple client recommendations to attest the same.
In order to delve deeper into Asia, we currently have offices in 8 different Asia countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Being an Asia-focused growth strategy consulting firm, we find ourselves comfortably dedicated to deliver the required Asian market intelligence with our own uniquely crafted approach for our global clients.
What is your entrepreneur background and why did you choose Singapore to set up your business?
I lived most of my life away from France. At 20 years old I was the first French Student to return to the Hanoi University, since Vietnam's independence. I went to study Vietnamese language while everyone was focused on China. I carved my own niche. In 1995 after studying in Australia, I returned to Vietnam to set up a boutique consulting firm focused on market entry. It grew fast but I became too comfortable in Vietnam so I sold the company in late 1999 and move to Singapore where I could bet on regional exposure. I joined in Singapore, a London-listed Asia Market Intelligence group. The company was poorly managed and full of flaws. This was the best experience I ever had. It really taught me all the things to avoid at corporate level. It is a lot easier to understand and identify why things don't work than to comprehend why you are growing... I highly recommend working at a company where nothing really works. The answers are then a lot more obvious. After handling the re-positioning of one of their business unit and quadrupling sales, I decided to do an MBA at Chicago Booth. Surrounded by very bright peers, I received a fantastic humility lesson. With both entrepreneurial and managerial experience, a good MBA at hand, I thought it was time to run on my own again. I partnered with a very smart, diverse, and passionate team and Solidiance was born. From 2 people 6 years ago, we are now over 50 full time employees and the latest job openings is about 20.
What were the main difficulties you encountered when setting up Solidiance and how did you face them?
According to you, what are the fundamentals pillars to be a successful entrepreneur?
You are covering several countries in South East Asia, which ones are the most dynamic for your activity?
Any expansions plans for Solidiance?
The views and opinions expressed in these columns do not necessarily reflect those of the FCCS members and management.