YS Yoong from Virtual Co-Operative is bridging cultural gaps with CleanTech technologies

YS Yoong took his first trip to China in 1997 when he was still in the aerospace industry. Never did he think that he would end up being a Founder of Virtual Co-Operative (VCO), a hub that focuses on sustainable technologies and empowers like-minded people to make our world a better, healthier, and happier place. The impetus of VCO stems from an understanding of both Eastern and Western cultures, coupled with a desire to bridge any gaps.


What does Asian Heritage Month mean to you?

“I am who I am today because of my experiences, mistakes, wisdom and lessons taken from my heritage. My mother instilled important values in me long ago and I know that her love for me is unconditional. Despite only four years of schooling, it is the quality of her life skills that have moulded me into the person that I am today.

I always look at myself as an ancient Chinese coin; round outside and square inside. The roundness helps me to go through life like water, and the four corners of the square are my life principles and codes.”


Why did you start your business?

“I started VCO mainly for my son. I want to document my experience so that he wouldn’t need to. But much like myself as his age, anything that I suggest to him, he will reject it and do the opposite. So, I still documented the process and now offer VCO to the rest of the world.”


What role does your heritage play as an entrepreneur?

“I was born in Malaysia into a Chinese family. As a Chinese person in a predominantly Islamic country like Malaysia, I was exposed to a multicultural upbringing. I learnt about Chinese, Western, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu cultures, how to pay respects and never cross lines, as well as learning three languages: English, Chinese, and Malay. I learned to identify the similarities and uniqueness of different cultures and how to respect them.”


What’s one of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?

“My proudest moment is when I can pay it forward and see the happiness light up in others’ eyes and smiles.”


What is one of the biggest and/or most difficult lessons you’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur?

“Overcoming my learning disabilities of ADHD and finding ways to turn my weaknesses into strengths.”


What’s one piece of advice that you would give to yourself when you were first starting your business?

“Never give up. Always look at the brighter sides. Even a broken clock tells the correct time once every twelve hour cycle. There is no such thing as right or wrong, but perspective, balance, and timing is key.”


This piece is part of Startup Canada’s wider campaign to celebrate and honour Asian Heritage Month. Find more entrepreneur stories such as YS’ in our full list of Asian entrepreneurs who are shaking up Canada.