Our Founding Story

Hello! I’m Alicent (Ali) Wong, founder of The Women of Colour Founders Network, and here’s our founding story.

Singaporean born and bred, I migrated to Australia in 2004 to follow my dreams of crafting a career and life for myself. I did my Bachelor’s at the University of Canberra, fell deeply in love with this wondrous country and made a promise to myself that I would move here at the first opportunity.

After 1 1+ years of being in corporate and having worked with some of the world’s most amazing brands, my husband and I then jumped at an opportunity to co-found a digital marketing agency in Sydney. After 6+ successful years in business, we decided that it was time to sell our share of the agency to pursue other opportunities, and create more time to spend with our 2 young daughters.

Even though it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done with starting a business, it helped spark my entrepreneurial spirit and once you’ve had a taste of being your own boss, let’s just say life will never be the same again. 

We relocated from Sydney to Brisbane in late 2019, just before the pandemic hit. At the same time, I had also lost my Mum to ovarian cancer, so 2020 was an extremely challenging year.  Much as I was very hesitant going back to corporate, it was something that I had to do whilst we settled into a new city. I am very fortunate to be working with an amazing team in my current role.

Going back to full-time employment hasn’t put a standstill to my entrepreneurial dreams however. It has actually helped to light a fire up my bum and got me focused on uncovering my purpose.

Moving to Brisbane has opened up many doors for me since I’ve overcome my fear and insecurities of being a migrant woman of South East Asian descent. It was by no means an easy feat as it took me over a year to convince myself to get my profile photo up on my e-commerce website!

I was a very shy child growing up. I remember hiding under my Mum’s maxi dresses and skirts whenever we had to attend social events at her work.  As an Asian female immigrant working in a caucasian country and trying to make my way up the ladder in a male-dominated industry, there were many challenges that I had to overcome. I really had to work on finding my ‘voice’ (both in the literal and figurative sense). This became more pronounced as I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey and even in management positions in my corporate career.

I struggled with self-doubt and confidence for years. This then rippled onto my career and making bad decisions when it came to money and relationships. Much as those experiences were painful, I’m incredibly grateful for it has led me to uncover tools for self-transformation and to finally step comfortably into accepting who I really was.

Mid-2022, I took a pun and signed up for the Anyone Can Entrepreneurship program for BIWOC Founders, and was selected as one of 35 participants for the first Cohort of the Anyone Can Entrepreneurship program for BIWOC founders. 

It was one of the most mindblowing 8 weeks of my life as I had the opportunity to be coached by some of the country’s leading BIWOC founders. During those intense 8 weeks, I got to create meaningful connections with 34 other women who’re awe-inspiring and so incredibly powerful in overcoming their personal adversities to chase and live their dreams.

I decided that their inspiring stories needed to be ampflied and their incredible business endeavours shared with the world so that we, WoC founders can hold space that has been so long been dominated by White privilege. Creating an online platform was the way to enable my deep desire to share these stories. Hence, The Women of Colour Founders Network was born in November 2022. 

Since it’s inception, I’ve received so many words of support and celebration for the Network. We’ve since published more than 10 stories from WoC Founders all over the country, and we’re still working on many more! 

It’s my personal goal to raise the profile of the Network globally in the next 3-5 years and impact 1 million WoC Founders. 

Most importantly, this is the path that I’m lighting for my 2 beautiful girls. This is so that when their time comes to share their gifts with the world, they’ll be inspired by powerful founders who’ve come before them. I want them to confidently and powerfully step into their purpose without a single breath of hesitation or doubt simply because of the colour of their skin.

Dedicated to my beloved late-Grandma, for whom without your unconditional love and care, belief in me and always reminding me that I can do whatever I set out to do, I won’t be here today.

If you’re a WoC founder and would like to be featured on the Network, please do reach out, I would love to hear from you via Instagram or email below.

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