Most Singaporeans know that former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng is an outspoken political commentator. He often expresses controversial views on socio-political issues here, many of which are often lampooned by the anti-establishment camp. In 2015, he was investigated by the police for calling for the killing of “terrorists’ children”. Cheng has since apologised to his fellow MLC members, MDA and supporters.
Despite this online prominence, it is easy to forget that Cheng is also a businessman who burst onto the scene as Asia-Pacific head of Elite Model Management from 2001 to 2004 before forming integrated media company Lumina-Looque International in 2005. He is now co-chairman of ASX-listed corporate training firm Retech Technology, though he is semi-retired.
In an interview at the opulent private members club 1880 on Nanson Road, Cheng tells The Edge Singapore that his foray into entrepreneurship was very much a stroke of luck. The Oxford graduate said he had spurned the traditional path of investment banking and caught the entrepreneurship bug while working at internet incubator Extramedia Ventures. He subsequently established his own spin-off company ModelAlliance to serve as an applications service provider for the talent industry, basically using the internet to streamline model bookings and invoicing.