Tham Lih Chung: Pioneering Innovation and Growth in Retail and F&B Sectors

Tham Lih Chung

Tham Lih Chung, Founder & Group CEO, Incite Innovations

In today’s dynamic world, entrepreneurship has emerged as the driving force of economies, fueling a marketplace brimming with dreamers and doers. Amidst this vibrant landscape, where startups flourish and established giants compete, a select few not only weather the storm but thrive. Among these resilient entrepreneurs, Tham Lih Chung shines as a beacon, embodying the very essence of innovation and adaptability required to flourish in this fiercely competitive terrain

Mr. Tham’s journey as an entrepreneur is an intricate tapestry woven with vision, unwavering determination, and an unyielding commitment to igniting innovation and driving growth within the retail and food & beverage (F&B) sectors. From the inception of Rhombus Connexion to the evolution of Incite Innovations, every step in his path is marked by transformative insights and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence.

A Humble Beginning: Rhombus Connexion and AUM Hospitality

Mr. Tham’s venture into the realm of F&B commenced with his involvement in steering AUM Hospitality. This initial foray exposed him to the myriad challenges inherent in the industry, from cultural intricacies to intricate cost structures and operational inefficiencies. These early experiences fueled his determination to revolutionize the F&B landscape through the seamless integration of technology and holistic business solutions.

In 2015, Mr. Tham’s ambition materialized in the form of Rhombus Connexion, a groundbreaking initiative propelling Malaysian homegrown brands and visionary founders onto the global stage. Rhombus Connexion, also a homegrown F&B group with a regional presence, is dedicated to championing Malaysian talent and brands globally.

Later, this endeavour embodied his aspiration to transcend conventional F&B paradigms, fostering an ecosystem poised to enrich the broader retail industry. He astutely noted, “Nurturing local talent with a global outlook can serve as a catalyst in transforming our F&B landscape.” The culmination of his fervour for innovation and integrated solutions came to fruition with the establishment of Union Coffee in 2018 and VMO, an event space booking platform he invested in 2015, forming the cornerstone for the subsequent birth of Incite Innovations.

Incite Innovations: A Transformative Metamorphosis

Incite Innovations (Incite) is an innovative business solutions provider, specializing in transforming retail and F&B enterprises across Southeast Asia. They deliver a broad spectrum of services across three key verticals: Fintech, Retail Management and Marketing Technology, and Lifestyle Ventures. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies and market intelligence, the company helps businesses navigate the complexities of dynamic markets. Incite is also the proud parent company of notable brands and platforms such as Union Coffee, Eggdicted, K-pop Grille, Food Advisor, and the IF Engagement App. Through these endeavours, the company excels in crafting consumer-centric experiences.

The evolution from Incite Foodtech to Incite Innovations signifies a strategic pivot reflecting the company’s expansive vision and trajectory of growth. The rebranding symbolizes a mission that transcends the confines of the F&B sector, encompassing a broader commitment to revolutionizing businesses, propelling economic growth, and driving positive societal impact across diverse sectors. The commitment to holistic solutions culminated in the creation of Alevate Business Operations Solutions (Alevate BOS), a dynamic approach incorporating innovative solutions tailored to universal retail challenges. Mr. Tham succinctly captured the essence with “Our mission is to elevate businesses from mere survival to resounding success by addressing their genuine pain points.” The mission resonates with their adaptability and expertise in addressing multifaceted challenges faced by businesses across various sectors.

Union Artisan Coffee: Innovation Overcoming Challenges

Building Union Coffee posed formidable challenges, from crafting a resonant brand identity to navigating the intricacies of talent acquisition and diversifying product offerings. Overcoming these obstacles demanded meticulous planning and innovative strategies. Mr. Tham and his team embarked on defining the brand’s ethos, positioning Union Coffee as a welcoming haven for individuals from diverse walks of life. 

Confronting the scarcity of local talent steeped in global coffee culture necessitated intensive training initiatives. The ardent entrepreneur’s philosophy echoes, “Innovation isn’t an option; it’s the compass guiding us to relevance.” His transformative spirit coupled with unwavering commitment to continuous experimentation, underscores their dedication to growth and evolution.

Partnerships: A Cornerstone of Success

Mr. Tham champions collaboration over competition, a sentiment echoed in Incite Innovations’ emphasis on forging partnerships. The company’s strategic alignment with businesses and founders whose expertise complements their vision fosters mutual growth and shared objectives. He also believes that partnerships are the threads weaving the fabric of success while the partnership philosophy extends to clients as well. Mr. Tham’s empathetic approach positions clients as partners on a journey of empowerment and innovation. Leveraging its network and shared resources, Incite Innovations crafts comprehensive solutions that drive growth and value for clients within its ecosystem.

Words of Wisdom

“In the dynamic world of business, whether it’s in retail, F&B, or any other sector, the journey to success is seldom a straight path. It often resembles a roller coaster filled with highs, lows, and unexpected turns,” Mr. Tham advises budding entrepreneurs. He believes that success is not about avoiding setbacks; it’s about learning from them and pushing forward. He emphasizes the importance of unwavering perseverance, “No matter how tough the journey gets, remember to stay persistent and never give up. Your grit will be the compass that guides you through the tumultuous waters of entrepreneurship.”

A Promising Tomorrow for Incite Innovations

The impending Nasdaq IPO listing is a milestone, reflecting their dedication to expanding reach and supporting underserved SMEs across Southeast Asia. With an eye on regional expansion, Mr. Tham’s commitment to empowering SMEs remains steadfast. He shares, “Our journey forward is marked by empowering others to realize their potential, turning challenges into triumphs.”

As Incite Innovations embarks on this transformative next chapter, its path is illuminated by the unwavering commitment to nurturing symbiotic relationships, driving economic progress, and celebrating shared victories. Tham Lih Chung’s visionary leadership and the unity of purpose within the company will continue to guide them toward new horizons. While the journey ahead for Incite Innovations brims with potential, Mr. Tham’s leadership ensures the company’s journey leaves an indelible mark on the ever-changing market landscape.