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Karin Kamp

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Violet Lim, Entrepreneur: How One Woman's Risk Paid Off

Posted: 02/26/2012 12:42 pm

"I have to follow my own passion, not what my parents set out for me," our 22-year-old intern Christina Wu said after watching Violet Lim's video on The Story Exchange.

In Violet's story, Christina saw a fellow Asian woman who had gone against the grain, found her voice and was the better for it.

Violet is the founder of Lunch Actually, a leading matchmaking service in Asia. She started the company in 2004 after noticing that her colleagues at Citibank were single, busy and in need of help finding a spouse.

Violet Lim from The Story Exchange on Vimeo.

But Violet's decision to start a company was not part of her parents' plan. They had sent her to the London School of Economics and were thrilled by her well-paying job at Citibank. "I think like any other Asian parents out there, my parents really wanted the best for me," Violet told The Story Exchange.

Breaking the news to her parents that she was quitting her job to start a matchmaking service was no easy task. As Violet puts it: "They thought I was crazy."

Violet's decision to start up her business anyway is one of the reasons why Christina finds her story so inspiring.

Christina's parents, who immigrated from China to the US in 1986, had hoped their daughter would become a doctor or a lawyer. "That way, they could brag about it to their friends," she said.

Christina grew up in New York's Chinatown. Her father drove delivery trucks during the day and started his own car service in the evenings. Her mother worked 12 to 14 hour days in a garment factory -- 7 days a week, for ten years straight. They never had a chance to finish school and became strong proponents of education, high earnings and high-status jobs.

While Christina is grateful for the sacrifices her parents made, she believes she must find her own path.

That's why she's thinking of starting a social enterprise that would help US students study abroad. Her idea is to help young Americans develop into global citizens who better understand how interconnected the world really is.

"We can't live out our own dreams by following our parent's passions," she told us.

"Violet found her own path and I can do it too."