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Apichai Sakulsureeyadej : A successful entrepreneur steeped in Sikh values

Entrepreneur Ravneek Singh, better known as Apichai Sakulsureeyadej

Ravneek Singh, better known as Apichai Sakulsureeyadej, is a multi-award winning Thai entrepreneur who founded MSL Software after completing a degree at Melbourne University. MSL is one of only 700 publicly listed companies at the Bangkok Stock Exchange, and in an interview with SBS Punjabi, Mr Sakulsureeyadej shared the principles that have underpinned his success.

Apichai Sakulsureeyadej was the first person born in Thailand to be declared a winner at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards 2007 in the “Industrial Applications” category. More recently, he won the Australian Embassy Entrepreneur Award 2014, and the Hewlett Partner of the Year 2014 to name a few.

He recently visited Melbourne, participating in multiple events, including one as a keynote speaker.

Born Ravneek Singh, Mr Sakulsureeyadej told SBS Punjabi how he got his Thai name, highlighting that “Apichai means victory and my surname is derived from the Thai word for sun.” 

Ravneek Singh aka Apichai Sakulsureeyadej at a recent event in Melbourne
Ravneek Singh aka Apichai Sakulsureeyadej at a recent event in Melbourne

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Melbourne University, he returned to Bangkok in the year 2000, going on to lay the foundation for his hugely successful software company MSL. 

He said, “I had saved $2000 from my time in Melbourne, and I used that as capital to start my business. I always believed that any business model must be self-sustaining, and I didn’t want the family businesses to support my venture.” 

Although faced with multiple challenges, MSL grew into one of the leading software companies in Thailand, with the back-office systems of the country’s banks running his software as well. 

 Mr Sakulsureeyadej is now highly regarded as a leader in digital solutions and e-tourism. 

“There are over 700,000 businesses that operate in Thailand, but only 700 are listed at the Stock Exchange, and I feel extremely proud and grateful that MSL is one of them,” he said. 

Declining to give any details about MSL’s turnover or the number of people he employs, he said, “I don’t want people to bogged down with numbers or focus merely on the statistics. Suffice to say, that I was featured in the Forbes magazine in 2017 and am grateful to the Almighty for bestowing this success on me.” 

Ravneek Singh aka Apichai Sakulsureeyadej

Although born and brought up in Bangkok, Mr Sakulsureeyadej speaks fluently in Punjabi and among other things, he spoke about identity issues as well. 

“Although my identity is that of a Sikh, but as a businessman, I represent my community and my country, and that’s why I’m so passionate about e-tourism. I believe the tourism industry forges the image of any country, and I see great future in working in that space.” 

When asked what advice he would give budding entrepreneurs, or a piece of advice he wishes he was given when he first started out as a businessman, Mr Sakulsureeyadej said, “the phrase from Gurbani ‘man jeetey jag jeet’ encapsulates it perfectly. If you conquer your mind, you will conquer the world. As a young man, I wish I had this firm belief when business deals fell through and times were tough.” 

Ravneek Singh aka Apichai Sakulsureeyadej

He said visiting Melbourne is like a home-coming for him. 

“It was wonderful when I stayed here almost 20 years ago, when I studied at university. I have fond memories of going to the Blackburn gurudwara, where I felt I had been adopted like a son by the community living here.” 

Mr Sakulsureeyadej was invited by Young Sikh Professionals Network YSPN and Sikh Youth Australia to speak at an event in Melbourne recently. 

To hear the full interview with SBS Punjabi click on the audio link above.

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