BENNY LEE by night is an accomplished clarinetists. He believes that the United States is the most philanthropic country in the world. Benny lives the practice of giving back to the community. One example is his formation of a club to bring music of the world to the local community.
By day, Benny is the Chairman and CEO of the DuraComm Corporation, based on Kansas City, MO, a leading manufacturer and distributor of AC to DC switching power supplies, LED and lighting solutions, and other alternative energy conservation and high tech products and services.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Benny graduated from the Tatung Institute of Technology with a major in electrical engineering. In 1972, he went to work for the Taipei office of Midland International, another Kansas City company.
In 1979 he started Mitco, a Taipei-based trading company. Mitco sourced several high-profile products, including the Ginsu Knife of the 1980’s that sold millions of units on American television infomercials. Mitco played a major role in introducing the Handy Stitch sewing machine to Singer, which sold over 4 million units in the 1980’s.
In 1987, Benny started Tran World in Kansas City, an importing and sales company that worked with Northern Automotive and Peterson Manufacturing. Benny sold the company in 1990. In 1995, Benny moved his family to the United States, where he expanded Top Innovation, yet another company he had. Launching an affordable line of SteamFast steamers, including a SteamFast fabric steamer, he sold over 16,000 one day alone on QVC.
SCOTT GILLESPIE is a growth adviser, investor and mentor to ventures (micro) around the globe; helping founders to transform their: ideas2products, products2sales, and ventures2businesses. In parallel, Scott is a global leader in developing practical solutions for regional economic developers (macro) for T2 Venture Creation (T2VC).
Scott splits his time architecting regional startup ecosystems (macro) in: Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, USA, Malaysia, and Colombia. As Founder and Director of the Jigsaw Group, a business accelerator Scott and his team connect: founders, talent, customers, markets, and channels; with global opportunities. Jigsaw Group investment portfolio ranges from office fit out (UAE Compare), to new media (BTG Studios) and online education (co-founder IAEOU). In parallel, Jigsaw Group has delivered outcomes and programs, for a variety of entities. For universities, Jigsaw has: set up research centers, improved tech transfer offices, plus develop and deliver courses on: innovation, entrepreneurship, risk management, and strategic marketing.
For startups, Jigsaw has implemented mentoring programs for: new market entry, startup founders, women entrepreneurs, winners of innovation & entrepreneurship competitions, and angel investors. Jigsaw Group has a keen interest in supporting not-for-profits including: Sydney Angels and Yacht Aid Global (YAG) which transports education and medical supplies to natural disaster areas using mega yachts. Jigsaw Group delivers outcomes and programs to government agencies (from bootcamps in Tanzania and Jakarta; to entrepreneurship training in Saudi and Dubai; to incubator and accelerator support across the GCC and Australia) as well as corporates (e.g. regional headquarter selection to first 100 day roadmaps after private equity’ investment).
Scott and the Jigsaw Group team also provide Gulf Region support to Crowdfund Capital Advisors, a for-profit advisory, research and education organization dedicated to promoting access to capital via crowdfunding to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. Two Jigsaw Group’ initiatives of note include: ExpatriateConnect, a mentoring and training program that supported export-motivated Australia ventures, by enrolling >2,000 candidate mentors to support Australian ventures ready for global growth; and the Center for the Study of Choice which grew from 3 academics into a tier 1 UTS research center with global partners (Motorola, Bose, Boeing,..). Prior to the Jigsaw Group, Scott was the Executive General Manager for Business Development of MFP Development Corporation. His team coordinated over $25M in investments from major firms such as SGI, Telstra, Microsoft, Motorola, Stanford Research Institute, and Australian Commonwealth while leading the development of two technology parks (over 2,000 staff), establishing a regional incubator network, and hosting a global conference on Learning, Education and Training.
In his early career Scott served in a dozen roles for Unisys Corporation, a global technology services organization including as Chief Financial Officer for the South Pacific, industrial engineer, and Finance Director for Japan Operations. Scott was born in the USA and been an expatriate for >25 years.