Olivia Lum: Founder and Executive Chairman of Hyflux, a Pioneer in Water Treatment and Environmental Solutions

The story of Olivia Lum, the founder and executive chairman of Hyflux, is a tale of determination, innovation, and resilience. As the driving force behind a leading water treatment and environmental solutions company, Olivia Lum has dedicated her life to creating a sustainable future for future generations. This article aims to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs by showcasing the remarkable journey of Olivia Lum and the transformative impact of Hyflux on the water treatment and environmental solutions industry.

Early Life and Education

Born an orphan, Olivia Lum faced numerous challenges from a young age. Despite the odds, she pursued her education. She earned a Bachelor’s in Chemistry from the National University of Singapore. Her passion for science and the environment would eventually lead her to revolutionize the water treatment industry.

The Birth of Hyflux

In 1989, Olivia Lum founded Hyflux to provide innovative water treatment solutions to address the world’s water challenges. Her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to sustainability propelled Hyflux to become a global water treatment and environmental solutions leader.

Struggles and Challenges

Olivia Lum’s journey had its fair share of struggles and challenges. In the early days of Hyflux, she faced a lack of funding and resources, navigating the complexities of the water treatment industry and adapting to changing market demands and regulations. However, her determination and resilience enabled her to overcome these obstacles and lead Hyflux to success.

Hyflux’s Expansion and Growth

Under Olivia Lum’s leadership, Hyflux developed patented technologies for water treatment and expanded its operations to include wastewater treatment, desalination, and resource recovery. With a global presence and partnerships, Hyflux has established itself as a pioneer of water treatment and environmental solutions.

Olivia Lum as a Leader

Olivia Lum’s leadership style is characterized by her innovative, determined, and resilient nature. She is deeply committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. She has strongly advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the industry. Her dedication to these values has shaped Hyflux’s culture and contributed to its success.

Awards and Recognition

Hyflux’s commitment to innovation and sustainability has earned the company numerous awards and accolades[6]. Likewise, Olivia Lum has received several prestigious recognitions, including Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year and being named one of the Financial Times’ Top 50 Women in World Business.

Giving Back to the Community

Beyond commercial success, Olivia Lum and Hyflux have significantly contributed to social and environmental causes. Hyflux supports initiatives promoting water sustainability and education, while Olivia Lum actively engages in community outreach and philanthropy.

Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Olivia Lum’s journey offers valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. Embracing innovation, sustainability, and resilience in adversity are critical ingredients for success. Pursuing one’s passion with determination can ultimately lead to remarkable achievements.


Olivia Lum’s journey is a shining example of the power of passion, vision, and perseverance in adversity. By learning from her experiences and adopting her unwavering commitment to innovation, sustainability, and resilience, future business leaders can build successful companies that leave a lasting impact on their industries and communities. Through her story and the success of Hyflux, aspiring entrepreneurs can find inspiration to overcome challenges and achieve remarkable accomplishments in their chosen fields.

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  1. National University of Singapore, “Notable Alumni” (https://www.nus.edu.sg/alumnet/about/alumni/notable-alumni)
  2. Hyflux, “Our Story” (https://www.hyflux.com/about-us/our-story/)
  3. Forbes, “Olivia Lum: Executive Chairman And Group CEO, Hyflux” (https://www.forbes.com/profile/olivia-lum/)
  4. Hyflux, “Our Technologies” (https://www.hyflux.com/our-technologies/) 5. Forbes, “Singapore’s 50 Richest: The 10 Women Among The Island State’s Top 50 Richest” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesasia/2017/07/27/singapores-50-richest-the-10-women-among-the-island-states-top-50-richest)
  5. Hyflux, “Awards & Achievements” (https://www.hyflux.com/about-us/awards-achievements/)
  6. Hyflux, “Sustainability” (https://www.hyflux.com/about-us/sustainability/)
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