Mr George Quek was a "soft, weak and introverted" student from a modest family background, who felt stifled by a rigid school system.
But he later struck out on his own in the competitive food and beverage industry in Taiwan, and eventually launched well-known Singapore brands Food Junction and BreadTalk.
Mr Quek's story is among several featured in a book titled Influential Brands: 30 Singapore Brand Leaders. Other stories in the book feature interviews with the chief executives of local businesses such as SK Jewellery and FairPrice supermarket chain.
Sales of the book raised $20,000, which will be donated to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF). A cheque for the amount was presented to SPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong at the InterContinental hotel yesterday.
Among the beneficiaries of the fund is Temasek Polytechnic student Malcom Lau, 18, who receives $120 from the fund every month. The money helps ease the financial burden on his mother, a sales promoter and the family's sole breadwinner.
Mr Lau, a second-year chemical engineering student, is president of the poly's Digital Media Crew society, which provides photography and videography services for school events.
He has a teenage younger sister and said he hopes to do well enough to make it into the National University of Singapore, and eventually work in the petroleum industry. He said: "It will be a challenge to achieve my goals, but I will keep an open mind and continue to try my best."