SINGAPORE: Sixteen local business leaders were named this year's winners in the Entrepreneur of the Year Award on Monday (Sep 14), organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and Rotary Club of Singapore.
They are being recognised for their outstanding performance, particularly for using innovative means to drive their businesses.
One of them runs Seoul Garden, which recently introduced an additional hotpot to each of its tables at its Marina Square restaurant. Following a positive response from customers, it plans to roll this out to the rest of its outlets.
The hotpot and grill chain said it constantly needs to innovate in a competitive environment.
Zingrill Holdings CEO Andrew Lee said: “With every concept, you (will) need to innovate and make sure your customer finds it interesting. Ours is a system-based concept, so it depends a lot not on the chef, but the system to run the business. So we can expand our business quickly just based on the way we have modelled our systems. That is the advantage. It allows us to venture into different countries and control the quality.”
Mr Lee from Seoul Garden is among nine business leaders who received the Established Entrepreneur Award. The others are director of Advance Tech Automation Neo Gim Chye, director of Atelier Tang Korene Tang, general manager of Feinmetal Singapore Sam Chee Wah, chairman and CEO of Gates PCM Construction Kitnasamy s/o Marudapan, founder and CEO of Kupps and Sachs Kuppusamy Selvaraj, director of Bee Choo Origin Cheah Bee Chew, director of Rico Engineering Works Jeffrey Piak Boon Pin, and CEO of Valves.com Wong Seng Kee.
Meanwhile, seven individuals were given the New Entrepreneurs award - managing director of Amplitude Holdings Regina Lee, director of B9 Dental Centre Raymond Lim, managing director of Clariti Hearing Ronald Pang, director of Hongye Group Fu Xiao Wei, founder of Pezzo Singapore Chiang Zhan Xiang, and co-founders and directors of Sunseap Frank Phuan and Lawrence Wu.
JUDGING CRITERIA EVOLVES WITH CHANGING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is now in its 27th year and has so far recognised more than 200 business owners. Amid a changing business environment, the organisers said the judging criteria has also evolved.
Mr Thomas Fernandez, Award Co-Chairman, ASME, explained: “The award gets a little bit more difficult to participate in. The judging criteria has changed. We are looking at not only business enterprise but we are looking at the individual in their journey of entrepreneurship, how they overcome crisis. So we have new entrepreneurs this year, we're looking at their startup and challenges, and how they (have) overcome (them).”
One recipient of the New Entrepreneur Award is Mr Frank Phuan, who co-founded energy firm Sunseap. The firm began as a manufacturing company, but has in recent years made the shift towards higher value-add activities by providing solar leasing services.
Said Mr Phuan: "In doing so, it allows the business to have recurring cashflow, rather than selling one time, and usually it is a blood bath in terms of price war globally. Rather than doing that, we focus on optimising our systems and producing more energy so that we can sell that to clients at a discounted rate."
OCBC Bank, who is the main sponsor of the Entrepreneurial Award for the 14th year, said entrepreneurship is important in helping to build successful and sustainable businesses that continually create value for customers, employees and shareholders over the long term.
Of the 16 entrepreneurs, one overall winner from each category - Established Entrepreneurs and New Entrepreneurs - will be announced in November.