SINGAPORE: Secretlab CEO and co-founder Ian Ang was named Singapore's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year on Monday (Nov 9), beating two other contenders to be crowned overall winner.
The win was announced during a virtual awards ceremony on Monday evening. Mr Ang, 28, will go on to be Singapore's representative at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year award in June next year, where he will compete with contenders from more than 60 countries.
"To win this award among so many other great, experienced entrepreneurs is an absolute honor. There is still much to learn, and it is still early days for Secretlab," said Mr Ang.
He added that the company will "continue to put our soul into our products" and invest millions into research and development.
"We will not be complacent," said Mr Ang.
Mr Ang co-founded Secretlab, a gaming chair company, with Alaric Choo in 2014.
The company counts the United States, Canada and Europe as some of its major markets and is backed by Temasek Holdings’ Heliconia Capital Management.
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is an annual awards programme that honours Singapore’s top entrepreneurs for their contributions to the economy and society, spotlighting innovators and local brands that have made a mark on the global market.
Mr Ang was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Consumer Products in September, making him the youngest winner in the history of the awards since it began 18 years ago.
The two other contenders were: Richard Koh, founder and CEO of M-DAQ, who won in the financial technology category; and Eric Leong, managing director and co-founder of Mlion Corporation, who got the nod in the industrial solutions category.
Mr Png Cheong Boon, Enterprise Singapore CEO, said that the success of Mr Ang - who had dropped out of university to pursue his business venture - demonstrates multiple pathways to success.
"Despite his youth, Ian embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and displays the business acumen of a seasoned entrepreneur. He spotted a niche in the ergonomic gaming chair market and went on to build Secretlab into a commercial success globally," said Mr Png, who is also chairperson of the judging panel.
"With the courage to drop out of university to pursue his dreams and perseverance to build a product from next to nothing, Ian demonstrates how there are multiple pathways to success, the power of ideas and the value of continual hard work," Mr Png added.
Mr Derek Lau, the CEO of Heliconia Capital, said he was proud of Mr Ang's achievements.
"Building a successful global brand and sales channel in this digital age is really not easy. I can see how the 'Go Big or Go Home' mindset drives Ian and his team in everything they do, from product design to customer engagement," Mr Lau said.