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Emerging Enterprise Award 2016 to recognise new emerging businesses for product innovation and business excellence

Singapore, 4 April 2016 – Emerging Enterprise Award 2016 (EE 2016), Singapore’s only entrepreneurial award that reaches out to businesses with annual sales turnover of less than S$15 million per annum, is open for nomination.

Jointly organised by Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) financial daily, The Business Times, and OCBC Bank, the annual Emerging Enterprise Award was launched in 2008 to recognise emerging enterprises that have been outstanding in their respective fields, and to provide these deserving businesses with the needed resources to build on their capabilities for further growth. 

The Award is supported by MasterCard, Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants, INSEAD, SPRING Singapore, Singtel and the official auditor, RSM.

EE 2016 sees the addition of a new partner Maxus who will provide digital consultancy support to the winner of the Most Promising Startup category. Maxus is a global communications consultancy that helps brands and companies build relationships with their consumers. It is part of both GroupM, the world’s leading global media investment management group and WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, and operates in a global network of local agencies with over 2,700 people in 70 offices across 55 markets.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are key pillars in Singapore’s economy. There are about 187,000 SMEs* in Singapore which makes up about 99 per cent of the total enterprise population in Singapore and contribute to nearly half of the nation’s GDP. SMEs in Singapore also play a significant role in the creation of jobs for Singaporeans as they employ 70 per cent of the nation’s workforce. With Singapore’s economic success closely tied to the continued vibrancy of the SME sector, it is important that our SMEs continue to raise the bar for business excellence. 

(* SMEs, as defined by SPRING, refer to enterprises with annual sales turnover of not more than S$100 million or employing no more than 200 staff) 

Up to three winners stand a chance to win the coveted Emerging Enterprise Winner title and $500,000 each in prizes, comprising professional and consultancy services, executive educational programmes and support in capability development offered by the respective EE 2016 partners. 

· S$200,000 two-year interest-free business overdraft facility per winner
· S$20,000 credit in the OCBC Business Debit Card and a MasterCard Priceless Travel Experience Package worth S$30,000, totalling S$50,000 per winner
· Strategic Brand & Product Development Research Package from Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants worth $30,000 per winner
· Open Enrolment Programme package from INSEAD worth S$30,000 per winner
· Support from SPRING Singapore in capability development
· Consulting Package for Growing Businesses from RSM worth S$30,000 per winner
· S$30,000 worth of digital consultancy services package from Maxus for the Most Promising Startup category.

As in past years, EE 2016 will continue its tradition of honouring excellence in innovation and recognising promising startups through its Best Innovation Award and Most Promising Startup categories. 

Singtel and OCBC Bank will present up to two winners with the Best Innovation Award. Each winner will receive up to S$30,000 worth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business solutions package from Singtel and a two-year interest-free Business Overdraft facility worth S$50,000 from OCBC Bank. 

One company below three years old and with turnover of not more than S$1 million per annum stands to walk away with the Most Promising Startup title and trophy, in addition to Maxus’ $30,000 digital consultancy services package. In its third year, this award celebrates and honours the achievements of this group of promising but under-recognised businesses.

Emerging enterprises that meet the qualifying criteria have until Friday 20 May 2016 to register for the award and submit their business plans. For more information on EE 2016, please

Quotes by EE 2016 Award Organisers and Partners

Mr Alvin Tay, Editor of The Business Times, said: "SMEs have a key role to play as drivers of growth and innovation but their ambitions to create unique products and services are handicapped by lack of funds and resources. Through EE 2016 and the support of our partners, we offer the SMEs the requisite skillsets to develop and finetune their value propositions. As Singapore’s leading financial daily, we are proud to showcase the successes of our burgeoning SMEs and uncover revolutionary business ideas at EE 2016.” 

Mr Eric Ong, Head of Emerging Business, OCBC Bank, said: “Into its ninth year, the Emerging Enterprise Award continues to recognise outstanding young businesses in Singapore. With market realities pointing to a challenging business environment this year, it is all the more an appropriate juncture to acknowledge their efforts and accomplishments. Entrepreneurship is and will continue to be key in driving economic growth in Singapore, and we want to make sure that deserving businesses get the support they need to achieve greater success. OCBC Bank is proud to be the joint organiser of this Award and to support this cause since 2008. 

“As a bank, OCBC has led the charge in digitisation with many first-to-market products, but we recognise that we must continue to innovate to stay ahead in this rapidly-evolving world. And it is all the more critical for young businesses to leverage digital technologies to stay competitive and grow their business. Therefore, this year, we have pulled on board a new partner who will offer digital consultancy services to the winner of the Most Promising Startup category. We hope the prizes and recognition that come with the Award will not only open doors for young enterprises in terms of new partners and markets, but also help them realise their potential.”

Ms Deborah Heng, group head and general manager, MasterCard Singapore, said: “Today, we operate in a global marketplace, and to compete in this fast-moving, competitive space, SMEs need to innovate, develop new capabilities and leverage technology to simplify business processes in order to stay ahead. MasterCard’s Commercial Payments Solutions supports SMEs by helping them increase the efficiency of payment processing, cashflow management and provide them the flexibility to expand their footprint locally and globally.”

Mr Kwan Chong Wah, Founder / CEO, Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants Group said: “Given Singapore’s globally plugged-in economy, the ‘constants’ are an ever evolving business environment, quick access to and adoption of latest technological innovations, and a readiness to embrace new thinking and trends. Coupled with shifts in socio-cultural and demographic trends, changes in clients’ and customers’ needs are to be expected. Acorn is very pleased to be part of the Emerging Enterprise Awards, which, beyond the Awards, would ultimately heighten a consciousness among SMEs of the need and the ‘how-to’ to anticipate and respond to these changes.”

Ms Mary Kwan, Regional Director Asia Pacific, Executive Education, INSEAD, said: “Singapore’s SMEs are vital drivers of the economy, but they need to be nimble, innovative and effective enterprises in order to stay ahead. As the education partner in the Emerging Enterprise 2016 Award, INSEAD Executive Education is committed to helping SMEs learn vital academic principles and to cultivate key new skills for globally competitive business. The INSEAD sponsored prize will invite leaders from three winning companies to participate in an open enrolment programme. In so doing, we hope to share with them our expertise and insight into the fundamental principles and challenges of growing a new business, and thus contribute to the building of a vibrant and sustainable entrepreneurial eco-system in Singapore.”

Ms Chew Mok Lee, Assistant Chief Executive, Capabilities & Partnership, SPRING Singapore said: “In light of the current economic climate, SMEs need to continue improving their business processes and revenue models to stay sustainable. Beyond that, it is also important for SMEs to strengthen their business capabilities and innovate to offer differentiated products or services. Through the Emerging Enterprise Award 2016, SPRING Singapore as the enterprise development agency is committed to supporting emerging enterprises through capability building, innovation and productivity, which are important pillars for long-term growth.”

Mr Titus Yong, Vice President, Business Sales, Singtel Group Enterprise, said: “Through our ‘Best Innovation Award’, Singtel is committed to support SMEs businesses who are seeking to innovate and enhance their competitiveness, productivity and capabilities through infocomm technology (ICT) such as e-commerce, social media, mobile and cloud computing. This is aligned with our 99%SME campaign objective for the next 4 years to help local SMEs at all stages of growth, realise their true business potential and sharpen their edge through ICT innovation.” 

Mr Desh Balakrishnan, Managing Director of Maxus said: “Maxus is proud to be a sponsor of the esteemed Emerging Enterprise Awards 2016 and we are excited to be associated with the Most Promising Start Up award. With the ever changing & competitive local and global business landscape and with the evolution of media, it’s imperative that SMEs are fully informed of the digital landscape. As a global media agency, we look forward to imparting our digital expertise and knowledge to the winner to equip their business digital footprint to compete more effectively & efficiently to soar to even greater heights.”

Mr Kaka Singh, Senior Partner, RSM said: “RSM has been a partner of the Emerging Enterprise Award since its inception in 2008. For the past nine years, our experience as the official auditor has been rewarding, humbling and inspiring. Through this Award, we have witnessed the tenacity our local SMEs have in embracing new challenges. Over the years, with technology, the pace of change has increased tremendously. This means operating a successful business has become even more challenging. Yet we still see many entries submitted year after year. This effort put in by the SMEs is evident that they are seeking to constantly improve their business processes and they are hungry to grow their business. This year will even be more challenging for them with the weakened markets but nevertheless we look forward to receiving the submissions and the chance to be once again be inspired by our SMEs."


Appendix 1 - EE 2016 Factsheet -

Appendix 2 - Corporate profiles of Emerging Enterprise Award 2016 partners -

Appendix 3 - Emerging Enterprise Award 2016 judging panel -

Appendix 4 – Emerging Enterprise Award past winners -

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd 
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

Melissa Yee (Ms) 
Assistant Vice President
Group Corporate Communications 
DID: 6530 4713

Yeo Siew Chi (Mr) 
Corporate Communications & CSR Division
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
DID: 6319 1586

About The Business Times 

The Business Times, a member of the Singapore Press Holdings group, is South-east Asia's leading financial daily. BT brings to its readers daily corporate, financial, economic and political news, analysis and commentary on print and digital platforms. It provides readers with in-depth coverage of Singapore and Asian business and economic developments, as well as global trends that impact Singapore business. BT's lifestyle journalists bring busy executives the latest in recreation, entertainment, the arts, design, food and shopping. 

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About OCBC Bank

OCBC Bank is the longest established Singapore bank, formed in 1932 from the merger of three local banks, the oldest of which was founded in 1912. It is now the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets and one of the world’s most highly-rated banks, with an Aa1 rating from Moody’s. Recognised for its financial strength and stability, OCBC Bank has been ranked Asean’s strongest bank and among the world’s five strongest banks by Bloomberg Markets for five consecutive years since the ranking’s inception in 2011.

OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of commercial banking, specialist financial and wealth management services, ranging from consumer, corporate, investment, private and transaction banking to treasury, insurance, asset management and stockbroking services.

OCBC Bank’s key markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China. It has over 630 branches and representative offices in 18 countries and regions. These include the more than 330 branches and offices in Indonesia under subsidiary Bank OCBC NISP, and more than 90 branches and offices in Hong Kong, China and Macau under OCBC Wing Hang.

OCBC Bank’s private banking services are provided by its wholly-owned subsidiary Bank of Singapore, which operates on a unique open-architecture product platform to source for the best-in-class products to meet its clients’ goals.  

OCBC Bank's insurance subsidiary, Great Eastern Holdings, is the oldest and most established life insurance group in Singapore and Malaysia. Its asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors, is one of the largest private sector asset management companies in Southeast Asia. 

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